Earlier this week, the first six 2016 Tesla Model X crossover SUVs were presented to customers at an event held near the automaker's assembly facility in Fremont, California. While the arrival of this groundbreaking, electric-powered hauler was delayed from its initial 2013 projected launch window, the finished product looks to be well worth the wait. The Model X's $132,000 price tag on the initial run of Signature Series vehicles will still ensure fairly exclusive status even after any federal, state or local incentives. However, Tesla boss Elon Musk says roughly 25,000 pre-orders are already in the can and anyone ordering now can expect an 8- to 12-month wait for delivery.

Moving into new territory 

Building on the basics of the company's highly regarded Model S Sedan, the all-wheel-drive Model X shares the same dual-motor powertrain and floor-mounted 90kWh lithium-ion battery pack, and also is available in 90D and P90D configurations. Both variants have a 259-horsepower motor up front, but the performance-oriented P90D swaps the standard 259-horse rear motor for a 503-pony upgrade. While it does see per-charge range drop from 257 to 250 miles, the P-spec slices 0-60 mph times from 4.8 seconds to just 3.8 ticks - or 3.2 when fitted with the $10,000 Ludicrous Speed Upgrade. The Model X pairs that impressive acceleration with a 5,000-pound tow rating.

Super sleek and super plush

The aero-optimized exterior of Tesla's new Model X has a class-leading 0.24 coefficient of drag, which its maker claims is 20 percent better than the next closest SUV on the market. That slippery profile is helped by an active rear spoiler that auto deploys at speed to enhance efficiency and stability, which could prove useful given the car's 155-mph top end. To complement its sweeping panoramic windshield and trick Falcon Wing rear doors that need only a foot of clear space to open, the Model X has a spacious, easily configurable passenger compartment that can accommodate six or seven in all-new and more comfortable seats and still tote plenty of personal baggage in the aft cabin or forward underhood area. Each of the second-row perches sits on its own power-activated pedestal and the 50/50 rear bench folds flat when not needed. 

Also: See the New and Redesigned Cars of 2016 

Like the Model S, the Model X comes with an expansive roster of standard comfort/convenience/safety features and is expected to earn top crash ratings from both NHTSA and the IIHS. In addition to an 8-year/infinite-mile battery and drive-unit warranty, Model X owners will have free access to Tesla's ever-expanding Supercharger network.

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