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Configure TimeYou put your deposit down years or months ago and waited and the day has finally arrived. It’s time to design your Model X. What’s that experience like? What are you options and what will it cost?

When I first considered buying a Tesla I wanted the SUV (Model X) but after many date slips I pulled the trigger and took delivery of my Model S in early 2014 and have had no regrets. But I still have that “I need a SUV” urge that we get here in New England, so, when I could, I put a deposit down on the Model X.

I’ve been conflicted on what I will ultimately do as I love my Model S, but below are my thoughts around configuring the X.

Price Range

The base price of the Model X stripped down to the minimum features is $81,200 cash price. Depending on where you live you may get anywhere from $0 to $10,000 in Federal/State tax credits that can ultimately make it even more affordable. For that base price you get a 5 seater SUV, the falcon wing doors, all wheel drive, a 70 kW battery and many other great features.

There are also latent capabilities that you could pay for later like enabling autopilot if you don’t have the money upfront — every Model X comes with the autopilot hardware.

If you go crazy and max out your Model X you can top out at a $151,450 cash price. Thats with everything Tesla has to offer. So what are the $70,000 in options you can add?


BatteryThe largest single choice will be the battery size and if you want the performance model. Your options are as follows:

  • 70 kW battery (70D)
  • 90 kW battery (90D)
  • 90 kW battery, Performance model (P90D)

The 70 kW battery is in the base price. Choosing the 90 kW battery adds $13,000 to the base price. Note that you must take the Smart Air Suspension (normally a $2,500 upgrade) when you take the larger battery. The 90 kW battery increases EPA estimated range from 220 miles to 257 miles. So you get 37 extra miles of range at $351/mile of extra range. Interestingly the Model S, when you upgrade from 85 kW to 90 kW, you add 16 miles of range at a cost of $188/mile of extra range. Even if you take out the Smart Air Suspension, adding range to the Model X seems much more costly than it is on the Model S.

Adding range to the Model X seems much more costly than it is on the Model S.

If you go for the performance model it adds another $20,000 over 90 kW model, or $33,000 over the base model. Note that a few options (like the active spoiler) are only options on the performance model.

Note that while X90D isn’t the performance model it goes from 0 to 60 in 4.8 seconds and the X70D goes from 0 to 60 in 6.0 seconds, so there is a performance decision on the battery size too. For a comparison, the P90D goes 0 to 60 in 3.8 seconds (without Ludicrous speed upgrade).

The other thing to note in making this choice is what you pick can change your expected delivery time — the higher end the model, the sooner you’ll get it. They’re estimating P90Ds to be delivered early 2016, while 70D’s will get delivered mid to late 2016.

My choice in this area would be the 90D. It has the most range and is closest to the range I have now and it would not be slower than my 2014 Model S (0 to 60 in 5.4 seconds).

Performance Extras

Active SpoilerIf you’re a performance junkie and picked the P90D you have a few more choices you can make:

  • Ludicrous speed upgrade – Improves performance for 0-60 from 3.8 seconds to 3.2 seconds. Adds $10,000.
  • Active spoiler – improves highway range by 1.6% (thats 4 miles…). This is a free option. There’s a balance here of a cool feature and very small range improvement vs. more moving parts/things that can go wrong. Of course, by their pricing above at $351/mile of range added this feature is worth about $1,400.
  • Red brake calipers – this is purely an aesthetic item and it’s also a free option. Some love the look, some don’t.

Since I wouldn’t pick the P90D i’d get none of these options. If I did pick the P90D i’d take the spoiler and calipers but skip the Ludicrous upgrade. Its price is, well, ludicrous.


Model X SeatingThe next major choice is around seating. You can get the Model X with seating for 5, 6, or 7. Seating for 5 is included in the base price. Seating for 6 adds $3,000 to the base price while seating for 7 adds $4,000 to the base price. Note that it seems the the 5 seating configuration is also a lower build priority for Tesla so picking that could further delay your delivery.

The seating and seat behaviors has been a very hot topic for the Model X. The second row seats do not fold flat but can be moved forward to make some more room for cargo. The third row seats do fold flat.

The choice here depends on your intended use of the Model X. The 6 seat configuration is popular as it allows you to walk between the seats in the middle row to access the third row without having to move the seats or occupants.

For myself I was looking to replace the ability of my old Acura MDX which could seat 7. To me the main purpose of the Model X would be to be a people mover, so that would add $4,000 to the base price.

Major Options

Next comes a series of major options. While all Model X’s have autopilot hardware, you need to pay extra for the feature to be enabled. This will cost $2,500 now, or $3,000 after you’ve taken delivery. This is a way to defer some cost if needed, but if you’re going to get it you’re better off paying for it upfront. I’d definitely be choosing this option!

