Passing through Norway, landing ground for Chinese manufacturers in Europe, Maxime Fontanier pushes the door of the showrooms that have recently opened in Oslo. After Nio and Voyah, he is interested in Xpeng, trying out the high-end P7 Performance electric sedan.
Between the Model 3 and the Model S
Readers criticize us for making regular comparisons with Tesla when we present an electric car from another brand. The American manufacturer is an essential historical reference on the electric market, whether we like its productions or not. With the Xpeng P7, we will make an even closer connection, so much this Chinese electric sedan plays with Tesla codes.
With its footprint of 4.88 x 1.90 m for a height of 1.45 m, it fits between the Model 3 (4.69 x 1.85 x 1.44 m) and the Model S ( 4.97 x 1.96 x 1.45m). Coated in red, the Xpeng P7 Wing Edition that we test receives X-wing doors in the elytron.
” In terms of style, this electric car is very original. It has a very clean line with an aerodynamic coefficient close to that of a Tesla Model 3 “, compares Maxime Fontanier. The face of the machine is crossed out with a fully LED optical line, and its roof is topped with panoramic glass.
Integral motor skills
As standard, the Xpeng P7 Performance is based on 19-inch alloy wheels shod with Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires in 245/45. In this version, this large electric sedan from the Chinese brand founded in 2014 has all-wheel drive. And this, thanks to 2 synchronous motors with permanent magnets which offer a cumulative power of 316 kW (430 horsepower), for a maximum torque of 655 Nm. Enough to perform the exercise from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.5 seconds . Against 3.3 s for the Tesla Model 3 Performance.
Powering the motorization: an NMC (nickel manganese cobalt) lithium-ion pack with an energy capacity of 80 kWh. To supply it with energy at home or at a public alternating current terminal, the Xpeng P7 Performance has an 11 kW charger.
In DC stations, it will be necessary to be satisfied with a power of less than 100 kW via the Combo CCS connector. We imagine that this value, low compared to the competition, is a desire to preserve the longevity of the battery. The latter, however, benefits from an internal temperature management system, with possible preheating before starting charging.
A bit sparse trunk
Like the Tesla Model 3, the Xpeng P7 is a 4-door sedan. It therefore does not have a tailgate. This plays negatively on the practicality and the volume of the trunk. It actually offers only 440 liters which hide behind a rather narrow access. For breakdown assistance, the bench seat back can be folded down in 2 parts. Due to a lack of height, this slight modularity will not, however, allow small furniture or certain household appliances to be loaded so easily.
No double bottom due to the presence of the lithium-ion pack there. Are the charging cables therefore doomed to wander around in this trunk? No, not necessarily, due to the presence of a 66 l frunk under the front hood. This space is wide without being too deep. It will also occasionally isolate, for example, some foodstuffs or delicate objects.
Passengers seated in the back
The wheelbase of 3 m will especially benefit passengers who will sit in the back of the Xpeng P7. If they will already benefit from space to accommodate the knees without constraint, the presence of the panoramic glass fairing frees up generous headroom. The buttocks are a little low, however. With only 2 people, the elbow width is also very good.
A third can be inserted in the middle, despite a service tunnel which, without being too bulky, is still quite high. The armrest with cup holders that retracts to this location in the backrest is sufficiently padded to provide this guest with satisfactory comfort.
Notice that the upholstery is covered in real leather. The massive backrests of the front seats somewhat hinder visibility on the road. The well-finished door panels are covered with soft materials and a line of LED lighting. For the atmosphere on board, 14 loudspeakers are distributed throughout the cabin, including at the level of the driver’s head restraint.
The driver’s point of view
The electric scissor doors on the Xpeng P7 are undoubtedly pretty, but not really practical for getting behind the wheel. Note that they are equipped with sensors to avoid shocks. We also imagine that many motorists may be upset by the camera placed just behind the steering wheel, facing the driver. Appearing less intrusive, the one installed in the Tesla at the level of the interior mirror is more discreet.
Two digital screens are installed in a row on the P7: 15 inches for the infotainment system + 10 inches for the instrumentation. Even if the latter is absent on the Model 3, the whitish background of the 2 tablets still recalls the universe of the American manufacturer. More complete, this set makes a lot of information more readable, including the instantaneous speed and GPS instructions.
