These two cars really have no business racing each other. One is a mid-engine supercar with a naturally-aspirated V10 engine and supermodel styling. The other is an all-electric SUV that looks like Humpty Dumpty had an allergic reaction. However, they do have one thing in common — they’re both very, very fast. Which is why Jeremy Clarkson used the R8 V10 as a benchmark when testing how fast the new Model X P100D (the fastest performance variant) is on the new episode of The Grand Tour.
In this episode (which can be seen on Amazon Prime), Clarkson decides to see just how fast the Model X is and does so by drag racing it against an Audi R8 V10 Plus. It’s actually a closer race than one might think, especially when you look at both cars on paper.
The Audi R8 V10 Plus sports a 5.2 liter naturally-aspirated V10 that makes 610 hp, a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox and all-wheel drive. It can get from 0-60 mph in 2.9 seconds and has a top speed of 205 mph. While the Tesla Model X P100D uses two electric motors, one at each axle making it all-wheel drive, which combine to make 603 hp and 713 lb-ft. Tesla also claims a 0-60 mph time of 2.9 seconds when using its famed “Ludicrous Mode” launch control. However, it can’t hit 205 mph.
So which one wins in a quarter-mile drag race? The Audi R8 is significantly lighter, can get to 60 mph in the same time and has a much higher top speed but its power comes on much higher in its rev range, whereas the Tesla makes its peak electric torque at zero rpm.
At the start of the race, the Model X fires ahead of the Audi R8, as the supercar’s free-breathing V10 needs to rev out to make its power. That lead continues to grow until the get past 60 mph, where the R8’s lighter weight and ability to shift gears and get back into its power band allows it to start catching up, and quickly. By 100 mph, the Audi R8 almost has the Model X but it’s not enough. The Model X wins the race.
Afterword, Clarkson puts the Model X in an obnoxious celebration mode which is funny but also the sort of absurd, smug thing that isn’t surprising from a company run by Elon Musk, quite possibly the world’s closest thing to a real life Bond villain. The celebration mode involves the Model X opening its famous “Falcon Doors” which, if you didn’t already know, open like bird wings, and flapping them. So how many times do you think it can do that before the notoriously faulty doors snap off and fall to the floor?
There’s not denying Teslas are fast. They’re brutally, blisteringly fast, as so many electric cars are today. However, the Model X would only be able to win that race once, as it can only do one Ludicrous Mode launch every thirty minutes, so as to let the batteries cool down. Also, it drains the battery so much that it probably wouldn’t be able to do it again without charging. While the R8 could do that launch over and over and over again.
Still, it’s a funny video and one that shows off the advantages of electric power versus tradition internal combustion power. We’d still take the R8, though. No question. You can’t hear this in a Model X.