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BYD’s Yangwang U8 is an SUV that can float in a flash flood

The Yangwang U8 has nearly 1200 hp and can float

BYD / BYD

Okay, so let’s get a few things out of the way. First, if you haven’t heard of BYD, you’re not alone… but you will. BYD is one of the top-selling car companies in China. Second, much like Toyota did with Lexus or Chevrolet did with Cadillac, BYD has created a luxury subsidiary brand to compete in the premium segments with a company called Yangwang. Third, yes, it’s called Yangwang.

With that out of the way, Yangwang’s first production model is a luxury SUV that looks curiously like a Land Rover Defender. But the U8 has a lot more to offer than just a questionable name—it can float on water.

The U8 is 7,628 pounds and can float for 30 minutes

Obviously, a huge selling point, BYD says that the U8’s emergency floatation is just that, for emergencies. It is not meant to be used to forde rivers or traverse lakes and rivers like you’re playing a real-life, modernized version of Oregon Trail. Once the “passively triggered” function is brought into play, Yangwang requires the U8 to be brought back to the factory to ensure there is no water damage and everything is working properly.

However, as the video clip from CarNewsChina shows, the U8 automatically closes all doors and windows while simultaneously opening the sunroof. Thanks to some clever engineering, the U8 can float for up to 30 minutes and, what’s more, can actually sail along that water at up to 1.8 mph by spinning all four of its wheels.

The Yangwang U8 is luxurious as it is versatile

Yangwang U8
BYD / BYD

The U8 is being created to compete with the top dogs from BMW and Mercedes-Benz, and so it has quite a number of opulent features to soothe even the most lavish of tastes. The U8 comes with standard Nappa leather seats, African Sapele wood trim, a 12.8-inch OLED touchscreen infotainment center, and a panoramic sunroof. Dual 23.6-inch screens sit in front of both the driver and passenger, which rivals Mercedes-Benz’s vaunted Hyperscreen. Intelligent voice control, wireless charging, and a 70-inch augmented reality heads-up display complete the package.

The Yangwang U8 makes nearly 1,200 hp

Yangwang U8
Yangwang U8 BYD / BYD

The Yangwang U8 is actually a plug-in hybrid setup. It uses four separate electric motors (one at each wheel) along with a 2.0-liter gas engine to create a total of 1,184 horsepower. The gas engine serves two main purposes. First, it allows the U8’s range to extend to an impressive and anxiety-free 621 miles. The second is that the fossil-fueled motor works as an onboard charger for the battery.

With a price of about $150,000, the Yangwang U8 is not cheap, but with everything it includes, it may end up being something of a value buy. While we don’t know if we will be seeing one of these in the United States any time soon, we’re sure to see many more videos from owners using the Yangwang U8 in all sorts of situations that it is intended, and probably not intended for.

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Lou Ruggieri
A lifelong lover of cars, Lou contributes to Motor Trend, Hot Cars, Auto & Truck Connection, and the PowerAutoMedia Group.
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