This is the new BYD Qin hybrid – pronounced ‘chin’. It’s the latest offering from the Chinese manufacturer and a performance-hybrid intended to target key world markets, with sales set to begin in China first, before branching out to Europe and the rest of the world in 2015 - probably after being rebadged.
It’s powered by a 151bhp 1.5-litre petrol engine, which is twinned with a 148bhp electric motor. When combined these two power sources produce 291bhp, which means the Qin is capable of hitting 62mph in 5.9 seconds (as fast as the new SEAT Leon Cupra) and continue onto a top speed of 115mph. Fuel consumption is as equally impressive with BYD claiming a return of 177mpg.
The Qin is badged as a PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) and can be recharged from a standard household socket. In purely electric mode, it’s able to cover a distance of up to 44 miles – BYD claims this to be almost twice the distance of its other PHEV competitors. Regenerative braking is also used to help further increase the electric range.
Four driving modes are also offered, which can be selected on demand by the driver. V+ECO, EV+SPORT, HEV+ECO and HEV+SPORT all vary power output helping conserve electricity at low speeds and delivering maximum performance for faster motorway driving.
Inside, standard kit includes a 12.1-inch TFT instrument panel, smart key system and a unique remote driving facility, allowing the car to be manoeuvred remotely at very low speed from the outside of the vehicle.
Initial prices in China start from the equivalent of just £19,645 and rise to £21,715, before any EV grant. BYD is also currently developing petrol, hybrid and purely electric models, which will make their way to Europe in early 2015.