The VW Lamando 5XL Looks Like a Glitch In The Matrix
Issuing time:2022-09-26 20:00
What is it?
The Lamando 5XL is what happens when a group of very skilled and very determined people decide to take a manufacturer at their word. When the first generation of Volkswagen Lamando debuted, the company described it as a “wide body sedan,” referring to the spacious interior, not the fender flares. Customers, however, didn't feel it was especially wide. That's why YiChe Garage decided, “Hey, if Volkswagen's not going to give the people the wide body sedan that they want, then we'll do it for them.”
CTRL+V, CTRL+V, CTRL+V, CTRL+V
The result of their efforts is something that looks like someone highlighted the front of the Lamando L and then hit CTRL+V, CTRL+V, CTRL+V, CTRL+V, until it was nearly three meters in width. This was accomplished quite simply; the team just cut a Lamando L in half, and then stuck another Lamando L in between.
They tried to mimic the original styling of the car, both front and rear, but in most cases, the results would only pass muster from 5-10m away. Up front, the LED lighting has been swapped out for a simple piece of black plastic. While in the rear, it was partially covered with a large piece of black plastic, likely to obscure what are probably some ugly cut lines. It’s not all plastic, however, the lower grill is actually cut from a single sheet of metal. The original light-up logo of Lamando L has been replaced with the logo of YiChe Garage, no doubt to avoid any legal entanglements.
There isn’t much to discuss about the side of the Lamando 5XL, because it is identical to the original. That’s one of the keys to creating the sense of amazement that comes from walking around the car and watching it reveal its true width. The sedan is still a liftback, but despite the use of acrylic instead of real glass (custom glass is surprisingly expensive, so we’ll forgive them for cutting corners), the rear hatch is incredibly heavy, requiring multiple people to lift. Rear cargo space, unsurprisingly, is world-beating.
It just keeps going, and going, and going….
If you thought sitting inside the Lamando 5XL would be any less disconcerting than seeing it from the outside, you are sorely mistaken. Everything left of the transmission tunnel is essentially the same, including the digital instrument cluster and 12-inch infotainment screen. Everything to the right of the tunnel is a random combination of aftermarket screens (two of them) and the bench seats from a cargo van (probably a Jinbei).
As with the Big EV 6x6, a surprising number of functions are still operational in this project car. Well, perhaps “operational” is a strong term. The air conditioning still blows cold, but only on the driver’s side. The instrument cluster still works, but viewing it requires you to cancel about a dozen error messages every time you start the car. The infotainment screen does turn on, but then it immediately switches to the rearview camera. The two additional screens are operated via a mouse, and only seem capable of displaying images. There’s a fine line between “functioning” and “functional” and this car rides it like a razors edge.
It seems that much more effort was made in the second row, where a pair of (nearly) color-matched seats has been installed to the fill the gap. They even have the same red stitching as the original seats. Knee and legroom remain the same, but shoulder room is to die for.
Opening the engine bay of the Lamando 5XL is, thankfully, much easier than opening the trunk. Doing so reveals the same 1.4L turbocharged 4-cylinder and 7-speed DSG transmission as the standard Lamando L, just pushed completely to the right side of the engine compartment. The left side is occupied by large brace, likely to keep the two halves of the car from falling apart.
We weren’t able to drive the 5XL on the streets of Beijing, since it is impossible to put a license plate on such a vehicle. Instead, we drove it on a small race track, where we were given explicit instructions not to drive it over 30 km/h. Being told you can only lap a race track at 30 km/h would normal be cause for disappointment, but all we felt at the news was relief. Frankly, we were expecting it to be 20 km/h.
Due to the additional metal, the 5XL had some serious NVH issues, something that wasn’t helped by the poorly sealed acrylic windows. Wind noise was very high, even at a modest 30 km/h. What truly concerned us, though, was the noises we couldn’t identify. With every “clunk” and “clang,” we were sure the 5XL was about to fall to pieces.
Due to the fact that the engine and right front tire are now located in different counties, the 5XL is one-wheel drive, like a golf cart. This could cause some serious problem at higher speeds, but it wasn’t much of an issue at the speeds we were driving. Our brief stint behind the wheel was enough to give us an idea of what it’s like to drive a car this wide, and the answer is, mind-bending. Taking a lefthand turn in the 5XL feels quite normal, but your whole perception of reality changes when it comes time to turn right. Your brain begins to unravel as the dashboard keeps going, and going, and going. It’s a unique experience, to say the least.
We spent an entire day with the Lamando 5XL, and it blew our minds every time we glanced at it. Looking into its broad grin will convince you that you’re either blind or drunk. Is it somewhat lacking when it comes to execution? Absolutely, but there’s something to be said for being able to drive a photoshop come to life, even if it’s only at 30 km/h.
Article classification: Petrol Cars