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Xiaomi has unveiled its Tesla-rivalling SU7 saloon

The Chinese electronics giant has built its first (terrifyingly quick and reasonably priced) car

Published: 29 Mar 2024

Better known for building smartphones, Chinese brand Xiaomi has done what Apple couldn’t. It has built its first electric car, and has apparently kept the price as low as £23,600.

“It’s hard to make a car, but it’s cool to succeed at it,” said company founder Lei Jun. Ooh, meow.

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The Xiaomi SU7 (soo-chi in Chinese) is a spacious all-electric saloon. Almost five metres long, it’s 1.96m wide and over 1.4m tall. Not bad looking though, is it? It sports 19-inch wheels as standard (up to 21-inches for sportier variants) and is available in nine exterior colours. We’d be lying if we said we couldn’t see serious hints of Porsche Taycan, mind.

There are three different specs: the SU7, SU7 Pro and SU7 Max. The base model apparently manages 434 miles of range (on China's optimistic CLTC cycle) from a 73.6kWh battery. And we say 'base', but it still gets 268bhp and 295lb ft of torque. Not bad. The middle-child Pro offers almost 516 miles of range with a 94.3kWh battery and the same single motor powertrain.

At its launch event, Xiaomi said that the longer ranges were gained by working flat out to reduce the drag co-efficient and by switching to EV-specific tyres from brand partners Michelin, Pirelli and Bridgestone.

And then there's Xiaomi’s "performance beast". Jun’s words, not ours, though we can see what he’s getting at...

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The SU7 Max has a hefty 101kWh battery and an 800V system. It's capable of 503 miles on a single charge and uses twin motors for AWD and 664bhp. There are various drive modes of course, including a drift mode which transfers power to the rear wheels and disengages the traction control. When not going sideways, it'll cover 0-62mph in a very swift and very precise 2.78 seconds.

Xiaomi claims it has the SU7 locked into a connected world it understands better than most established car makers, Porsche and Tesla included. The driver assist features are wide and far-reaching. All models get a Boost button – providing extra power for 20 seconds – plus Launch Control and an ‘Autopilot’ button on the steering wheel.

The brand’s Pilot Pro and Pilot Max (which adds LiDar to the Pro’s ‘visual only’ set-up) “smart driving systems” have reportedly covered over 10 million kilometres of testing.

Inside the SU7 is pretty posh, with bags of space in the front and back, amplified by a triple-glazed panoramic sunroof. The brand gets to show off its electronics credentials and software know-how in the cabin, too. There are built-in mobile phone docks (on either side of the dash, so there’s clearly plans to make the SU7 both left- and right-hand-drive), a plug-in for a GoPro, one for a dashcam, a couple of wireless charging points and optional Xiaomi tablets for the rear passengers.

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Those tablets can interact with the centre display screen and the driver’s head-up display, which is a massive 56-inches in diameter, while a suite of components (the windows, wing mirrors and HUD) can be voice-controlled.

All that said, Xiaomi has kept some actual switchgear, and if you want more there’s an optional magnetic bar with proper climate buttons that can be bought and retrofitted. Heck, there’s even a little device which docks up top to give the digital assistant, Showei, emotions. Other options? A 4.6-litre smart fridge and karaoke mics. Yeah, seriously.

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