News Detail

A 660 HP 4x4 From China's Largest EV Automaker

Issuing time:2024-03-01 16:10Author:Ethan Robertson

What is it?

BYD, China's largest producer of electric vehicles, is looking to make its way into the off-roader by launching an all-new brand called Fangchengbao. There first model, the Bao 5 has hit the market, and we first headed to Shenzhen to do a static review, then borrowed a test car in Shanghai to see what it was like on the road.

But first, let’s talk about the brand name. Fangcheng is Chinese is for formula or equation and Bao means leopard or panther. Some foreign media have been translating it as “Formula Leopard,” and while that’s not an inaccurate translation, representatives from BYD have told me that this is unlikely to be the name they will use when the brand goes on sale abroad.

Fangchengbao bao5.jpg

Pumped up compact

Now that we know what Fangchengbao means, let's talk about what a Fangchengbao looks like. I realize that some of you reading this will disagree, but I think the answer is simple and unavoidable; it looks like a Ford Bronco Sport. Off-road SUVs of this ilk tend to converge on a certain kind of styling, i.e., square, simple, and borderline brutish. There is, however, a difference in the way this styling is executed by the likes of the Land Rover Defender, and how it is done by the Bronco Sport.


Despite being considerably larger, I think the Bao 5 looks more like the latter example. Whereas the Defender looks beefy and tough, the Bao 5 looks more like a compact SUV that was inflated to mid-size SUV dimensions. Some of the individual styling elements are successful, such as the circular lighting signature on the front end, but they can’t change the fact that the Bao 5 doesn’t look like a premium SUV.


This is compounded by some styling elements that left me scratching my head. Chief among them is the sculpting around wheel arches. While they do give the Bao 5 the strong fender flares we so love to see in our 4x4 SUVs, the way that the sculpting aft of the front fender and forward of the rear fender thrust upward toward the greenhouse made it look as the Bao 5 was in an accident before it ever left the factory. This phenomenon was present on all the exterior colors available, but it was especially pronounced on the orange-yellow color.


Dual Mode Off-road

Take a look at the rear of the Bao 5 and you might notice small badge on the upper righthand side that says, “4.8s”. True to BYD tradition, this refers to the 0-100 km/h time of the Bao 5, which is a blistering 4.8 seconds. That quickness is made possible by DMO (Dual Mode Off-road), the latest addition to the Dual Mode hybrid powertrain family from BYD. It's dual motor powertrain makes 505 kW, 760 Nm (660HP/562 lb-ft), and joins the efficiency-focused DM-i (Dual Mode-intelligent) and DM-p (Dual Mode-performance).


The front-mounted turbocharged 4-cylinder engine in the Bao 5 is longitudinal versus the transverse 4-cylinder in the DM-i and DM-p powertrains. It is still, however, a traditional plug-in hybrid and not in extended-range EV like the Yangwang U8. When fully charged, the 32-kWh battery in the Bao 5 can deliver a pure electric range of 125 kilometers on China's domestic CLTC cycle, or 100 kilometers on the WLTC cycle.


Speaking of the U8, the Bao 5 is in many ways a miniature version of that super SUV, even featuring a version of the DiSus-P adjustable hydraulic suspension system. Sadly, that suspension is only offered on the top spec car, which wasn’t available during filming.


There are various option packages that you can choose for the Bao 5, starting with wheels. Our static test car was equipped with the standard 18-inch wheels, but there is a 20-inch wheel package available for an extra 1,400 USD. That package includes a full-size rear-mounted spare wheel and upgraded brakes with six-piston calipers and ventilated discs. Buyers can also choose between BF Goodrich K02 all-terrain tires or all-season tires.

Real buttons and refrigerator

I was in heaven while sitting inside the Bao 5. Not because of the standard 15.6-inch center screen or the available 12.3-inch passenger screen, but rather the sheer number of physical buttons. The door buttons are physical; the buttons on the steering wheel are physical; all the buttons for adjusting your off-road settings are physical; and there was even a set of crystalline toggles behind the shift knob.


Our mid-spec test car had real leather seats as standard, as well as heating, ventilating, and massaging functions. Entry level models make due with just heating and cooling. Like the U8, the Bao 5 has a set of wheels mounted low on the steering wheel which are used to scroll through your on-road and off-roads driving modes. I strongly approve of any solution that allows you to change driving modes without taking your hands off the wheel, though I couldn’t help but notice how much smaller the scroll wheels on the Bao 5 were than those of the U8. Then again, when you’re paying three times as much, you ought to get bigger wheels.

