Luxury off-road car in a driving report: BYD Yangwang U8 – the Swiss knife from China

Luxury off-road car in a driving report: BYD Yangwang U8 – the Swiss knife from China

The best off-road vehicle in the driving report
BYD Yangwang U8 – the Swiss army knife from China

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Using the large luxury SUV U8, BYD’s subsidiary, Yangwang, is creating a car that could be a threat to all manufacturers in this segment. In the test it shows the characteristics of a sports car – and it can even swim. Consolation for the competition: It is not yet clear if the car will come to Europe.

It is a car like a mountain. A good length of 5.30 meters, a width of more than 2 meters and almost high, with a maximum speed of 200 km / h and a live weight of about 3.5 tons. The Yangwang U8 is an impressive sight at first glance. Chinese car giant BYD is flexing its muscles two weeks ahead of the domestic auto show in Beijing and hinting at what’s possible now in the off-road luxury car segment. And that’s a lot – as long as money is not an issue, because such a car would cost more than 125,000 euros in Germany.

A car like a mountain: BYD Yangwang U8 is 5.31 meters long, 2.05 meters wide and 1.93 meters high.

(Photo: Harald Dawo/BYD)

The U8 has four electric motors, one for each wheel, which are controlled separately. The electric range is about 180 km. There is also a gasoline engine that works as a range extender and is separated from the drive, which is intended to increase the range to 1000 km (!). The U8 has all-wheel drive and trick control electronics also offer a special trick previously reserved for tracked vehicles: the car can turn on a vertical axis. While this is probably never needed in everyday use and leaves nasty streaks of black rubber on the road, this capability may be needed in more extreme situations or when used as an emergency vehicle.

Category “show what is possible”

The spare wheel should convey the spirit of adventure.

(Photo: Harald Dawo/BYD)

Basically, however, this gimmick belongs to the “show what’s possible” category. This also includes a drive train with 880 kW/1200 hp, which enables the monster to accelerate to 100 km/h in 3.6 seconds, with 200 km/h Vmax, but also a modern chassis – electronically controlled self-driving. – which ensures a high ground clearance of about 50 cm. All kinds of sensors and control elements are installed that put a load on the track during a quick stop and suppress the tendency to rotate the vertical and transverse axis.

The interior design of the U8 meets the highest European requirements. The best leather is wrapped around the solid controls, which – it remains a Chinese car – sometimes seem playful. The various states of the car can sometimes be difficult to read on the three large displays in the cockpit, but the software is still logical.

A look inside the BYD Yangwang U8: everything in pure leather.

(Photo: Harald Dawo/BYD)

Needless to say, the sound system with 22 speakers ensures the acoustic well-being can also be balanced by the piezoelectrically changing roof lining. A small fly in the ointment is that the rear seat can only be folded down in a ratio of 2: 3 (electrically, of course) – “passing” is not part of the program; Skiing is obviously not one of the most important influence groups in China.

If the seats are reclining, U8 provides a fully saturated false surface that can be brought into balance using the balance switch. To prevent the car from shaking while you sleep at night, the suspension can also be locked in this position.

Frying a steak also works

In the BYD Yangwang U8 you can also be very comfortable while sleeping.

(Photo: BYD)

If you want to fry a juicy steak beforehand, U8 is also the best choice. The 49 kW battery has external sockets to which the electric grill can be connected. The LED strips on the D poles glow green when charging and blue when discharging. The full list of entertainment options offered by this car can be exceeded here – it is good that everything can be turned off.

By the way, U8 can also swim. However, only in emergencies and for 30 minutes. No rubber or other rings have been inflated in bulk; If the car floats on water, the roof opens as an escape route. However, a swimming depth of more than one meter may be more important than swimming ability. The Swiss Army Knife of the car from China cannot fly, but as an option there is a drone mounted on the roof that sends its images to the cockpit.

The U8 exhibits the characteristics of a sports car

The cargo space of BYD Yangwang U8 holds more than 2000 liters.

(Photo: Harald Dawo/BYD)

On the test track the U8 is very pleasant. The steering, handling and chassis show the characteristics of a sports car, which is not easy considering the large moving mass. When the corners are driven deliberately fast, the car slows down, but is easily caught again by electricity. There are some question marks about the brakes, which work very well in the winter and bring the 3.5-ton car to a halt after just 30 meters from 100 km/h. But after only a few laps it becomes too hot for the reduction joints, the pedal becomes soft and requires a lot of muscle use. Physics cannot be ignored by electricity. The tires also seem “oily” after a few quick test runs.

The price of the BYD Yangwang U8 will be well into six figures.

(Photo: Harald Dawo/BYD)

Before the U8 is released in Europe, the engineers in Yangwang will definitely think about it. They have proven that they are creative with this car, which is in the class of 1 million yuan (over 125,000 euros). Unfortunately, it is not clear to those involved in Germany why Yangwang’s first car has the number 8 in its name. But it is clear that the U9 will be shown soon. A sports car that will definitely show again what is possible.

Technical data BYD Yangwang U8

  • A five-door, five-seater SUV in the luxury class
  • Length: 5.31 meters, width: 2.05 meters, height: 1.93 meters; Wheelbase: 3.05 meters; Trunk volume: maximum 2,050 liters
  • Four electric motors with 220 kW/300 hp each, petrol engine (without performance classification) as a range addition, system output: 880 kW/1200 hp, maximum torque: 1280 Nm
  • 0-100 km/h: 3,6 s, Vmax: 200 km/h
  • Consumption: kA, battery: 49.05 kW, range (electric) 180 km, total range: 1000 km