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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist


WATCH: BYD’s Yangwang U8 revealed as an 883 kW swimming SUV

Despite weighing more than a Cadillac Escalade, the U8 will do 200 km/h and get from 0-100 km/h in under four seconds.


Its entry into South Africa by way of the Atto 3 confirmed back in June, Chinese automaker, Build Your Dreams (BYD), has unveiled yet another unusual model capable of being partially amphibious for a short time.

Watch the U8 “swimming” below

An SUV called the U8 marketed under the Yangwang brand created at the beginning of this year, the boxy five-seater sports a profile similar to the Land Rover Defender 110 when viewed from the side, with the same applying to the rear resplendent with an unusual octagonal shaped spare wheel cover affixed to the tailgate.

Big in every sense

Styled to resemble anything but the Defender though, the U8 rides on body-on-frame platform measuring 5 319 mm long, 2 050 mm wide and 1 930 tall with the wheelbase stretching 3 050 mm.

ALSO READ: WATCH: EV frenzy loading as BYD officially prices Atto 3

The former figure resulting in the U8 being 154 mm longer than a Nissan Patrol and 354 mm lengthier than a Toyota Land Cruiser 300, BYD claims a wading depth of exactly 1 000 mm on the Premium Edition and a staggering 1 400 mm with the inclusion of a snorkel on the Off-Road Master Edition.

The swimming SUV

Fitted with torque vectoring and door sills which provide the biggest “swimming” capability hint, the U8, despite weighing more than a Cadillac Escalade at 3 460 kg, can stay afloat for 30 minutes and even turn while doing no more than three kilometres per hour in water.

BYD's ultra-luxurious Yangwang U8 revealed
Land Rover Defender 110 inspiration lingers in the side profile design and at the rear. Image: paultan.org.

Only possible with the wading depth mode selected, the U8’s floating function comes via not only its chassis construction, which involves the battery pack being sealed and heavily waterproofed, but also an hydraulic body control system called Disus-P.

An off-road take on the Disus-X suspension that debuted on the U5 hypercar at the Shanghai Auto Show in April, the system raises and lowers the U8’s suspension by as much as 150 mm while adapting the roll and pitch movements depending on the terrain.

While outfitted with no less than 16 off-road modes, BYD has indicated that the amphibious mode has been developed for emergency situations and shouldn’t be undertaken on a regular basis of a fun-type party piece exercise.

In addition to a 360-degree tank turn, the Yangwang U8 has a breakover angle of 25.5-degrees, approach of 36.5-degrees and departure of 35.4-degrees, although strangely, no details pertaining to its ground clearance was disclosed.

Luxury and tech overload

Inside, subtle similarities from the Defender have been incorporated into the cabin, albeit with significantly more tech and luxuries.

BYD's ultra-luxurious Yangwang U8 revealed
No less than three displays feature at a front. Image: BYD Global.

Besides Nappa leather seats, up to three wireless smartphone chargers, a fridge and a 22-speaker DynAudio sound system with Dolby Atoms technology, the Premium comes standard with a pair of second row displays, plus an augmented reality Head-Up Display projected onto the window.

In total, no less than six displays feature; the mentioned rear pair, a smaller LCD on the rear armrest, a 12.8-inch for the infotainment system and two 23.6-inches items for the instrument cluster and on the passenger’s side respectively.

Yangwang U8 revealed as China's priciest SUV
Premium Edition comes standard with a pair of rear screens, plus a 22-speaker DynAudio Dolby Atmos sound system. Image: BYD Global.

Fitted 38 sensors, up to 16 cameras, LiDAR, wave radars and 14 ultrasonic sensors, the U8 adheres to Level 2 semi-autonomous driving and can additionally be parked without any driver intervention.

About that power…

Despite BYD’s prominence as China’s biggest and most popular electric vehicle brand, the Yangwang U8 derives motivation from a unique hybrid setup made-up of four electric motors and a turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine that acts as a generator to the 49.05-kWh Blade-type battery pack.

Supporting charging up to 110 kW, but requiring a waiting time of 18 minutes from 30-80% using the DC method, the U8 also sports vehicle-to-load (V2L) that feeds as much as six kilowatts into other electrical items for up to 25 hours.

Yangwang U8 revealed as China's priciest SUV
Display on the rear armrest brings the total screen count inside to six. Image: BYD Global.

On the move though, the combination of the four electric motors develops a total of 883kW/1 280Nm, BYD says will propel the U8 from 0-100 km/h in 3.6 seconds and on to a limited top speed of 200 km/h.

China’s most expensive SUV

Going on-sale before year end with a price tag of 1 089 000 yuan (R2 804 514) for the Premium, which makes it China’s most expensive new SUV, the Yangwang U8 is unlikely to become in South Africa anytime soon in spite of having been confirmed as an export model for other select markets.

Images, information and videos from carnewschina.com. Additional images from insideevs.com.br.

NOW READ: WATCH: Unusual three-wheeling debut for BYD’s new EV hypercar

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