It’s probably fair to say that the incredulity that greeted the Model S’s ravaging, noiseless propulsion has mellowed somewhat since we tested the P90D.

A little under 12 months has passed since then, but already the flat-toned super-waft of Tesla’s three-phase electric motor has become an accustomed feature, sufficiently so for the off-the-line performance of the Model X to be somewhat taken for granted.

Nic Cackett

Nic Cackett

Road tester
Instantaneous, potent torque remains a Tesla calling card

Consequently, the 5.2sec the big SUV took to whirr beyond 60mph seems more creditable than outright compelling (especially when you consider that a Range Rover Sport SVR thundered there almost a second quicker, and that the more powerful Model S had almost hit 80mph in the same time).

Still, recording virtually the same time as the Audi SQ7 – powered by its cutting-edge oil-burner – while weighing as much as 200kg more is laudable. Needless to say, the Tesla does it in inimitable style, thrusting off the mark with only hum, wind and g-force as meaningful company.

Its kickdown vigour is practically on a par with the SQ7’s triple-charged V8, too, with 30-70mph taking 4.2sec to the Audi’s 4.5sec and 30-50mph being dispatched in just 1.7sec (versus 2.0sec).

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But as we’ve noted previously, the all-electric advantage is not everlasting. The SQ7 is half a second ahead by 100mph and lengthens the gap over its weightier foe from then on.

Nevertheless, instantaneous and hugely potent torque, matched to a remarkably well-measured accelerator pedal, remains a Tesla calling card and it is no less appealing for its familiarity. 

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