The Yangwang U8 is a 1,184bhp plug-in hybrid SUV that can float on water | Top Gear
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The Yangwang U8 is a 1,184bhp plug-in hybrid SUV that can float on water

BYD’s posh sub-brand unveils the U8 Premium Edition in China. Will do 0-62mph in 3.6 seconds (on land)

Published: 27 Sep 2023

Earlier this year we brought you news of the Yangwang U9 – an all-electric Chinese supercar that used its fancy suspension tech to bunny hop and drive safely on just three wheels. At the time we thought that was the most bonkers thing we’d see all year, but now we’re welcoming the Yangwang U8 to the world.

The second car to be shown off by BYD’s posh sub-brand, the U8 is an electric SUV that uses four motors – one for each wheel – and some very fancy independent torque vectoring to put 1,184bhp down on the road. As a result, the U8 will do 0-62mph in 3.6 seconds and can spin all four wheels to do proper tank turns. Should be rather useful on the school run. There’s something called the ‘DiSus-P Intelligent Hydraulic Body Control System’ too which, in a similar manner to the U9 supercar, allows you to drive on three wheels in the event of a tyre blowout.

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Oh, and just in case you were worried about range, there’s also a 2.0-litre turbo engine on board to act as a range extender, so with a full tank of petrol and juiced up batteries you’ll manage 621 miles without a stop.

Remarkably, we’re told that deliveries will start in China in October this year. For those not paying attention, that’s currently five days away. How on earth?

Yangwang U8 Premium Edition Top Gear

Anyway, those first deliveries will be of the U8 Premium Edition, which is set to cost over £123,000 in Yangwang’s home market. Looks like that’ll get all of the headline tech as standard though, including a rather remarkable ‘emergency flotation’ function that ensures the U8 can float on water for up to 30 minutes. Yep, this giant range-extender SUV can literally become a boat.

Designed to keep you safe in flash floods or to allow you to cross rivers on off-road adventures, the system apparently kills the engine, closes the windows and opens the sunroof before propelling you along at 1.8mph by spinning its wheels. Bonkers.

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Back in the normal electric SUV world, the U8 will fast charge at up to 110kW to allow for a 30 to 80 per cent top-up in 18 minutes. Or if you’re feeling lazy and can’t be bothered to faff around with cables, there are three wireless charging pads underneath that allow for 50kW charging. It also uses vehicle-to-load capabilities to dispense charge to other devices at 6kW.

The interior is crammed full of Nappa leather, sapele wood, speakers and many, many screens. Seriously, just check out how many displays are in there. The dash alone features a 12.8-inch OLED central screen and two 23.6-inch displays either side.

And that’s about all of the info we have on the U8 right now, but it certainly looks like quite the vehicle doesn’t it?

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