The BYD Seal (Atto 4) Is Coming Straight For The Tesla Model 3
Issuing time:2022-08-03 20:00
What is it?
The BYD Seal is a compact electric sedan that's aimed squarely at the Tesla Model 3 and XPeng P7.It's also one of the most highly anticipated Chinese cars of 2022, so we headed straight to the BYD dealership when we found out they had a static display model. If BYD keeps up their naming convention, the BYD Seal will likely be referred to as the BYD Atto 4 in Australia and other markets. Prices in China range from 31,000 to 42,500 USD. That means the top spec version costs as much as a base Model 3 here in China. The car in today’s review is a rear-wheel drive, long range variant that costs 39,000 USD.
Familiar Shape, Different Details
The overall proportions of the Seal are both compact and athletic, though it must be said that its overall shape resembles rivals like the Tesla Model 3 and NIO ET5. Blame that on the demands of EV design, which emphasizes low drag. When design becomes a math equation, cars just start to look the same. Seems like the BYD team were good at math, though, because the Seal has a drag coefficient of just 0.219, beating the 0.23 of the Tesla Model 3.
While the shape is familiar, the details of the Seal more than set it apart from its rivals, starting with the lighting up front. The slim headlights tuck into the body just a touch, then transition downward into a daytime running light. Something that wasn’t apparent from the first official photos of the Seal was the LED lighting on the front air intakes. The ripple-like effect ties the Seal back to the design language of the BYD Ocean Series, which also includes the BYD Dolphin (Atto 2).
There’s even more ocean-inspired design when you look closely at the side of the Seal, including a gill-like insert on the rocker panel, as well as a water droplet motif on the C-pillar. The arrow-shaped plastic piece ahead of the front door doesn’t seem so ocean-inspired, but it looks cool, so we’ll forgive them for losing the thread a bit. Even the Seal’s taillight carries a bit of ocean flair with a design that resembles fish scales emanating from a solid LED beam. Beneath that is a pretty serious looking diffuser.
BYD Grows Up
The interior design language is a solid match for the exterior, with flowing lines extending from door to door. It’s far less conservative than cars like the Model 3 or XPeng P7, but not quite as wacky as the interiors of the BYD Dolphin or Yuan Plus (Atto 3). The cabin is trimmed in real leather and alcantara, lots of alcantara. The latter could become an issue as it gets oily over time, but that’s for the second or third owner to worry about. In the meantime, the whole package feels quite premium.
Apart from that, it’s mostly black plastic with a pattern similar to what we’ve seen on other BYD models. The two screens measure 10.25 inches and 15.6 inches and use an updated version of the UI in other BYDs. Maybe we can dig out some small differences during our full review. Between the seats is a diminutive “crystal” shifter flanked by touch sensitive buttons for functions like air conditioning and auto hold, as well as rolling wheels for drive mode and volume. Front and center, is the start/stop button.
The Seal rides on BYD’s e-platform 3.0, a dedicated EV architecture. So, while it’s shorter in overall length than the BYD Han sedan, it has the same wheelbase. All that is to say that rear legroom in the Seal is very decent. The floor is flat, but also quite tall, a common issue with EVs. Our first impression is that the back seat of the Seal feels more comfortable than either the Model 3 or the P7.
The Seal has a traditional trunk opening, and while there are no official numbers as of yet, it’s unlikely to be as voluminous as the liftback Model 3. The same goes for the Seal’s frunk, which gets points for having a plastic lid for extra security, but appears to be much smaller than the 88-liter frunk in the Model 3.
Test Drive to Come!
We didn’t get to test drive the Seal during our time with it, but we do know what to expect in terms of battery packs and motors. There are two battery packs available for the Seal; 61.4 kWh and 82.4 kwh. The smaller battery is available with a 150 kW (201 hp) single-motor RWD powertrain that delivers a CLTC range of 550 km (342 miles) and reaches 100 km/h in 7.5 seconds.
Those who want more range can opt for the 82.5 kWh battery pack, which delivers a CLTC range of 700 km (435 miles) when equipped with a single, rear-mounted motor making 230 kW (308 hp). The one to have, and certainly the one we hope to get our hands on for our test drive, is the dual-motor AWD configuration. This range-topping variant has a CLTC range of 650 km (404 miles) and a power output of 390 kW (523 hp). The long range will hit 100 km/h in a respectable 5.9 seconds, but the dual motor will do it just 3.8 seconds.
BYD already has 60,000 preorders for the Seal and customer deliveries are set to begin in August. Based on our first impressions, the Seal is looking to be a very strong rival for the Model 3 and P7, but we'll only know for sure once we drive it later this year.
Article classification: Electric Vehicles