Li Auto, also known as Li Xiang, is a new Chinese automaker founded in 2015 that isn’t that well known outside its home market, even though it claims to make the best SUV that you can buy for under 5-million yuan, or roughly $750,000. They call it the Li L9 and it’s a very convincing range-extender electric SUV that according to this video does start to lend some credence to the very bold manufacturer claim.
Wheelsboy posted this detailed walkaround video of the L9 and it actually looks like a very competent model by any standards. It looks nice and modern, with a full-width front light bar that is apparently an uninterrupted 2-meter piece, as well as its premium SUV proportions. It doesn’t look inspired by any model in particular, but it was clearly styled to look like a premium offering.
Gallery: Li L9
However, while the exterior is quite understated, the interior features what has to be one of the quickest infotainment systems we’ve ever seen on a car. It relies on not one, but two Qualcomm Snapdragon graphics chips allowing for remarkable smoothness and refresh rate, so screen stuttering should be a thing of the past with this vehicle. It actually has two big screens, one in the center and one for the passenger, and it all looks about as good as in any modern car in terms of design and layout.
When it comes to the powertrain, the fact that it’s a range-extender does make it quite unique. It will not fit the bill for those buyers looking for a pure-electric SUV, however it might win over those people who weren’t even considering an electrified model. It has a 44 kWh battery pack that is constantly charged by a 1.5-liter four-cylinder turbocharged generator, feeding front and rear motors that give a combined 449 horsepower and 459 pound-feet (620 Nm) of torque.
The L9 will go on sale in China later this year where it should make quite a splash given the claims made about how good it is, its spacious and tech packed three-row cabin and the unique powertrain should make it appeal to a wide spectrum of potential buyers. It is expected to cost the equivalent of around $70,000 and there will only be one very well specced trim level with limited available options. No word on when Li auto will begin selling vehicles outside China, though.
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