Driving report: Nio EL7: Next please!

The talking ball apparently ate a clown for breakfast.

Driving report: Nio EL7: Next please!

The talking ball apparently ate a clown for breakfast. When asked to tell a joke, Nomi doesn't have to be asked twice: "Mom, I have a five in German." "We learned together." "That's right." But the digital assistant with the new Nio Crossover EL7 learned and is based on the colloquial language. After the obligatory request: Hey Nomi, the answer follows: "I'm all ears." However, the speech recognition for the German car manufacturers is still missing a bit. If the navigation command is still carried out without any problems, it hooks up with the request for a seat-precise massage (also from the passenger seat).

At some point, Nomi had had enough of us and completely quit the service. Except for the directional information and the warning if you are driving too fast. Thank God there is still the 12.8-inch tablet, on which you can also enter commands manually. As soon as you scroll through the digital menus, you will notice some useful functions. For example, even after leaving the vehicle, you can set the air conditioning so that it continues to work and the pet feels comfortable when you want to drop off a package quickly. The Chinese BEV-SUV has other conveniences at hand: if you convert the passenger seat into a comfortable bed, the air conditioning system lets the air circulate and keeps the temperature at a comfortable level. For camping traditionalists, the standard trailer hitch can be extended and a trailer weighing up to two tons can be towed.

When it comes to assistance systems, the Chinese leave nothing to be desired. The auto pilot moves the 4.91 meter long e-crossover independently longer than the German competition, but is very defensive. Anyone who likes to park in the third person is presented with a view at the touch of a button in which they can see the car from the outside, like in a video game. You can also make yourself comfortable in the second row, enjoy films on the iPad and listen to the 23 speakers with a thousand watts of sound. An acoustic Garden of Eden for fans of the British heavy metal band Motörhead. So that you really feel at home, a large panoramic sunroof, which with an opening width of 70.7 centimeters even gives you a bit of a Targa feeling, envelops the interior in natural light.

Incidentally, the interior is almost identical to that of the sedan. The virtual instruments are on a 10.2-inch monitor and a head-up display helps with navigation. However, the Nio version of the windshield pilot has no flying arrows like in a Mercedes. So that we don't misunderstand each other, the graphics are completely sufficient, only Nio sets the bar so high in infotainment that this is just noticeable. The seats are comfortable and the finish is decent, although the center armrest flaps don't lock properly. The fact that the Chinese are constantly learning can be seen in the device for the head display, which was still unlovingly punched into the surface of the dashboard on the ET7. Now this is processed more cleanly, also because the softer surface is closer to the recess.

The Nio EL7 performs well on the road. There is little to complain about, especially when it comes to comfort, which is due to the air spring chassis, which is basically identical to the ET7, but has a spring travel that is 3.4 centimeters longer. This goes hand in hand with five different adjustable levels (-50 mm / -25 mm / -15 mm / 0 mm / 40 mm) and height regulation when getting in and out and when loading. If desired, the EL7 can stretch its legs with the "passing aid" mode. There are also programs for snow, sand, wet conditions and when towing a trailer. As with the ET7, the all-wheel drive consists of an electric motor at the front with 180 kW / 245 hp and an electric motor at the rear with 300 kW / 408 hp. The bottom line is the crisp 480 kW / 653 hp system performance and a torque of 850 Newton meters. If you let the full power off the leash in Sport mode, the 2,366-kilogram crossover fires from zero to 100 km/h in 3.9 seconds and continues to storm up to 200 km/h. With this approach you are one of the alpha animals on German autobahns. Especially since the EL7 is only two seconds slower in the sport driving program.

But even in the normal and eco settings, you can drive the Nio quickly if necessary, even if the acceleration is much more moderate. Thanks to the equal axle load distribution, there is joy on the country road. Distinguished driving dynamics experts will complain that the improved steering is still not a model student in terms of directness and communicativeness, the front end leans when changing direction quickly and the SUV pushes over the front wheels when cornering ambitiously, which is probably a consequence of the mounted 21-inch winter tires . Nevertheless, the Nio EL7 does not need to hide from the Teutonic top dogs. If you really want to, you can also take the EL 7 off-road or use the up to 1,545 liter trunk to move. With the 100 kilowatt hour battery, distances of up to 479 km are also possible (WLTP / with the 20-inch models up to 509 km). The EL7 does not cover itself with glory when it comes to direct current charging: With a maximum of 126 kW, it takes 40 minutes for the batteries to be filled from ten to 80 percent

With the 21-inch tyres, Nio specifies 23.0 kWh/100 km as the WLTP average consumption. During our test drive, which also took us over fast motorways and country roads, we came up with 24.9 kWh/100 km. The Nio need not fear comparison with other e-crossovers, but the time for special offers is also over for the Chinese. Without the battery, the well-equipped Nio EL7 costs 73,900 euros. If you buy the 75-kilowatt-hour battery, another 12,000 euros will be due, and the large 100-kWh battery will cost 21,000 euros. However, it is not possible to change the battery with a purchase. To do this, you have to rent the energy storage for 169 euros/month (75 kWh) or 289 euros/month (100 kWh). If you want to have an entire Nio EL7 as a subscription, you have to pay 1,669 euros per month (flexible subscription, term of at least one month) or 1,299 euros/month with a fixed term of 36 months. However, this rate includes extras such as fully comprehensive insurance (500 euros excess), a service package with maintenance, winter tires, registration and rental car as well as 1,250 free kilometers per month.