The Chinese automotive industry has come a long way since the days it was mostly an imitation of European, Asian, and North American products. There are now more and more local brands that not only build decent cars but also develop new models from scratch to compete against products from mainstream and legacy automakers.
To a certain extent, the EV sector in China is even more competitive than in the rest of the world. There’s no better proof of that than the latest crop of emissions-free machines coming from the People’s Republic.
Our friends and colleagues at Wheelsboy had the chance and privilege to test the IM L7 and we have an exclusive gallery from their test attached below, plus a video at the top of this page. You are probably seeing the vehicle’s name for the very first time and the truth is the car is not popular outside China.
What you need to know is that it is a luxury electric saloon, developed in cooperation between SAIC, one of China’s largest automakers, Zhangjiang Hi-Tech, a Chinese tech company, and the Alibaba Group, an e-commerce company. We know you’ve probably heard this a thousand times but the L7 is marketed as a direct Tesla competitor. Here’s why.
Gallery: IM L7
First of all, it is powerful. It has a dual-motor electric powertrain generating 570 bhp (425 kilowatts) and 531 pound-feet (720 Newton-metres) of torque. The claimed 0 to 60 miles per hour (0-96 kilometres per hour) time is somewhere below four seconds. For now, the only available battery is a 93 kWh pack that provides an NEDC-certified range of 382 miles (615 kilometres) per single charge. A larger 118 kWh battery is expected to also become available for a claimed range of 621 miles (1,000 km). Regardless of the battery option, there’s an optional 11 kW wireless charging.
But power is not everything and, as this review points out, the L7 has a very sporty road behaviour. It may lack an air suspension like other high-end Chinese competitors have, but – according to the test driver from the video – it feels like a nimble machine despite its size and weight. Speaking of its dimensions, the L7 is 5,098 mm long, which ensures there’s plenty of room in the cabin and enough space for your luggage.
Make sure to check out the video here, there’s a lot more to be said about the tech - including the chassis and rear steering tuned by Williams - interior quality, design, and others.