News Detail

Li Auto MEGA: Forget What You Know About MPVs

Issuing time:2024-03-14 16:22Author:Ethan Robertson

What is it?

Li Auto has been consistently outperforming more established rivals like NIO and XPeng on the sales charts, and they’ve done so by selling hybrids, not pure EVs. That changes with the introduction of the Mega, a massive, pure electric MPV that will sticker for 78,000 USD. With only one trim level available at launch, that means everything you’re about to read about is standard apart from some added-cost exterior colors.

Li Auto MEGA.jpg

Dystopian family transport

This bullet-headed MPV signals a new phase in the brand’s strategy, and does so with a design that is slipperier than a used car salesman. It’s drag coefficient of 0.215 isn’t just lower than any other MPV, it’s lower than almost every other production vehicle on earth, including the Porsche Taycan and Tesla Model 3.

It must be acknowledged that this style of MPV isn’t entirely new. There’s the current Hyundai Staria and even the Pontiac Trans Sport from the 1990s. But none of those designs are quite so...dystopian. Li Auto pitches the Mega as a high-speed train for the whole family, complete with images of happy children playing in the sunlight. When in reality, it looks like what RoboCop would use to drop off his kids at soccer practice.

The profile is so simple you can draw it with just three lines, and yet there are exactly zero angles from which the Mega resembles a normal MPV. From the front, it’s a robot that’s preparing to eliminate you. From the side, it’s a troop carrier for space marines. And the rear design, with its floating center section and visor-like LED taillights, looks like a second robot that’s prepared to finish the job if you somehow evade the one on the front end.

You can get your Mega painted in any color you like, as long as what you like is a shade of grey, black, or white. The wheels will also only come in dark colors, but there’s a good reason for that. They’re only 18-inches, but dark colors allow them to visually meld with the tire, making them appear more proportionate.

DSC04880.jpg500 km in 12 minutes

While Li Auto is a few years behind their rivals when it comes to selling pure EVs, it’s hard to tell from the specs of the Mega. Underneath its 3.3m wheelbase is a 103-kWh ternary lithium battery pack that promises a CLTC range of 710 km. The charging architecture is 800v, with a peak charging capacity of 552 kW. On a Li Auto Supercharger, the company claims it can add 500 km of range in just 12 minutes.

With temperatures outside around 20 degrees Celsius, I saw the Mega charge 516 km of range in 14 minutes. Other media were able to charge 500 km in under 11 minutes, so the claim of 12 minutes seems achievable, depending on circumstances.

It’s also important to keep in mind that, just like supercharging stations from other brands, you can’t achieve those speeds if someone else is using one of the other charging stations at the same time. All that juice is pushed to a dual motor powertrain making 400 kW and 552 Nm of torque. It’s hefty curb weight of 2785 kg, which makes it heavier than a Cadillac Escalade ESV, still isn’t enough to keep it from reaching 100 km/h in just 5.5 seconds.


Hope you like the L9

Despite its dystopian exterior, the interior of the Mega is a remarkably light and airy place to spend time. The front row is also more or less a copy and paste of Li Auto’s flagship SUV, the L9. Commonalities include dual 15.7-inch OLED screens, a 5-inch steering wheel-mounted touch screen, and one of the best head-up displays in the car industry.

All of that is powered by a Snapdragon 8295 processor backed by dual 5G SIM cards from two different service providers to help insure a steady signal for all your data needs. Oh, and two 50w wireless charging pads as well. The thing that Li Auto excels at, however, is making incredibly family-friendly interiors, particularly with regards to rear passengers.


Feature-wise, that translates to more of that good L9 flavor in the second row. There’s a storage cubby down here that can be as cool as 0-7 degrees Celsius, or as hot as 35-50 degrees. For my fellow Americans in the audience, that equates to as low as 32 degrees Fahrenheit and as high as 122 degrees.

The button for opening and closing the door doesn’t have the highest quality feel to it, but at least it’s well placed and easy to use. The Nappa leather seats are heated and ventilated with 16-point massage function. That means you get massage top and bottom. Each seat has its own USB charging port and 50w wireless charging cubby. They are, however, missing the “zero gravity” mode that’s available in an increasing number of Chinese EVs.

As in the Li Auto L9, the second-row seats also vibrate along with the media on the 17-inch rear entertainment screen with Dolby Vision and 21-speaker surround sound system with Dolby Atmos. There’s no remote for the rear screen. Instead, it’s controlled via gesture commands. It’s nice not to have to worry about losing the remote, though it does take some getting used to.

DSC04897.jpgWhat really struck me most when sitting in the second row of the Mega is the space. Second row legroom is larger than a BMW i7. Here's what’s more impressive, the third row has more legroom than a long wheelbase BMW 5-series. Third row seats are also heated and get their own charging ports. Even more important for rear passenger comfort is the fact the floor height of the Mega is consistent from front to rear, meaning third row passengers won’t finish a long drive with crippling back pain.

