Hybrids can be accused of several automotive sins depending on your preferences in a car, but ‘lack of power’ usually isn’t one of them.
Family SUV buyers often find the powerplants a perfect fit... strong enough, and with big savings at the bowser.
But, for buyers looking for maximum ‘go’ from their SUVs, the choice (in Australia) has been limited to 'sports' SUVs carrying large turbo-charged diesel V8s and V10s, or growling petrol V8s.
The likes of Range Rover, Porsche and Mercedes-Benz fall onto that list, while BMW’s X5 and X6 M50d models are arguably the best performance SUV compromises with 280kW/740Nm and combined fuel figures as low as 6.6 l/100km.
But these 'grunt trucks' have now got a hybrid competitor - in China at least - called the BYD Tang.
The Tang is powered by a 2.0 litre turbocharged petrol engine making 153kW/320Nm and a pair or electric motors producing 112kW/200Nm each.
In combination, the Tang has a potential maximum output of 377kW and 720Nm. BYD hasn’t quoted an official combined output, and we’re pretty sure that 720Nm won’t be available in one big lump, but the power gauge in the instrument cluster has a maximum reading of 400kW...
The Tang can hit 100km/h from rest in 4.9 seconds and features constant all-wheel-drive.
Even more impressive than the power output is the Tang’s fuel figure - which BYD is more than happy to share - at 2.0 l/100km under Chinese testing regulations.
In fact, BYD is so proud of these numbers it has planted them on the front doors as badges - “5-4-2” (under five seconds 0-100km/h, four-wheel-drive, 2.0 l/100km).
The Tang will launch in the Chinese market with two limited edition models, called the Limited and he Ultimate Limited. Oddly, the Ultimate Limited is actually less exclusive than the Limited with production runs of 200 and 98 units respectively.
The Limited scores red alloy wheels and interior improvements including leather and wood-grain trim, priced from around AU$60,000.
The Ultimate Limited gets the Limited’s improvements while adding a body kit, carbon-fibre inserts, and - amazingly - more power.
BYD hasn’t said exactly how much extra thrust the Ultimate will get, but it’s enough to lower the 0-100km/h time to just 4.4 seconds. The Ultimate Limited is priced from around AU$120,000.
And the news gets better for potential Tang customers. As a hybrid, the new model qualifies for government subsidies that could lower the Limited’s price to around AU$44,000.
While BYD (which stands for ‘Build Your Dreams’) currently deals in electric buses and renewable energy in Australia, we don’t expect the Tang to be offered here anytime soon.
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