Thursday, 26 May 2016

Meet The Hongqi L5, China's Most Expensive Car

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This big beauty is the Hongqi L5, the most expensive Chinese car. It costs five million yuan or $760,000. HongqiRed Flag, is oldest automaker in China. They are famous for their enormous state limousines and parade cars. The L5 pays respect to this heritage. Design is retro-modern and inspired by the majestic…

Hongqi CA770
… Hongqi CA770 state limousine. The CA770 was manufactured from 1966 to 1981 and only 847 examples were built. All were sold to the Chinese government but today many are in museums and in private hands. The CA770 was powered by a Chrysler-sourced 215 hp 5.6 liter V8 engine.
Hongqi L5
The Hongqi L5 is aimed at billionaire businessmen and super stars who want to show off their being-Chinese credentials. More than any other local brand Hongqi is closely connected with China as a country, and many Hongqi owners are sincerely proud of that.

The Hongqi L5 is part of the Hongqi L-Series. The first car was the gigantic Hongqi L9 parade car which debuted in 2009. It was followed by the Hongqi L7 in 2012 and finally by the Hongqi L5 in 2013. There are three variants of the L5: one for the government, aparade car, and the civilian version.
Hongqi L5
The red flag badge on the front fender. The frame is made of metal and the flag is made of glass.
The Hongqi L5 is a giant car; 5.55 meters long, just over two meters wide, 1.5 meters high, and with a wheelbase of 3.4 meters. To put that into perspective: the currentMercedes-Maybach S-600 is 5.2 meters long. The L5 is also very heavy, even in this non-armored civilian form. It weighs an incredible 3150 kilo, compared with “just” 2390 kilo for the Mercedes.
The engine that has to move all those kilos is a 6.0 liter V12. Sadly it isn’t very strong. Output is 408 horsepower and 550 Newton meter. Gearbox is a six-speed automatic sending power to all four wheels. Hongqi does not specify top speed and acceleration, likely because it isn’t very fast. Fuel consumption is a mystery as well but bet it drinks a lot. Happily, the fuel tank has a capacity of 105 liter.
Hongqi L5
The interior is a work of art rose wood panels and cream white leather. The centrally mounted instrument panel is fully digital and measures 15.3 inches. The lower 8-inch touch screen controls the infotainment and various other functions inducing the air conditioning and satellite navigation.
The inner rim of the steering wheel is for the horn. The secret: you have to pull the rim towards you, instead of pushing it away. The system is a nod to the past again; it was just like that on the CA770.
The logo in the middle of the steering wheel is a golden sunflower. In Chinese symbolism the sunflower stands for long life and good luck. Hongqi has been using the symbol for avery long time. There are also small sunflower logos in the center of the wheels.
Hongqi L5
The rear compartment has all the luxuries a high end Hongqi should have, including 1.1 meters of leg room, beige carpets, and a rear-seat entertainment system with television and a Bose sound system. Interestingly, Hongqi said the L5 is also equipped with a 6-disc CD changer, and that is a real rarity on modern cars!
Hongqi L5
A massive rear end with an endless trunk. Design of the taillights is taken from the shape of traditional Chinese lanterns. Chrome bars on each side of the license plate area are again inspired by the CA770. The characters above the license plate write Hongqi, supposedly in Mao’s handwriting.
Hongqi L5
The imposing front with the the red flag hood ornament on the hood. Design of the heavily chromed grille is a nod to traditional Chinese hand fans and the ultra retro lights are very similar to those on the CA770.
In the marketplace, the Hongqi L5 competes with cars like the Bentley Mulsanne and the Rolls-Royce Ghost. But in reality the L5 doesn’t really compete with anything. It is so unique, so rare, that is has in fact created a class all of its own.

Next up for the venerable Hongqi brand: an SUV, and then a bus.

Tycho de Feijter is a Beijing-based China analyst, specialized in cars and tanks. He is the founder of CarNewsChina.com, the largest portal for news and information about the Chinese auto industry.

Source: www.forbes.com