Here’s a new Chinese SUV that rivals the Tesla Model X for the price of a Model Y

The IM joint venture, founded by SAIC and Alibaba, is unveiling its second vehicle, a large high-end SUV called the LS7. The latter competes with the Tesla Model X and highlights its large space on board and its advanced technologies, including autonomous driving. Soon available for order, it will begin shipping next March.

IM LS7 // Source: SAIC and Alibaba

Gone are the days when Chinese brands offered questionable-looking vehicles, pale copies of models marketed in Europe. Today, the builders of the Middle Kingdom are well up in power, so much so that they are now worrying European specialists. And with good reason, many of them are invading the old continent, like BYD, Nio or even Xpeng, not to mention MG. It may be that a new model comes to us a little later.

Comfort above all

This is the new IM LS7, the second model of the joint venture born of the alliance between the Chinese groups SAIC and Alibaba. Six months after the presentation of the L7 sedan, we discover a giant. Adopting very clean lines that remind us a little of what its competitors already offer, this impressive SUV stands out in particular its huge panoramic windshield.

IM LS7 // Source: SAIC and Alibaba

The latter is reminiscent of the Tesla Model X, one of the main rivals of this Chinese SUV. As the site says The HomeThe IM LS7 also shows roughly similar dimensions, with a length of 5.05 meters for 2 meters in width and 1.73 meters in height. Significant work has been done on the Cx, shown at just 0.268, while the SUV has a full grill and handles integrated into the body. In comparison, its new competitor, the recently revealed Nio EC7, has a Cd of just 0.230, the most aerodynamic electric SUV on the market.

IM LS7 // Source: SAIC and Alibaba

Utilizing a more than generous wheelbase of 3.06 meters, which SAIC describes in its press release, this LS7 bets on comfort and space on board to attract customers. The latter also benefits from a beautiful interior light, as well as front seats that can be completely flat, perfect for admiring the stars. The second row is equipped withseats whose backs can be reclined up to 120 degrees. Note that the vehicle is equipped with a Yoke steering wheel like the Tesla Model S and Model X.

IM LS7 // Source: SAIC and Alibaba

Inspired by the L7 sedan, the driving position of the electric SUV has a large digital panel that reminds us of that of the Honda E, but also to a lesser extent of the new SUV that Aehra presented a few days earlier. Another small screen is also installed lower. A total of five people can be taken on board the IM LS7, which offers a luggage compartment volume of 733 litres.

Multiple versions available

In total, two power levels are offered for the imposing SUV, namely 250 kW (approx. 340 horsepower) with rear-wheel drive and 425 kW (approx. 577 horsepower) with four-wheel drive. For 0 to 100 km/h the acceleration would thus take 4.5 seconds. A figure that we especially owe to the torque of 725 Nm, available immediately.

Two batteries, 90 and 100 kW are also available, developed by SAIC in collaboration with the Chinese giant CATL, which begins producing batteries on European soil and develops its own battery exchange stations. The autonomy of the SUV is then between 615 and 660 kilometers according to the Chinese CLTC cycle.

IM LS7 // Source: SAIC and Alibaba

Please note that the CLTC cycle is much more optimistic than the European WLTP. It is thus necessary to remove between 10 and 15% to obtain a value closer to the real conditions, i.e. between 520 and 560 kilometers. The charging effect is not mentioned by the manufacturer.

IM LS7 // Source: SAIC and Alibaba

This new LS7 is also equipped with an autonomous driving system which can reach level 3 as suggested by the LiDAR sensor installed on the roof. The correct operation of this technology will be ensured by an Nvidia Orin chip, which will also allow the SUV to benefit from automatic parking, among other things.

IM LS7 // Source: SAIC and Alibaba

The impressive SUV will be officially launched in mid-February, while the first deliveries are expected in China in March. It is then necessary to count between 350,000 and 500,000 yuan, or the equivalent of 47,250 to 67,500 euros, to afford a copy if we apply a gross conversion. Be careful though, the selling price of a Chinese car in Europe is often higher.

It remains to be seen whether it will make its way to Europe, which is absolutely not to be ruled out, while many Chinese manufacturers are investing in our market. It is even estimated that more than 800,000 cars from the Middle Kingdom will be on our roads by 2025.

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