BYD’s new luxury brand Yangwang has revealed the U9 sports coupe and go-anywhere U8 4×4.
BYD has unveiled the first two models from its new Yangwang premium electric car brand, saying they will compete against models from traditional luxury car makers such as Mercedes-Benz and BMW – with prices set to start at around one million yuan, some $215,000, when sales begin in China later this year.
The Shenzhen-based company unveiled the U8, a hardcore off-roader in the mould of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class, and the U9, a rakish Audi R8-rivalling coupe.
The two new electric models form an integral part of BYD’s efforts to broaden its scope and become a global car maker with offerings in all car segments after record-breaking sales for BYD in the Chinese market over the past 12 months.
In 2022, BYD became the world’s leading maker of electrified cars, including pure-electric and plug-in hybrids, selling nearly two million cars in 2022.
BYD chief executive Wang Chuanfu said the new Yangwang brand “will reshape the contours of the global luxury car market” before revealing BYD’s sales target of 4 million cars in 2023.
Both the U8 and U9 use proprietary electric car technology, including in-house-developed lithium-ion phosphate (LFP) batteries, developed by BYD.
Details to the capacity of the battery and projected range have not yet been disclosed, though Chuanfu told the media both will be set new standards in the luxury car class.
The styling of the initial Yangwang models has been overseen by BYD’s head of design, Wolfgang Egger, the former Alfa Romeo and Audi design boss.
The U8 and U9 boast what Egger describes as BYD’s “Gate of Time and Space” design lineage, which is reserved specifically for Yangwang branded models, he says.
At 5300mm in length, the upright U8 is 483mm longer than today’s G-Class. The new Yangwang model also rides on a wheelbase that is 410mm longer than the long-running Mercedes-Benz model at 3500mm.
At its unveiling in China, BYD confirmed it will come as standard with 20in wheels shod with 275/60 R20 tyres.
The U8 is based on a newly developed ladder-frame chassis and is powered by four individual electric motors in a drivetrain layout mirroring that of the upcoming Mercedes-Benz EQG – an electric take on the G-Class.
BYD says each individual motor develops between 217kW and 236kW, and a maximum torque of between 319Nm and 419Nm. Total output is pegged at more than 810kW, and the SUV is claimed to have a 0-100km/h time of “less than 3.0sec”.
An electronically controlled four-wheel drive system provides an individual apportioning of drive to each wheel, allowing the U8 to perform tank turns in similar fashion to that displayed by Mercedes-Benz with a prototype of its EQG recently.
Other features revealed by BYD is a tyre pressure control system that allows the U8 to continue driving at speeds up to 128km/h with a flat tyre.
BYD has been less forthcoming on details to the U9, though it does confirm the four-wheel drive sports car will also receive four individual electric motor in a drivetrain layout that is claimed to provide it with a 0-100km/h time of “less than 2.0sec.”