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Who is Xiaomi? The Chinese smartphone giant who's debut car sold out in 24 hours

By Mathilda Bartholomew | April 4, 2024

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The SU7, the debut electric vehicle from Xiaomi boasts an impressive range of over 500 miles and a sub three-second 0-62mph time

Who is Xiaomi? The Chinese smartphone giant who's debut car sold out in 24 hours

You might be familiar with Xiaomi as one of the top players in the smartphone industry worldwide. But now, this Chinese electronics powerhouse is venturing into the automotive realm, aiming to succeed where even Apple couldn't.

Last week in China, Xiaomi, unveiled its debut car, the SU7, causing quite a stir.

Despite being a newcomer to the automotive scene, the company saw a massive influx of orders for this electric sedan, rivalling the Tesla Model 3 in size and undercutting it in price.

Within minutes of opening pre-orders, 10,000 eager customers jumped on board, with the tally soaring to 50,000 in just 27 minutes and nearly hitting 90,000 by day's end.

This overwhelming response means those who put down a 5,000-yuan (£545) deposit will have to wait up to seven months to get behind the wheel, with deliveries starting later this month.

The SU7 line-up, comprising the Standard and Pro versions, offers different delivery timelines ranging from 18 to 30 weeks, depending on the model.

Boasting electric motors developed in-house, the SU7 promises impressive driving ranges of up to 515 miles and is built on cutting-edge technology sourced from CATL or BYD.

Xiaomi SU7: Pricing

Manufactured by China's BAIC, Xiaomi has set competitive pricing for the SU7. In China, the standard model starts at 219,900 Yuan (approximately £24,000 in the UK), while the Pro is priced at 245,900 Yuan (about £27,000), and the Max at 299,900 Yuan (roughly £34,000).

Xiaomi's UK launch timeline remains uncertain. However, if the model were to be exported here, consumers should anticipate higher prices due to potential tariffs on Chinese electric cars.

Xiaomi SU7: A Closer Look

The SU7 comes in three versions, each equipped with different batteries. The standard model boasts a 73.6kWh unit, offering an impressive 434-mile range on the CLTC test. Powered by a single electric motor, it delivers a robust 294bhp and 400Nm of torque, propelling the car from 0 to 62mph in just 5.3 seconds and reaching a top speed of 130mph.

Stepping up to the mid-range Pro version, you get a larger 94.3kWh battery, providing the longest range of any SU7 at 515 miles. Despite a slightly slower 0-62mph time of 5.7 seconds, it matches the standard model's top speed.

The range-topping SU7 Max features a 101kWh battery and a dual-motor setup for all-wheel drive. With a total power output of 664bhp and 838Nm of torque, it sprints from 0 to 62mph in a blistering 2.78 seconds. However, its range decreases to 497 miles due to the added weight of the extra electric motor. 

Xiaomi claims rapid charging capabilities, with drivers able to add up to 217 miles of range in just five minutes or 317 miles in 15 minutes at the right charging points.

Xiaomi SU7: Interior & Tech

The Xiaomi SU7, true to its smartphone roots, features a substantial central screen. Sporting a generous 16.1-inch size with 3K resolution, it runs Xiaomi's HyperOS infotainment system, offering a multitasking interface for maps, music, and driver assistance widgets. Despite Xiaomi's competition with Apple, the SU7 supports Apple CarPlay connectivity.

For those who prefer a more tactile experience, physical controls and a volume dial can be attached or detached beneath the screen. The dashboard is complemented by a 7.1-inch digital instrument panel and a head-up display.

CEO Lei Jun highlighted the spacious rear cabin, surpassing that of the Model S or BMW 5 Series. Rear passengers enjoy mounts for Xiaomi tablets, seamlessly integrating them into the car's infotainment system. Front seats feature active side bolstering for cornering support, while the centre console houses a removable flashlight and hooks for convenience.

While offering 517 liters of boot space, slightly less than the BMW 5 Series, the SU7 compensates with an additional 105 liters of storage under the bonnet, aptly named the 'frunk'.

Xiaomi SU7: Exterior & Design

Leading the design team at Xiaomi's EV division is Tianyuan Li, who previously worked as a senior designer at BMW and contributed to the distinctive BMW iX.

In our view, the front end of the SU7 bears resemblance to McLaren's high-performance supercars like the 750S, with its sleek headlight shape and rounded nose.

The sloping roofline and subtle rear haunches evoke the style of the Porsche Taycan, while the rear end, featuring a full-width light bar, mirrors that of the BYD Seal. The SU7 offers three wheel sizes: 19, 20, and 21 inches.

During the launch, Xiaomi introduced six new exterior paint options. 

Additionally, the SU7 comes equipped with an integrated LiDAR sensor positioned at the top of the windscreen, akin to those found in top-tier vehicles like the Volvo EX90, Polestar 3, and Lotus Emeya. This sensor, along with multiple cameras and other sensors situated around the car, works in tandem to provide data for Xiaomi's Pilot autonomous driving technology.

Despite facing tough competition in China's EV market, Xiaomi's strategic marketing has clearly paid dividends, establishing its presence in the fiercely competitive automotive industry.

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