Among the many Chinese manufacturers arriving in Europe is HiPhi. We met the Z, its impressive standard bearer.
Advertising on the electric future of Audi which is reflected in the windows, entrance adjacent to that of the Audi Conference Center: nothing seems to be left to chance by HiPhi, which has decided to open the doors of its second showroom in the heart from Munich Airport, land of Audi and BMW. Because it is these premium manufacturers, in addition to Tesla, obviously, that this brand from the Human Horizons group plans to tickle.
A new Chinese manufacturer arrives in Europe: HiPhi
To do this, HiPhi plans to launch, initially, a range of three models called X, Y and Z. An obvious reference to Palo Alto products, especially since these vehicles target identical segments. This is especially the case for the first two SUVs, which are aimed at the Tesla Model Y and Model X with fairly similar definitions. The Z sedan targets the Model S but also a few other electric super sedans like the Audi e-Tron GT. This is what the teams present in the showroom confessed, indicating that an owner of the German sedan would soon be tempted by the HiPhi Z. Because it must be said that this sports sedan puts forward serious arguments to try to to seduce Europeans, even if they could be less sensitive than Chinese customers to the extravagance of its lines.
A concept car interior
So much so that it would leave the impression of having to deal with a concept car close to reality with certain stylistic orientations worthy of science fiction, but also a rather exotic presentation. And this is particularly the case inside with a festival of colors and materials to impress: dashboard and roof lining in Alcantara, Black Piano central console, ambient lighting hidden behind transparent inserts and even holographic Nappa leather upholstery in a snakeskin style… The style department has had carte blanche, but this excess will be up to each individual’s discretion.
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In the driving position there is only a single 15.1-inch central screen where all the information and controls are grouped, with a style inspired by video games. The quality of the display and the responsiveness seem to be there with this panel, which benefits from in-house operating software. Still, the organization of the menus still seems a little cluttered. Like BYD’s system, the screen is mounted on a sophisticated motorized arm. It can thus switch from a portrait to landscape position, and orient itself towards the driver or the passenger depending on who orders a command. So many positions exploited with the HiPhi Show mode, which makes the 23 HP of the Meridian audio system spit out and makes the doors move like Tesla’s Lightshow.
A riot of power, but not in terms of charging
With its reduced peripheral vision and lowered driving position, the HiPhi Z enters the world of GT where the Porsche Taycan and Audi e-Tron GT reign. To touch them, it is equipped with a pair of electric machines for a total power of 672 hp and 410 Nm of torque. However, the 0-100 km/h in 3.8 s, fast in absolute terms, does not appear exceptional. And for good reason, the sedan must tow nearly 2.6 tonnes! One of the reasons? The gigantic CATL battery with 120 kWh gross capacity, which allows the sedan to target a WLTP range of 605 km.
In reality, it should be a little more energy efficient than the e-Tron GT and Taycan. However, much more than the low energy considerations at this level of range, it is the charging system which shows its limits. Because in addition to the basic 400 V architecture, the Z is always associated with a Chinese GB/T port capable of handling a maximum of 140 kW. On paper, it takes more than 55 minutes to reach the 80% mark. Worse still, it is delivered in Europe with an adapter which limits the maximum DC charging power to 85 kW. A far cry from the 270 kW put forward by German competitors, or the 250 kW of the Tesla Model S.
Too optimistic beginnings for HiPhi?
Everything therefore seems a little premature for HiPhi, which intends to rub shoulders with the elite of the segment. However, the brand is not afraid when it comes to pricing policy: the HiPhi Z starts at €105,000 with us! This is barely €3,000 less than the Audi e-Tron GT Quattro with much more advanced technology, and a much greater level of robustness. Because if the Z looks good, the finish seems rather light in places for a car of this price.
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A trait shared with the HiPHi X, the large SUV with multiple doors, which also refuses nothing when signing a check for at least €109,000. The brand will therefore have to wait for the launch of the HiPhi Y to try to find a place in Europe. But even if this appears to be more in line with market expectations, it seems quite unlikely that the manufacturer will be able to tickle the established benchmarks.
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