New BYD Seal: UK specs announced ahead of 2023 launch
The Seal is a new electric family saloon with up to 523bhp and UK deliveries are due before the end of 2023
BYD has confirmed full details of its new Tesla Model 3 and Hyundai Ioniq 6 rival, the Seal. Destined to arrive in UK dealers in the second half of this year, with deliveries before the end of 2023, the European-spec Seal will have a choice of power outputs, including a dual-motor configuration with 523bhp.
The four-door model will sit at the top of BYD’s growing UK line-up, positioned above the existing Atto 3 and the Dolphin hatchback, which should go on sale in late summer. It uses the same e-platform 3.0 as those vehicles, equipped with BYD’s lithium-iron phosphate (LPF) battery chemistry and its patented ‘blade’ layout, which does away with conventional packs and modules and integrates the cells into the car’s structure.
The Seal will be available in two specifications. There’s a real-wheel-drive edition with a single motor producing 308bhp – enough for a 0-62mph time of 5.9 seconds. This car has an 82kWh battery that can deliver 354 miles of range on the WLTP test cycle.
The range-topping Seal looks set to take on higher-powered Tesla Model 3s, as well as a future N-badged version of the Ioniq 6. It has two motors for four-wheel drive and a combined output of 523bhp, and can reach 62mph in 3.8 seconds. Its battery capacity is slightly reduced, at 80kWh, and its range drops as a result of this and the extra performance, to 323 miles.
Both versions of the Seal get 150kW DC charging that can take the battery from 30 to 80 per cent of its capacity in 26 minutes. A heat pump is standard on all versions, along with three-phase 11kW AC charging.
Inside, the Seal features an even larger version of BYD’s infotainment display – 15.6 inches – but engineers have kept the rotating function seen on the Atto 3, so the screen can move between portrait and landscape layouts. The car has space for five adults, with a wheelbase that’s just over five centimetres longer than a Tesla Model 3’s, and just three centimetres shorter than the Ioniq 6’s. The boot capacity is 402 litres, and there’s an additional 53-litre ‘frunk’ beneath the bonnet.
The Seal is expected to arrive in UK showrooms shortly after the BYD Dolphin. There’s no word yet on prices or specs, but we’d expect it to get close to the Model 3’s starting figure of around £41,000. The dual-motor Seal could conceivably breach the £50k mark in top trim, although even at the figure, it would have the potential to outgun the peak Ioniq 6 on power, equipment and battery capacity.
Will BYD have rivals in a flap? Can the Seal be a Tesla killer in Europe? Have your say in the comments...