Oldsmobile’s Profile Concept is Remarkably Similar to the Tesla Model X
They’re similar enough for things to seem a bit fishy.
Sure, Oldsmobile made some bad cars. The last few years of that brand's life, especially, were pretty rough. But even if its production cars were... let's say, unfortunate, it always had interesting concepts in the works that were visually impressive (if not strictly innovative). In this case, the 2000 Oldsmobile Profile is both.
It's one of, if not the earliest concept to take a real stab at the crossover coupe format that's all the rage today. Regardless of whether you think the BMW X6 or the Infiniti FX35 qualifies as the first slope-roofed SUV, the Olds Profile beat 'em to the punch. Forget about Audi, Porsche and Mercedes.
Note: I don't think that Tesla literally stole the Model X design from this extremely obscure GM concept car. Even I'm not chugging the Defunct Automaker Kool-Aid that hard. Automotive design is an iterative process. But you have to admit the resemblance is there. First off, the rooflines and window trim are nearly the same, especially with that silver finish. The glass on the Model X's windows may fit a little better, but given time I'm sure we'll see a Model X with fit and finish that bad eventually.
Both cars also have a decided lack of front grille, with the Tesla's being fake—the Model X is electric, of course. The Oldsmobile Profile had a 250 horsepower, 3.5-liter supercharged V6, so its blank face is just a styling measure.
The eagle-eyed amongst you will have also noticed the Tesla Model X's Oldsmobile Profile-style door handles. Now, while the Olds Profile may not have had gullwing rear doors like the Model X, it sported something decidedly more pathetic—sliding minivan doors. Although these doors are a bit more conventional than the Tesla's, the Oldsmobile is the one setting the trend here. Both cars' front doors open conventionally.
Both vehicles have unusual interiors also. The Tesla has the brand's quintessential massive touchscreen, used to make the interior seem more modern, and save money on tooling. The Oldsmobile has a screen as well, in fact, it has a digital dash, similar to the Tesla.
The Profile is twenty years old now, though. And I think the digital dash is a CRT, just like the touchscreen unit found in the Olds Trofeo. Let's just say it makes up for its old technology with its zany design.
It has just one massive knob, sort of like the Mustang Mach-E, as well as a huge blue trackball that controlled the multimedia system. The massive knob was the shifter—just another feature on cars today that Oldsmobile saw coming in the year 2000. And if you're looking for a place to put a key, you won't find one. That's because the Profile had a keycard-style ignition system, just like Teslas do.
There's a few other features that mirror the Model X as well, such as Bluetooth and an internet connection. It's simply another instance of Oldsmobile being well ahead of its time.
It's a bit strange that, with just a few tweaks, you could probably sell the Profile today. Then again, Oldsmobile was just as strange as it was forward-facing.
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