It’s no secret that Chinese automaker BYD has been harbouring ambitions to take on the luxury market for quite some time, so when it came time to unveil YangWang, its ultra-luxury brand, it went big. The spin-off brand announced two new vehicles that will sit under YangWang, including a snazzy-looking U7 supercar and the much more likely-to-impress U8 electric SUV. Importantly, both cars have been stuffed with oodles of power, but it is what YangWang can do with it that is getting people excited.
Leaving the U7 behind for just a moment, the new YangWang U8 electric SUV arrives with a series of unique features that no one saw coming. While we all expect luxury vehicles to house a fancy touchscreen and driver-assisted technology, moon walking and a ‘floating water mode’ aren’t usually on the menu, but that’s precisely what this new SUV is claiming.
Initially piquing our interest with its Defender-esque lines and butch proportion, the YangWang U8 SUV aims to rattle the established brands with its quirky set of features and Tesla-worrying power figures. In terms of design, the square wheel arches and the LED-infested front-end are juxtaposed against a large, toothy grille while the slab-sided lines accentuate the sense of sizer further. The Defender inspiration is clearly evident in the side profile but there are enough unique design elements that stand out. Large 20-inch wheels are somewhat also dwarfed by those massive proportions.
With a length of 5,300mm, it is also clearly aimed as an all-electric alternative to the Defender 130, but it dials the engine capacity up to ‘bonkers’. With no less than four electric motors nestled at each axle, the U8’s claimed total power is Bugatti-rivalling with a surreal 1100 bhp. Torque vectoring and an electronic four-wheel drive system are joined by a raft of driver-assisted features and other gadgetry.
That said, aside from the ludicrous power at hand, this big SUV can crab walk like the GMC Hummer along with even floating on water with a dedicated water mode due to the fact that the U8 is completely waterproof. Other trickery includes moon walking and 360-degree spins plus the ability to be driven at 120 km/h with a flat tyre.
BYD has yet to reveal prices but the intention here is to clearly introduce this brand across various markets as a value-for-money EV luxury brand. Tesla has clearly proved that a newcomer can come in and give legacy brands a hard time and BYD is aiming to do the same. On this evidence alone, they are on the right track.