There are many good things about electrically powering a vehicle, but the fact that the battery and motor combination weighs twice as much as an old-school powerplant is not one of them.
The Model X tipped our scales at 2508kg, which wouldn’t be outrageous for a 4x4 that maintained serious off-road pretensions, but it does highlight one disadvantage of an EV, given that the Model X is very much a road-orientated car.
It’s hard enough to make a car that both rides and handles and, given the Model X’s 2.5-tonne kerb weight, Tesla has made the case harder still for itself. It’s not a total surprise, then, to find that the Model X’s ride is firm, in an attempt to retain control of its considerable body movements, while the handling is relatively inert, as the inevitable result of trying to change the direction of its mass.
To Tesla’s credit, that the Model X’s weight is located low in the chassis does, at least, give it a secure handling bias.
It rolls less and at a more steady rate than most other SUVs, and that makes it no less enjoyable or wieldy on most back roads.
On a motorway, meanwhile, its near-silent propulsion, combined with good wind and tyre refinement in the cabin, steady, linear steering and those great ergonomics, mean that the Model X is an extremely relaxing cruising car.
We haven’t yet driven a Tesla well suited to life on track, and that was unlikely to change with a seven-seat SUV.
Typically, the issue was the battery’s tendency to get discontentedly hot during strenuous use, but on the Hill Route, not unexpectedly, it is the Model X’s conspicuous weight and loftier body that serve as its primary limitations.
While the secure, understeer-minded all-wheel drive essence of the Model S survives, it’s the Model X’s low-lying ballast and taller suspension that cause issues, most notably in the consistency of the body control andthe manifest effort of keeping 487lb ft and 2.5 tonnes in check at once.
The always-on stability control does a worthy job, but the SUV carries nothing like the Model S’s speed through corners.
That’s quite acceptable, but being plainly less adept or likeable than a throng of mostly cheaper rivals in its own segment is plainly not ideal.