Bangkok 2024: BYD YangWang U9 – 1,306 PS electric supercar, “jumping” suspension, RM1.1mil in China

One of the most interesting cars shown at the Bangkok International Motor Show (BIMS) was the BYD Yangwang U9, the brand’s first electric supercar. Part of the company’s luxury YangWang sub-brand, this outlandish-looking thing only recently went on sale in China in February, so its appearance in Thailand is a bit of a surprise.

And while the BYD brand commands a far greater premium in the Middle Kingdom than it does here, the U9 is still a bit of a stretch, retailing at an eye-watering 1,680,000 yuan (RM1.1 million). Thankfully, it does have plenty of tricks up its sleeve to help justify the high price, especially where performance is concerned.

Powering the U9 are four motors (one for each wheel), each producing 326 PS (240 kW). Together, they produce a staggering 1,306 PS (960 kW) and 1,680 Nm of torque, enough to propel the car from zero to 100 km/h in just 2.36 seconds, on its way to a top speed of 309 km/h.

Bangkok 2024: BYD YangWang U9 – 1,306 PS electric supercar, “jumping” suspension, RM1.1mil in China

But the U9 is not just about the performance. It’s the first Chinese car to come with a carbon fibre monocoque, as well as BYD’s DiSus-X active body control suspension, which the company says has been developed in-house. It uses cameras to scan the road and then counters body movements with electric motors, reacting in as little as 40 milliseconds and lifting each wheel by as much as 75 mm at up to 500 m/s.

These capabilities are what allow the U9 to perform its infamous party tricks, such as dancing, driving on three wheels and even jumping in place. Its quad motors, meanwhile, enable the car to do a tank turn (spin in place), much like the U8 SUV.

The U9 continues to use BYD’s lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery technology; with a capacity of 80 kWh, the car has a claimed range of 450 km. That’s on the notoriously lenient CLTC cycle, which means the real-world range is likely less than 400 km.

The car also features an 800-volt architecture and can support up to 500 kW of DC fast charging power. This can be achieved via dual charging through the ports on both sides, topping up the battery from 10 to 80% charge in just ten minutes; it will presumably also make you very popular at busy charging stations. Incredulously, like many BYD models, the U9 still only supports 7 kW of AC charging power, taking seven hours to charge the battery from 10 to 80%.

It’s certainly a very striking-looking thing, the U9, with lots of slashes and scoops and a pair of butterfly doors. At the front, you’ll find distinctive C-shaped “interstellar” headlights, while the rear sports full-width taillights that extend upwards in the middle along the “spine” of the car.

The car also has an active rear spoiler and diffuser as standard, although the car you see here comes with a fixed swan-neck wing instead, paired with a Le Mans prototype-style dorsal fin. The wheels measure a massive 21 inches and are shod with Pirelli P Zero tyres – 275/35 at the front, 325/30 at the rear. Behind them you’ll find carbon ceramic discs with six-piston front and four-piston rear callipers.

Bangkok 2024: BYD YangWang U9 – 1,306 PS electric supercar, “jumping” suspension, RM1.1mil in China

Inside, there’s a double-bubble dashboard to give occupants a cockpit-like feel, enhanced by the 127-colour ambient lighting system. In front of the driver sits a 10.25-inch mini-LED digital instrument display, while another mini-LED 12.3-inch portrait touchscreen (not rotatable, unfortunately) controls the infotainment. Music is piped through a 12-speaker Dynaudio Evidence Platinum sound system.

Unlike the rest of the cars being shown at the BYD stand – including the Sea Lion 07, Seagull and 2024 Atto 3 – don’t expect the YangWang U9 to be sold in Southeast Asia anytime soon. Apart from anything else, the luxury EV market in the region just isn’t there yet – how many Rolls-Royce Spectres have you seen on the road? Then again, given the current might of BYD, you can never say never.

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