Bioweapon defense modeAnother major choice is the Premium Upgrade package. This one gives me a lot of trouble. The package is expensive at $4,500 and has a bunch of things in it, most of which i’d be fine without. Here’s the list:

  • Self-presenting drivers door
  • HEPA air filter (bioweapon defense mode)
  • Two activated carbon air filters
  • Ventilated front seats
  • Leather in a few more places (arm rests etc)
  • Alcantara headliner/upper dashboard
  • Soft LED ambient lighting
  • 3 position LED turning lights
  • LED fog lights

Back when I ordered my Model S, the Premium Lighting Package was $1,000 and I struggled with the value for that price, but i’ve loved the lighting in the car. I’d hate to give that up, yet I only really car about one third of the features in the above package which makes them effectively cost even more to me. Ultimately I think i’d end up picking it but i’d love to see Tesla break this package up a bit.

Smart air suspension is an option for $2,500, but only if you picked the 70D — for the other two options its included. I’m not sure why Tesla chose to do this. I very intentionally didn’t want Smart air suspension when I bought my Model S and have had no regrets in not having it. To me this is more of another gimmicky feature that can lead to additional long term maintenance issues over time. I wouldn’t pick it if I had a choice, but the 90D forces me to take it.

You may get smart air suspension whether you want it or not.

Ultra high fidelity sound is the next major package for $2,500. This adds a bunch more speakers and XM radio capability (you still have to pay the subscription for XM). I didn’t choose this for my Model S and have had no regrets on that front. I’ve driven cars with and without it and my ears can’t tell the difference. Perhaps its my country music taste 🙂

Subzero weather package is the next choice and here in New England its a no-brainer for $1,000. I have it on my Model S and get to use the features far too often. The newer versions of this package include a heated steering wheel which would be nice to have. Like the package on the Model S and unlike many packages like this on other SUVs, the Model X heats all seats. On my MDX front and middle row seats had seat heaters but the third row occupants were left out — not so in the Model X!

Tow/Hitch options

The next two options are unique to the Model X. The first is the option to add a Towing Package for $750 which includes the hitch, the receiver, the wiring harness and software to handle it all. There are already some good videos online of the Model X towing:

Here it depends on what you need the Model X for. When I bought my Acura MDX I added the towing package but have never used it (200K miles later). I have other vehicles that are better for towing and i’d skip that option again.

Note that when you tow your rage will be greatly reduced. Also there are a great deal of discussions on how/if you can use Superchargers while towing. Minimally you will need to disconnect/reconnect as you can’t back/pull into most Superchargers while towing something. Also, you may not make it from one Supercharger to another with a heavy non-aerodynamic item in tow. Towing locally would probably be fine, but it doesn’t sound like road trips while towing large items are in the cards.

The falcon wing doors have raised a bunch of concerns for those that want to carry skis, bikes, etc. Tesla’s answer is elegant as aways and the free accessory hitch option is a no brainer. This will let you add a 2″ hitch mounted rack later and provide some more options for lugging stuff around. It sounds like this option isn’t quite yet available but your Service Center will add it for free later. There must have to select it now so the car is able to have it easily added later.

Final choices

For me the price has risen from the base price of $81,200 to $112,200 with my choices above. The final choices are around paint, wheels and interior.

For paint, your choices can add $0, $1,000, or $1,500 depending on what color you choose. I’d likely be in the $1,000 price range with the Titanium paint. My old “dolphin” grey is no longer available and the new grey is a bit too dark for me. Titanium wasn’t an option on my Model S back then and it looks fantastic in person.Model X TitaniumWheels can make quite a bit of a price difference. The base wheels add no cost, but you can pay an extra $2,500 or $4,500 based on the wheels. The $4,500 wheels are 22″ while the base ones are 20″. Like my choice on my Model S, i’d take the base wheels.

Finally the interior choices. If you chose the Premium Upgrade Package above then the seat choice is just a matter of your preference and there is no additional cost. If you didn’t choose that package seats can add another $2,500 to the cost.

The décor can cost anywhere from $0 to $1,000 extra based on your choice. The figured ash wood is a new popular option which would add $750, but the choice from my Model S, which i’ve loved, is the matte obeche wood is the default/free option. Depending on your seat choice you either only get the black headliner or you can choose tan or black headliner. Both are free options. I’d go with the black headliner hear after learnng how many finger prints end up on it if you go with tan.

With my choices, no additional cost was added, so i’m still at a final price of $112,200 delivered.

One more thing

Model X Charger UpgradeThere’s one more hidden feature you can add. By default the Model X includes a 48 amp charger. If you type “charger” while configuring your Model X a hidden option appears for a 72 amp charger upgrade.

This is similar to the old “Dual Chargers” option on the earlier Model S’s. I opted for the dual charger configuration on my Model S and have made use of it and i’d do that again on the Model X. This hidden feature adds $1,000 to the price.

Why Tesla hid this option and continues to do so after widespread knowledge of it is a bit of a mystery.


My choices for the Model X put its price at $113,200. Tax credits would essentially give me back $10,000 for a final cost of $103,200.

I configured a new Model S with my preferences and the price came to $98,450, or $88,450 after tax credits. There are differences for sure — no falcon wing doors, a 85 kW battery vs the 90 kW battery, only seating for 5, etc.

So, at least for my preferences, the difference between a new Model X and the Model S is $14,750. To be fair, that gap narrows to $6,750 if I configure the X for 5 seats and the S for a 90 kW battery and leave both with the default charger configuration.

Where do I go from here? Thats a good question and the subject of another post to come.