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New XPeng G6 2024 review: China's answer to the Tesla Model Y

XPeng's G6 is the Chinese brand's first Tesla Model Y and Hyundai Ioniq 5 rival, and easily the car-maker's most capable offering yet

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4.0 out of 5

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Verdict

The XPeng G6 has a lot resting on its curvy shoulders. The first car to spearhead the Chinese brand's expansion to the UK, it's the G6's job to put a sizeable dent in Tesla Model Y sales. And it’s impressive; from its super-fast charging, decent range, intuitive and easy-to-use infotainment, to its punchy performance, the new mid-size all-electric SUV is as capable as they come. Sure, it might miss some of Tesla's dynamic sparkle, but if the emerging XPeng can deliver on its promise of cut-throat pricing, we think the all-new G6 could be a winner.

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It feels like not a single week passes without yet another Chinese brand declaring grand ambitions to conquer the world. Many sink without a trace but XPeng feels like it might be the real thing. Founded just ten years ago, the brand has already launched five vehicles and, by the end of 2024, will be on sale in 50 per cent of all European markets, as well as the UK.

The XPeng G6 is the car that arrives here first, and just the mere details of this mid-size all-electric SUV last year was enough to lure the mighty Volkswagen Group to plough a cool half a billion in the company for a modest 5 per cent slice of the action.

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It's easy to see why. Underpinning the Tesla Model Y or Hyundai Ioniq 5 alternative is the brand's sparkling new SEPA 2.0 architecture and it's a formidable building block that gives the G6 the edge over its rivals.

In short, the new platform provides the G6 with some of the fastest charging in the business, regardless of price, and helps it deliver decent levels of efficiency. In the near future the platform will help XPeng lead its class for autonomous driving but, crucially, its low-cost design will help the brand undercut rivals for price.

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In the metal, the G6 picks up where the bigger G9 SUV we drove last year, and P5 and P7 saloons left off, with smooth pebble-like styling combined with a grille that sports active flaps that shut at speed. Hidden door handles, a flat underbelly and a streamlined rakish tail ensure the new XPeng is among the most aerodynamic in its class.

Beneath its smooth coupe-SUV skin, XPeng has developed three powertrains. These are a rear-wheel drive single-motor version with a 66kW battery that produces 255bhp and can cover up to 270 miles, a Long Range rear-drive model with a bigger 87.5kWh battery that musters 282bhp and has a range of up to 354 miles and a flagship dual-motor version that uses the same long-range powerpack but pumps out 469bhp and travels up to 342 miles before it needs topping up.

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All of those figures are recorded on the slightly artificial Euro WLTP test cycle but are claimed to be easily repeatable in the real-world thanks to the G6's efficiency.

Performance for all three models are on par with its rivals. The entry model, called the RWD Standard can launch from 0-62mph in 6.9 seconds, the mid-spec RWD Long Range a couple of tenths quicker (6.7sec), while the dual-motor AWD Performance a very respectable 4.1 seconds. All three top out at a limited 124mph top speed.

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Where the XPeng edges cars like the Tesla is for charging speed. Whichever you choose, all three models can be topped up from 10-80 per cent in just 20 minutes. In fact, the more expensive RWD Long Range and AWD Performance can suck up electrons even quicker, with an 18ish-minute charge possible - matching the Hyundai Ioniq 5, with the mid-size SUV even exceeding its pessimistically claimed 280kW peak charging rate thanks to its advanced thermal management of its batteries. 

In the real-world XPeng claims only the significantly more expensive Porsche Taycan is quicker to top-up. Of course, what's missing is the availability of Tesla's wonderful Supercharger network, while a domestic three-phase charging is also limited to just 11kW, rather than the faster 22kW some offer.

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Behind the weird oval-shaped steering wheel the G6 makes a very favourable impression with both the design and quality of its cabin. Ahead of the driver is a neat 10.2-inch digital instrument cluster, plus a powerful 15.0-inch landscape-mounted infotainment that runs a slick operating system built in-house. Both wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard.

Space is plentiful with generous leg and headroom in both the front and rear, the boot is decent at 571 litres, although we do miss having a frunk to stow cables.

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On the move, despite featuring a sophisticated wishbone front and five-link rear suspension the XPeng isn't the best in its class to drive. It’s not quite as agile as a Model Y, while the ride is firm even over the smooth roads we drive - but it's no deal-breaker and only keen drivers will miss extra engagement the Tesla offers.

Making up for the lack of sparkle is the high levels of refinement, there's little whirr from the motors and both wind and road noise are noticeable by their absence.

When it arrives XPeng says all three models will come with just two options - the choice of paint and whether or not you want a tow hook. 

Instead of cashing in on extras, the G6 is loaded with kit that includes a full-length panoramic roof, cabin air filtration system, a powerful 18-speaker sound system, dual wireless phone chargers and 20-inch wheels. As well as being well-equipped the G6 should be good value too, with the brand's bosses promising it will undercut chief rivals like the Model Y.

With that in mind expect the XPeng G6 range to kick off at around £41,000 but for the gap between it to widen with rivals once equipped on a like-for-like basis.

Model:Xpeng G6 AWD Performance
Base price:£53,990
Powertrain:87.5kWh battery, 2x e-motors
Transmission:Single-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
Power:469bhp
0-62mph:4.1 seconds
Top speed:124mph
Range/charging:342 miles/280kW
Size (L/W/H):4,733/1,920/1,650
On sale:October
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