This is the Hongqi S9, an new, alluring hybrid hypercar and one of the more exciting and exotic local debutants at the recent Auto Shanghai 2021 show.
Although the traditional static motor show is an endangered concept (particularly due to the Covid-19 pandemic), these static new vehicle exhibitions continue to be popular in China, with last November’s Beijing Salon drawing large crowds of local car-hungry visitors. It was recently the turn of the annual Shanghai Motor Show, which opened its doors with many manufacturers using the event to showcase their latest models and concepts. There were new (mostly electric) debuts by Toyota, Ford, Nissan, Audi, Citroën, Mercedes-Benz, MG and Volkswagen, as well numerous domestic Chinese brands like Hongqi.
The S9 was styled by none-other than the acclaimed European designer Walter de Silva, the former Fiat Group and Volkswagen design chief, responsible for notable cars such as the pleasing Alfa Romeo 156, original Audi A5 and R8, as well as Lamborghini’s stunning Egoista and 2006 Miura concept.
Hongqi (meaning Red Flag) is one of China’s longest established and admired car makers, building imposing state limousines for Chairman Mao Zedong since the late 1950s. Today Hongqi aspires to be China’s pre-eminent luxury and performance car maker, marking a major milestone in February with the establishment of a joint venture between Chinese automotive giant FAW and the Silk EV Italian design and engineering company, with the joint ambition to develop a range of high-performance, luxury electric cars and hybrids for Hongqi's new S series model range. The first model of this joint venture is the S9 hypercar.
A preview concept was revealed at the 2019 Frankfurt International Motor Show, but we’ve had to wait until now for the finalised production version.
Like the concept the production S9 model features a 1,419PS (1,404kW) twin-turbo V8 plug-in hybrid powertrain, claimed to deliver 0-62mph acceleration in 1.9 seconds and a top speed in excess of 245mph. The S9's battery is also said to be big enough to deliver a pure electric range of around 25 miles.
Just 99 examples of the exciting two-seater Hongqi S9 will be built, priced at around $1.45 million (c. £1,04m) each, with orders now being accepted and the first cars due to be delivered from 2022 onwards. S9 production will be handled at Silk EV's headquarters in Italy's ‘Motor Valley,’ the iconic area that is also home to some of that Country's most revered supercar makers, including Ferrari, Lamborghini, Pagani and Maserati, as well as motorbike builder Ducati. S9 production at the Reggio Emilia, Modena set is to commence at the beginning of 2023, with Hongqi’s higher-volume models developed by the Silk-FAW joint venture (including a new flagship electric luxury saloon and SUV) due to be built in Changchun, China.