It's super powerful, super impressive and can drive in water. It's the YangWang U8, an electric SUV from BYD's premium brand.

The U8, which will only be available in China from October 2024, combines a look similar to the Land Rover Defender when equipped with the Premium Edition and Off-Road Master Edition packages, depending on whether you prefer a more luxurious model or want one for off-road use. In either case, however, it is difficult to go unnoticed.

The U8 is 5.32 metres long, 2.05 metres wide and 1.93 metres high. This makes its dimensions comparable to those of a Defender 130, although the passenger compartment only offers five seats and the unladen weight of 3,460 kg remains just under the 3.5 tonnes required for a suitable driving licence.

Yangwang U8 Premium Edition

Yangwang U8 Premium Edition

This is also due to the complex plug-in hybrid drivetrain with range extender. In practice, the turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine is only used to power the 49 kWh LFP battery from BYD, which enables a purely electric range of 112 miles in the CLTC cycle and a total range (including 75 litres of petrol) of up to 621 miles.

The vehicle is powered by four electric motors, one on each wheel, with a total output of 1,200 PS and 1,280 Nm. This allows the big lump to sprint from 0 to 62 mph in 3.6 seconds, while the top speed is limited to 124 mph.

Yangwang U8 Premium Edition

Yangwang U8 Premium Edition

The car can be charged with up to 110 kW to get from 30 to 80 per cent in 18 minutes. But in addition to its powerful electric configuration, the Yangwang features a wealth of technologies.

The high-tech centrepiece of the U8 is the Nvidia Drive Oric SoC with a computing power of 508 TOPS. In addition, 38 sensors, 3 LiDAR, 13 cameras and 12 ultrasonic radars support the various assistance systems.

Apart from the on-board equipment, which includes a 23.6-inch screen for the instrument cluster, a 12.8-inch screen for the infotainment and a 23.6-inch screen for the front passenger, the sensors are very useful in the unprecedented "Float" emergency mode.

As a result the Yangwang can ford rivers and streams up to 140 mm high if you opt for the Off-Road Master Edition with snorkel.

In an emergency, the car can go into the water and swim by activating an automatic safety procedure. In these situations, the heating motor is switched off, the chassis reaches its maximum height, the windows are lowered and the panoramic roof is opened. The car travels up to 2 mph in the water and can turn on itself, and thanks to the cameras that are constantly in operation, the circumstances are monitored.

Yangwang itself strongly advises against 'playing' with this mode by driving the car into a river or lake because once activated it is necessary to take the car to a service centre to check that everything is in order.

As already mentioned, the U8 will initially only be offered in China, with a starting price of 1,098,000 RMB, which corresponds to around £120,000 at today's exchange rate.

Gallery: 2024 BYD Yangwang U8 Premium Edition