The finish at the front is also decent, with the use of upholstered materials. The hard parts are not in contact with the occupants, in particular at the level of the knees. Only the plastics under the big screen look a bit cheap. This does not prevent our tester from finding the driving position “very good”.
“Widely in line with European standards”
Induction charger, cup holders, power outlets (USB and 12 V) and numerous storage spaces including a deep hatch under the central armrest are available to passengers seated in the front of the Xpeng P7. With a well-made cartography, the GPS benefits from a correct fluidity of use. However, the multimedia system is not compatible with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
The screen allows you to select a driving mode from the choices Standard, Sport, Eco and Stable. In any case, and without a paddle on the steering wheel to play on its power, the regeneration seemed too light to us. She is absent in Sport. Even in Eco, where it is most present, it is too limited and will not go so far as to immobilize the vehicle without using the brake pedal.
The modes also affect the feel of the steering and the controlled suspensions. ” In the end, we find the universe of a Tesla, but with improved ergonomics, a finish that is very neat and that is largely in European standards », assesses Maxime Fontanier.
New reference to Tesla with the small lever to the right of the steering wheel which serves as a gear selector. Maneuvers are facilitated by a 360 degree view. Xpeng developing autopilot capabilities, the P7 is surrounded by 14 cameras, 12 sensors and 5 radars. With 11.7 m, the turning circle is not exceptional. However, it is within the standards for a car of the size of this electric sedan. The steering shows rather soft and light.
Note reflections of the dashboard in the windshield. Visibility to the front and rear is a bit narrow. Fortunately, to compensate, the exterior mirrors and feedback from the detection systems are effective. Even when driving, it is possible to obtain images from the cameras on the central screen. Our tester, on the other hand, points to the lack of a wiper on the rear window.
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The Xpeng P7 knows how to accelerate in a muscular way to take its place on expressways and highways. The cruise control is managed in the same way as on a Tesla. The Chinese electric sedan handles line keeping well. During our test, it reminded after 5 seconds, by a visual and noiseless alert, that the driver must keep his hands on the steering wheel.
With correct soundproofing, road and air noise appear from 120 km/h. The controlled suspensions provide good comfort on board. ” It’s less firm than a Tesla “, opposes the man with the cap.
On the other hand, the P7 is a little more greedy than a Model 3, with consumption around 18.5 kWh / 100 km while traveling at 110 km / h. Which remains reasonable for a car of this length and which weighs 2.13 tonnes empty. The American in the Performance version is favored by its 1,836 kg. Thus, it will be possible to achieve a little over 400 km on a full recharge. The consumption figures can climb to 24 kWh/100 km by tickling the machine a little more sportingly.
In Sport mode to approach a succession of turns, the Xpeng P7 strengthens its suspensions. The chassis has a double wishbone at the front and a multi-link system at the rear. ” It doesn’t roll too much, that’s not bad. On the other hand, the direction remains quite light “says the auto journalist.
With Brembo calipers up front, braking efficiency is reassuring. Overall, the machine is well balanced. Which is hardly surprising with a fairly low body. Good surprise for fans of the genre, the P7 knows how to be playful and slip a little from the rear in a squeal of tires when heckled. ” It’s pleasant “, admits Maxime Fontanier who admits to being impressed by this Chinese electric car.
” It is undoubtedly the best current competitor of the Tesla Model 3, perhaps with the Polestar “, he translates.
On the Norwegian market, the Xpeng P7 Performance is displayed at a price similar to that of the Tesla Model 3 Performance: 53,200 euros, against 53,500 for the American. However, the model that we tested benefits from a superior endowment which includes in particular the famous front doors in elytron. Which means that with an equivalent finish and a close list of equipment, the Chinese sedan will be cheaper.
It also exists in a Long Range Propulsion version, offered at 46,000 euros, when the long-range Model 3 requires 49,500 euros. The entry-level 60 kWh small-battery Xpeng will be even more competitive against its rival.
As a reminder, electric cars are not subject to tax in Norway, while French motorists will also have to pay 20% VAT, and possibly deduct a government bonus which depends on the price level.
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