DSC04899.jpgWith big sedan levels of legroom in all rows, what space is there left over for cargo? The official number is 1054L behind the third row, enough to squeeze 4 28-inch suitcases and 2 20-inch suitcases. That beats the 755L capacity of the XPeng X9, but I think it’s a different story when you talk about maximum space. Unlike the X9, which stows the third-row seats underneath the floor, the Mega flips its third row up and forward. Li Auto says that having a big hole to stow the seats compromises the rear crash structure, but the result is that the Mega loses this space war.

DSC04890.jpgLand yacht, redefined

The Li Auto Mega is a huge vehicle, measuring 5.35m or 210 inches in length. It is therefore not what I would describe as an especially maneuverable platform. In dense urban environments, driving it is more akin to piloting a cruise ship than a land-going automobile. Thankfully, you are aided in this endeavor by large windows all around, well except the back. There’s also a ton of cameras, which provide a 360-degree view on command.

These do a great deal to make you feel more comfortable negotiating tight spaces, but no amount of glass will decrease the turning radius of the Mega. Do you know what would? The same type of rear steer found on the XPeng X9, but Li Auto chose not to include it. As a result, the Mega doesn’t feel as maneuverable as the XPeng when driving in tight urban situations, like crowded parking lots or small side streets.   

What Li Auto did include was dual chamber air suspension with adjustable height and stiffness combined with constant damping control. Air suspension isn’t new to the brand, as they’ve offered it since the L9. but while that system was certainly soft, it didn’t feel especially premium. The Mega’s ride is still soft, but not to the point of wallowing.

Li Auto also arrange for a brief test drive of two of what it considers to be the Mega’s competitors; a Toyota Alphard HEV and a Mercedes-Benz V260 with air suspension. I would have preferred that they arrange other Chinese electric MPVs in this category, like the Zeekr 009 or XPeng X9, but beggars can’t be choosers.

We drove the Mega, Mercedes, and Toyota down the same rough road, and the experience was instructive. The Toyota and Mercedes, both of which were brand new and had driven just a few thousand miles, permitted far more vibrations into the cabin. The tuning of their suspensions also resulted in more head toss over changes in elevation. The Mega meanwhile felt much more isolated, perhaps to the point of being numb when compared to the air ride-equipped Mercedes.


The acceleration numbers on the Mega are attention getting, but what matters more in an MPV is how that acceleration is delivered. Too sudden, and you could have a back seat full of sick children. Have you ever tried to clean vomit out of a ventilated seat? I haven’t, but I bet it’s awful. You’re unlikely to have such issues with Mega, as power delivery is well tuned. Fast when you need, but easy to drive smoothly when you don’t.

Of course, another major aspect of keeping your passengers comfortable is body control, and in that respect, the MEGA does a fine job of not rolling over onto its wheels in every corner. It's still a big, heavy electric MPV, but movement isn’t enough to make everyone sick.

Li Auto claims that the Mega is the quietest MPV on earth. According to the company, the third row, which is the loudest part of the Mega, is quieter than the second row of a Maybach S-Class. They achieve this through a variety of means, such as double pane glass from the windshield to the third row, including the giant overhead glass.

As with EV powertrains, Li Auto has been playing a bit of catch up when it comes to driver assistance. They’ve long had their own version of highway NOA, or navigation on autopilot, but they only just launched City NOA. That system relies on cameras, as well as a single lidar unit from Hesai and myriad radars of the ultrasonic and millimeter wave variety. The whole operation is overseen by dual Orin-X chips with 508 TOPS computing power.

DSC04884.jpgMy favorite part of their ADAS system, however, is the blueish green lights mounted on every side of the vehicle that illuminate when the driver assistance is active, including the automatic parking system. This informs those around the car, i.e. drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists, etc. that the system is in control, and perhaps to be more careful.

I have used the city and highway NOA features available from all the major players, from Tesla, to XPeng, to Huawei, but this is the first time I’ve been able to try out the latest generation of Li Auto’s AD Max. First impressions are good, with smooth steering, braking and accelerator inputs. There is, however, room for improvement, mainly when it comes to the driver monitoring system.

While the Mega will monitor your eyeline, the prompts for returning your attention to the road take around 10 seconds to begin. A great deal can happen in 10 seconds when you’re traveling down the highway at 120 kmh (75 mph), so those prompts should come much more quickly. Like NIO’s NOP+ system, AD Max also uses capacitive touch, like your phone screen, to monitor whether the driver is keeping their hands on the wheel.

This system is undoubtedly more convenient than a torque sensor, but the prompts are far too slow. There is a visual warning on the central screen and HUD after 20 seconds, an audio warning after 40 seconds, and the system will exit after 60 seconds.   


Li Auto's first full electric model might be late to class, but it definitely did its homework, covering all the major points you need for a family-friendly MPV. Its exterior styling may be divisive, but that interior design should please people of all ages, as will with the super-fast charging speeds.

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