Just as Chinese EV brand BYD starts to ramp up its operations in Australia with lofty ambitions to be the number one selling carmaker here by 2030, it also wants to introduce its fledgling luxury brand Yangwang to Aussie car buyers.

    If BYD Australia and its distribution partner EVDirect have their way we could eventually see a whole range of BYD sub-brands on sale here, starting with Yangwang and its U8 off-roader according to EVDirect CEO Luke Todd.

    “Yangwang is the luxury brand for BYD and has only recently been released in China, so we can’t forecast the timeline of when those vehicles will arrive in Australia,” said Mr Todd.

    “But we are in discussions about potentially bringing the U8 to Australia but that hasn’t been confirmed yet.”

    BYD Auto also owns a number of other car brands including Yangwang, Denza and the even newer Fang Cheng Bao.

    Interestingly, Yangwang only kicked off production in 2023 with the U8, its inaugural model after its reveal at the Guangzhou Auto Show in the same year.

    Sales of the luxury SUV commenced in China in April, followed by Russia in June.

    The U8 measures 5319mm long, 2050mm wide and 1930mm tall on a 3050mm wheelbase. For reference, a Range Rover is 5252mm long, 2047mm wide and 1870mm tall on a 3197mm wheelbase.

    This full-sized off-roader features four electric motors making a combined output of 880kW of power and 1280Nm of torque.

    Despite tipping the scales at a truly hefty 3460kg, the U8 is capable of blasting from zero to 100km/h in just 3.6 seconds, while top speed is electronically limited to 200km/h.

    The electric power is supplemented by a 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine that powers a 49.05kWh Blade battery which is integrated into the vehicle’s chassis as part of BYD’s proprietary Cell-to-Chassis (CTC) technology.

    It has an EV-only range of 180km, while claimed combined range with a full battery and 75-litre fuel tank is 1000km.

    The U8 supports DC fast charging at 110kW, with claims of charging from 30-80 per cent in 18 minutes. It can also power appliances and tools using its 6kW vehicle-to-load (V2L) capacity.

    Sitting on BYD’s own ‘e4’ platform, the U8 also features its DiSus-P Intelligent hydraulic body control system. This allows it to not only raise and lower by up to 150mm, but also perform a full 360-degree tank turn using an integrated electric motor developed in-house.

    It’s also able to keep going even if it sustains a tyre blow out.   

    In standard Premium guise in China, the U8 has a maximum wade depth of 1000mm without a snorkel, while the Off-road Master Edition ups that to 1400mm and features a snorkel. It also features 15+1 off-road modes for any number of different terrains.

    More impressive still is its amphibious ability by which it can move through water (float) using its four-wheel vector control and IP68-rated waterproof and body sealing technology.

    The system is automatically activated if the U8 exceeds the maximum wading depth and simultaneously opens the sunroof as an emergency exit, closes the windows, switches the A/C to internal circulation as well as displays the depth of the vehicle in the water.

    It can travel through the water at 3km/h, and stay afloat for up to 30 minutes in emergency conditions such as flash floods or crossing bodies of water during off-road excursions.

    The U8 also offers serious approach and departure angles: 36.5° (approach), 35.4° (departure) and 25.5° (breakover). That’s better than the Mercedes-Benz G-Class (31° and 30° respectively, though the G-Wagen allows for a slightly better breakover angle at 26°.

    The U8 boasts Yangwang’s Pilot ADAS, with no fewer than 38 sensors, including three LiDAR units, 14 ultrasonic sensors, 16 cameras and 5 millimetre-wave radars.

    Dual NVIDIA DRIV Orin processors give the U8 combined computing power of 508 TOPS (trillions of operations per second), enabling Highway Driving Assist, City Navigation Autopilot and Automated Valet Parking, as part of a full suite of 30 Level 2 advanced driver assistance features.

    Inside is floor-to-ceiling Nappa leather and six screens, including a 23.6-inch digital driver’s display, a 12.8-inch central display and another 23.6-inch screen for the front passenger.

    In addition, there are two more super-size screens for the rear passengers as well as another in the centre of the rear seats. There’s also a huge 70-inch HUD with augmented reality, and a 22-speaker Dynaudio sound system.

    The U8 also gets three wireless phone chargers, a thermographic camera and an integrated satellite phone for failsafe communications.

    While we still don’t have final conformation on the Yangwang U8 or what it would likely be priced at here, in China the range-topping Premium Edition sells for 1,098,000 yuan (A$236,000).

    Interestingly, Yangwang also has the U9 – a ballistically quick battery-electric supercar boasting four individual motors, 820kW of power and a zero to 100km/h sprint time in under two seconds.  

    It has a maximum range of 700km and a price point of around one million yuan (AUD$208,000) in mainland China.  

    It was developed by BYD’s lead designer, Wolfgang Egger, who previously held head designer positions for Alfa Romeo, Audi and Lamborghini before moving to BYD in 2017.

    Anthony Crawford
    Anthony Crawford is a Senior Road Tester at CarExpert.
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