Driving report: HiPhi X: Range Rover from the future

Human Horizons tries to nip any comparisons with Tesla in the bud, but the luxury SUV HiPhi X in particular can hardly overplay the parallels to the large Tesla crossover.

Driving report: HiPhi X: Range Rover from the future

Human Horizons tries to nip any comparisons with Tesla in the bud, but the luxury SUV HiPhi X in particular can hardly overplay the parallels to the large Tesla crossover. This is not only due to its dimensions, the model name and the vehicle class, but especially to the door concept, because this is even more spectacular with the HiPhi X than with its American competitor. The mighty gullwing doors had caused the Tesla Model X a lot of problems at the market launch, delayed the start of series production and even company boss Elon Musk later admitted that he had underestimated the complexity of the upward-opening rear entrances. The HiPhi X goes one step further, because the doors, which open electrically in opposite directions, are already familiar from the sporty limousine coupé Z. But with the X, not only do the doors for the second row open against the direction of travel, but a kind of roof hatch can also be opened unfold above.

The show effect is great, the practical use is manageable. But Human Horizons doesn't just see the whole thing as a show effect. "Rather, it's much easier to get in that way," explains Mark Stanton, CTO and co-founder of Human Horizons, "for example, if a woman with a hat or high heels wants to get in the back." Spent 40 years with the two car manufacturers Ford and Jaguar Land Rover. Now he is one of the mainstays of the HiPhi models, which are already number one in the premium electric market in China. "First of all, we are fast and can accelerate decisions and processes in a way that would never have been possible at JLR, for example," explains the Briton, "that was something completely new for me when it changed in 2018."

Before joining Human Horizons, CEO Ding Lei was responsible for General Motors' China business and brought other top management people from his former US employer with him to the new company, which recently relocated from Shanghai to Qing Dao. The first two models, HiPhi X and HiPhi Z, have been on the road in China for some time - now the two spectacular-looking electric models from the Munich company headquarters are intended to stir up the European premium competition. Expectations for the luxurious HiPhi X are particularly high until next spring when the luxury SUV HiPhi Y, which celebrates its premiere in China in mid-July, rolls out. Mark Stanton: “The HiPhi X has established itself as the best-selling luxury electric car in China . Now, for the first time, European customers have the opportunity to find out why these vehicles are such a phenomenal success. this launch in two markets is a perfect starting point for expanding our activities across the continent, with the aim of covering the main European countries by 2027.”

The X design is hardly less eye-catching than the Taycan competitor HiPhi Z and Mark Stanton sees it as a real supercar SUV not only because of its engine performance. With the 5.20 meter long SUV, the customer can choose between rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive, most with 220 kW / 299 hp or 440 kW / 598 hp. The 123,000-euro noble version HiPhi X with four individual seats sprints with all-wheel drive and thanks to 820 Nm maximum torque in an impressive 3.9 seconds from a standing start to 100 km/h. The noise level is minimal even when sprinting at full throttle thanks to the drag coefficient of 0.27 and up The 14.6-inch display behind the steering wheel, which is quite confusing, makes the km/h figures fly by. With its 97 kWh battery pack, ranges of 460 kilometers should be possible before the gullwing has to go back to the charging station. The Chinese can charge for another 200 kilometers in 20 minutes. However, despite the lush engine power, it is limited at 205 km/h.

The comfort seats at the front and rear are a real show. So far, only concept studies have been equipped with such chairs. Human Horizons has brought the comfort chairs of the future to a series model and the rear passengers can enjoy them not only because of the 3.15 meter long wheelbase. The seats are adjusted via a hidden bar of controls in the door. There is a fridge with cup holders between the leather armchairs. Those who prefer to use the touchscreens in the middle between the rear seats can do so, as can the driver, who can also move the seating furniture from the front via the central 16.9-inch screen. There is also an electronic rear-view mirror, a 12.8-inch head-up display and a 19.9-inch entertainment screen for the front passenger, on which he can watch films or surf the web in maximum resolution. Because the HiPhi X is completely networked and offers every imaginable comfort from separate rear air conditioning and massage on the air-conditioned nappa leather chairs. If the four individual seats are not enough for family trips, you can also opt for the six-seater. For 109,000 euros there is a little less business lounge atmosphere in the rear and two more seats in row three. The cargo space is tiny at 317 liters, while the loading utensils find space in the 29-liter frunk.

The chassis of the almost 2.7 ton HiPhi X is comfortable, but anything but soft. Even if the steering responds somewhat artificially, you quickly get used to the decoupled overall package, while the rear wheels of the all-wheel steering, which can turn by up to five degrees, ensure that the colossus does not lose its maneuverability when parking. The turning circle is reduced to 11.6 meters despite the mighty 22-inch wheels. Electronically controlled dampers and air suspension, which adjust variably according to the selected drive program, provide the necessary comfort. Everything is networked via 562 sensors on six computer platforms and can be updated at any time. Also on board: an extensive range of driver assistance systems. The fact that, as with the HiPhi Z, the LED light islands can also be variably programmed in the crossover or that the luxury model can be operated largely by voice is little more than a side effect intended to underline the big appearance. And the HiPhi X definitely has that.