The Bao 5 does improve on one of the more interesting features of the U8; it’s refrigerated center console. While the Yangwang requires you to adjust the fridge via the center screen, the Fangchengbao has a knob and small display where you can accomplish the same task much more efficiently. The fridge can keep contents between -6 and 6° C (21-43° F).


Aft of the single 50W wireless charging pad, and transmission lever is the previously mentioned row of crystalline switches. I applaud Fangchengbao for sticking with physical buttons for controlling those all-important off-road features, but crystalline (read: plastic) knobs, buttons, and other doodads just look cheap. What’s not cheap is the sound system on the Bao 5, which comes from Devialet and has 16 or 18 speakers, depending on trim level. If that’s not fancy enough, the Bao 5 also has a fragrance dispenser.

Material quality inside of the Bao 5 is on the low side of premium. Mid and top-spec models get real leather seats, and the major touch points are trimmed is soft-touch materials. Lower down you get hard, ugly plastic areas, though there may be a reason for that. This is a hardcore off-roader after all, and seeing as these areas are more likely to get dirty, it makes sense to make them easy to clean and able to take some abuse.

Being a very square off-roader, the Bao 5 has great headroom in the second row, as well as decent leg room thanks to a 2.8-meter wheelbase. The rear seats are heated as standard, but the top spec model adds ventilation. Apart from that, a pull-down center armrest with a cup holder, and a couple USB ports, there isn’t much going on in the back of a Bao 5.

Opening the barn-style rear doors and you’re greeted by a very square, very capacious rear cargo area measuring 475 liters with the seats up and 1069 liters when you fold them down.


Prado-beating off-road stats

I was taken through a series of manmade obstacles in the passenger seat of the Bao 5 in order to illustrate its off-road capabilities. With an approach angle of 35°, a departure angle of 32°, a breakover angle of 20°, and a maximum ground clearance of 22 cm (8.7 inches), the Bao 5 beats or ties the stats of competitors like the Land Cruiser Prado (31°, 22°, 25°, and 22.1 cm).

Of course, those stats are even more impressive if you get the top spec model with DiSus-P adjustable hydraulic suspension system. It has a maximum approach angle of 39°, maximum departure angle of 35°, a maximum breakover angle of 27°, and a maximum ground clearance of 31 cm (12.2 inches). If you’re still worried about scraping that battery pack, you can option the 8-millimeter-thick underbody protection tray for 1,400 USD.


Faster than a G-Wagen

Let me start with something that won't come as a surprise to anyone who read the first part of this review: the Bao 5 is ridiculously fast, particularly for an off-road SUV. In fact, according to real-world testing by domestic media's, the 0-100 km/h time is actually closer to 4.6 seconds, not 4.8.

Even with the battery below 20%, the Bao 5 can still deliver a 0-100 km/h time of just 6 seconds. Compare that to its closest rival, the Tank 400 PHEV. It’s 0-100 km/h time of 6.8 seconds was already more than quick enough for a car in this segment, but it feels like an absolute boat compared to the Bao 5. It even outpaces much more expensive options like the Mercedes G500.

And that's not the only area where the Bao 5 separates itself from majority of vehicles in this segment. It also has standard front and rear double wishbone suspension, which provides a level of refinement in its ride that you don’t see in many of its competitors. Whereas many of 4x4s will sway like a ship at sea after a lane change, the Bao 5 remains relatively upright. What surprised me the most, however, was the level of directness and responsiveness in the steering. There's still a noticeable amount of slack on-conter, but that’s not necessarily unwelcome in an off-road SUV.

All of this praise, and the Bao 5 we drove was only a mid-spec car, which means it doesn't have the DiSus-P adjustable hydraulic suspension that costs an extra 6,000 USD. All I can say is that that thing better be mighty impressive in order to justify that extra money.



The Bao 5 offers a compelling package in terms of performance, comfort, and off-road capability, but the styling doesn’t quite match up with the price tag. Fangchengbao has previewed concept cars for future models that promise something more unique, so let’s hope they show some follow through.


Fangchengbao Bao 5

Engine: 1.5L Turbo 4-Cylinder

Transmission: E-CVT

Motor: Front + Rear

Power: 505 kW, 760 Nm (660HP/562 lb-ft)

Battery: 49.05-kWh

EV Range: 125 km CLTC

0-100 km/h: 3.6-seconds

Size: 4890*1970*1920 mm

Wheelbase: 2800 mm

CDM Price (as tested): 43,000 USD

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