The electric car brand by Mercedes and Tesla’s biggest competitor officially arrives in Europe: here is Denza

If the news from the Geneva Motor Show is almost entirely focused on the Renault 5 E-Tech, Chinese manufacturers have also made the trip. Among them, BYD, which came with its two luxury electric cars: the Denza D9 and N7, co-designed with Mercedes-Benz. Two models which will arrive in Europe at the end of 2024 and which we present to you here.

Denza N7 // Source: Marie Lizak for Frandroid

Everyone has only one word on their lips since the opening of the Geneva Motor Show: Renault 5 E-Tech. This does not mean that the small electric Renault is the only attraction of the show, since the Chinese manufacturers also have something new to offer us.

MG, for example, is presenting two new models (the MG 9 and the MG S9), as well as a high-end brand, called IM. On the stand opposite, BYD, Tesla’s biggest competitor, is also launching its premium brand: Denza. Two models have made the trip and will arrive in European dealerships soon: the D9 minivan and the N7 SUV.

Denza D9: a minivan for VIPs

Denza, as a reminder, is BYD’s “premium” brand, co-founded with Mercedes-Benz. Who says Chinese premium brand necessarily means minivan, a body extremely popular in the country (just look at the Li Auto Mega, Volvo EM90 or Zeekr 009, among many others).

We are therefore entitled to an extremely imposing car (5.25 m long, 1.96 m wide, 1.92 m high) available in 100% electric version or plug-in hybrid. Let’s focus on the electric version, which receives, as a BYD subsidiary, the in-house “Blade” LFP battery.

This has an enormous capacity of 103 kWh, which translates into a range of 600 km. This is already quite low given the size of the pack, but it should also be noted that this figure is reached via the Chinese CLTC approval cycle, much more optimistic than our European WLTP cycle. It would therefore be necessary to count around 520 km in WLTP.

The manager ? The weight, since the Denza D9 weighs between 2,690 and 2,785 kilos. In fact, the two motors (one on each axis, making this van an all-wheel drive) 275 kW (373 horsepower) are not too much.

Recharging is astonishing, since this D9 can only absorb its maximum charging power, i.e. 166 kW… if it is connected to two terminals simultaneously ! If you only have one outlet available, the charge will be halved, or 83 kW, which is very little for a battery of this size.

Come on, let’s console ourselves with this super luxurious interior, upholstered in leather and screens. The Denza D9 embarks seven passengerswith the first two rows having individual seats heated, massaging and ventilated. At the front, the central screen 15.6 inches is associated with a 10.25-inch digital handset and head-up vision to have all the information in front of your eyes.

Denza N7: an XXL electric SUV

Closer to European tastes, the Denza N7, a coupe SUV, will have a better chance of scoring well here. Here too, the dimensions are respectable, with a length of 5.25 m and a width of 1.96 m, therefore far exceeding those of a Tesla Model X, for example.

Here too, the interior presentation is neat, with three screens on the dashboard, including one dedicated to the passenger. Curious thing: the sound system is provided by the French brand Devialet!

This time, no choice possible in engines, since only a 100% electric version of 390 kW / 530 hp is available. Performance follows, with 0 to 100 km/h in 3.9 seconds. Comfort is not forgotten, with a new generation air suspension installed as standard.

The N7’s battery is less disproportionate than that of the D9, since it “simplies” 91.3 kWh (which is already enormous), still with the in-house Blade technology. Recharging follows the same pattern, but faster: count 150 kW if the N7 is connected to a terminal and 230 kW with a second terminal. In the latter case, the 30-80% is announced in 20 minutes, which is correct.

Denza N7 // Source: Marie Lizak for Frandroid

Curious thing: BYD communicates a range of 570 km on one charge, but according to the NEDC standard, an obsolete standard, replaced by WLTP (much more optimistic). We imagine a “real” autonomy of around 530 km, but this will have to be verified when it is marketed.

Arrival at the end of 2024

Because yes, these two models are not there to make up the numbers. BYD assures: its two Denzas will be marketed in Europe “at the end of 2024”.

Two unknowns remain. First, the price: as we have seen, the D9 and N7 offer large batteries and high-end equipment, which will inevitably increase the price. On the other hand, the markets selected by BYD remain secret.

We know that the Nordic countries are often preferred to France, for example (just look at the examples of Polestar or Zeekr), but we do not know whether BYD, which markets its “own” electric cars in France, will be tempted to distribute its Denza there. Final answer in a few months.

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