This Hongqi limo could be the Chinese alternative to the Rolls-Royce Phantom.
An interesting observation in the car world of today is that the ultra-luxurious limousine segment has been dominated by the Europeans.
Just think about it, the super-rich (who still own sedans and have not transitioned to luxury SUVs) are normally seen swanning out of either the perennial favourite Rolls-Royce Phantom or its cousin from Crewe, the Bentley Flying Spur. The more subtle Mercedes-Maybach might be an alternative, but the point still stands that the choice for a billionaire sedan is mainly European. With the only non-European offering off the top of my head is probably the Japanese Toyota Century. That said though, this might all change as the Hongqi H9+ luxury limo aims to bring the non-European uber-luxobarge count up to 2.
Perhaps serving as the indirect successor to the Hongqi CA72, the first Hongqi ever produced and the car Chairman Mao was commonly seen in, the Hongqi H9+ is considered China’s answers to the European luxury limo onslaught.
Unveiled to the world in the Beijing Auto Show that is currently ongoing at time of writing, the Hongqi H9+ is essentially a stretched variant of the Hongqi H9 sedan, which in itself is based on the current generation Audi A6. That said, its humble underpinnings does not detract from the fact that this might be a genuine Rolls-Royce Phantom competitor.
Speaking of the Phantom, some might look at the H9+ and see similarities between this Chinese limo and its British competitor. Well before anyone starts commenting about China’s tendency to copy other people’s work, there is a perfectly reasonable explanation to this. And that is because the person who penned the design for this car was ex-Rolls-Royce designer Jiles Taylor, who has been hired by Hongqi since his departure from Goodwood marque two years ago. Thus, there are too some design similarities between this luxury limo and the Cullinan-lookalike HS9 SUV, which is also incidentally based on the same A6 platform as on the saloon.
From the front, the HS9 large vertically-slatted and highly chromed grille does certainly give it a commanding road presence, with the chrome trim that runs mid-way along the hood and the slit-like LED headlights only adding to the imposing front end design. Round the back, the Phantom similarities continue with the a slab-sided rear end design flanked by two vertical LED twilight stacks. A chrome trim that runs right along the width of the tailgate does add some visual flair, as does the quad-exhausts.
Don’t let the quad-exhausts and the 50TD badging on the boot-lid allude one to assume that there is a large capacity engine under the long bonnet though. Instead, powering this limo is only a 3.0 litre supercharged V6. Mated to a 7-speed dual clutch transmission, it sends its 283 hp and 400 Nm of torque to all four wheels. It might not be provide the effortless waftability of the twin-turbo V12 in the Phantom, but maybe its fuel efficient at least?
What is perhaps more of interest to the super-rich though is the cabin of this two-toned luxury limo. Much like in any self respecting luxury limousine, there is only seating at the rear for two, with the two captain chairs separated by a dividing central armrest, that inevitably contains not only a screen to presumably control interior settings, but also two champagne flutes within the cupholders. Other luxury features found in this leather-lined cabin includes rear air con vents and huge screens inset to the backs of the front seats. The extra 20 cm added in between the wheels also means that there is a vast amount of legroom for rear passengers.
At the front meanwhile, the chauffeur will be equally comfortable within the H9+. Aside from all the wood and leather, two huge screens for the central infotainment system and digital instrument cluster are present at the front of this luxury limousine.
Thus far, there is no mention of the price yet for this Chinese luxury limo, but it will probably be a safe bet that the H9+ will cost significantly less than its European or even Japanese equivalent. This being a Hongqi in China, it is also worth mentioning that it will be on sale to the public, and not just to the governmental elite. So if you, dear billionaire, would like to stand out from the crowd, forget a modified S-Class and perhaps consider the H9+ instead.
Photo credit to CarNewsChina.com