BYD’s upscale YangWang sub-brand has finally rolled out its first-ever, the U9. First unveiled in April last year, the U9 stands is a big departure from what most people associate with the Chinese automaker.
Priced at a very hefty 1,680,000 Yuan (or around RM1.1 million), it boasts a significantly higher level of technical and performance prowess than, say, the BYD Dolphin. To say that this car represents the pinnacle of what the NEV giant can do is a bit of understatement, but more apparent is their ambition to tread on the territory of high end sports car manufacturers.
With a price tag to rival the likes of Ferrari or Lamborghini, the U9 is powered by four motors, one for each wheel, generating 326 PS (240 kW) each. Together, they deliver an impressive 1,306PS (960 kW) and 1,680 Nm of torque, able to propel the car from 0 to100 km/h in a mere 2.36 seconds, with a top speed of 309 km/h.
Beyond its performance, the U9 marks several firsts for Chinese cars, featuring a carbon fibre monocoque and BYD’s DiSus-X active body control suspension, developed in-house. The suspension uses cameras to analyse road conditions and swiftly adjusts each wheel’s position to counter body movements, with a reaction time as quick as 40 milliseconds.
These innovations enable the U9 to showcase unique abilities, including dancing, driving on three wheels, and executing a tank turn, akin to the U8 SUV. That said, feeding that many electric motors would be quite a task, requiring YangWang to engineer the U9 with enough battery capacity without overburdening it with overly excessive weight.
Its lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery with an 80 kWh capacity provides a claimed range of 450 km measured against CLTC (China Light-Duty Vehicle Test Cycle) parameters, supported by an 800-volt architecture capable of handling up to 500 kW of DC fast charging power.
That’s definitely far from record-breaking figures when it comes to battery capacity or range on a single charge, but seems to be a logical compromise given U9’s brief.
Inside, occupants experience a cockpit-like environment with a double-bubble dashboard, 117-colour ambient lighting, a 10.25-inch mini-LED digital instrument display, and a 12.3-inch portrait touchscreen controlling the infotainment system, accompanied by a 12-speaker Dynaudio Evidence Platinum sound system.
In terms of exterior design, to our eyes, it reminds us most of the limited-production Spania GTA Spano from 2010. The visually striking Chinese electric hypercar features distinctive design elements such as those C-shaped interstellar headlight cluster that takes up a lot of front end real estate, full-width taillights, butterfly doors, 21-inch wheels with Pirelli P Zero tires, and a large carbon fibre rear wing that looks to be adjustable.
How soon should we expect to see the U9 hunting down the EV lap record at the Nurburgring?