20-ft or 6-meter long sedan fuses modern interior tech with a design based on Chairman Mao’s classic CA770 state car
October 16, 2023 at 13:31
The West, and Western carmakers like Stellantis, are getting nervous about the coming influx of cars from China. But here’s one Chinese car that shouldn’t cause any sleepless nights because its appeal is definitely lost in translation.
The L5 is the flagship of FAW’s Hongqi line, and a direct descendant of the 1960s and 1970s Hongqi limos used to ferry Communists party stars like Chairman Mao around. The front end design with its peaked wings and upright headlights sticks to the design template laid out by the original Hongqi CA72, and the word ‘Hongqi’ is picked out in Chinese script on the trunk lid, apparently in Mao’s handwriting, Car News China reports.
But if Mao would recognize the 20-ft (6 m) L5’s exterior design, he would be left dumbfounded by both the price and the interior technology. The Rolls Royce-rivalling sedan costs a staggering 5,000,000 yuan ($680,000), equivalent to 98 years pay for private sector workers in the less wealthy north east of the country, making it the most expensive Chinese-built car available in the state. It also features a sophisticated triple-screen dashboard display in an interior with definite Bentley overtones.
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Fortunately the interior design, despite the presence of all that digital tech, has as much an eye on tradition as the exterior does – there are plenty of physical buttons both on the console and the two-spoke steering wheel, and a classically-styled circular analog clock located between the two central air vents.
Unlike almost every Chinese car we’ve written about lately, the L5 is not an EV. Under the bonnet is a 4.0-liter V8 engine developing 382 hp (388 PS), which doesn’t seem like much to pull a car that weighs 6,945 lbs (3,150 kg) before you’ve added a chauffeur, personal assistant and owner. But then this is a sedan for cruising slowly (ideally past huge displays of nuclear missiles and thousands of adoring soldiers), not for thrashing through country bends or maxing out (at 137 mph / 220 kmh) on the freeway.