No, even though the huge screens have been talked about so far, the Byton M-Byte is not just a smartphone on wheels. The promising electric car from China should also set standards when driving. Among other things, this is ensured by a man who has had a rather dirty job so far.
In his last life, Damian Harty has been the main landing gear developer for the English Prodrive team, especially rally cars. But now the Briton storms no longer through desert or mud, but fights for a clean future. Because Harty rolls behind the wheel of a prototype of the Byton M-Byte by Santa Clara in Silicon Valley and works a few weeks before the world premiere of the production car at the IAA in Frankfurt on the final vote of the electric SUV, with the Chinese start-up next year wants to join the mob of Tesla hunters. With a base price of around 45,000 euros, a contemporary SUV silhouette and a spectacular interior, the M-Byte aims at all those customers who are too expensive to buy a Model 3 again, or cars like a Mercedes EQC or an Audi e-tron ,
Driving dynamics? second-rate
So far, Byton has made a name for himself with his huge screens that make a Mercedes-A-Class or a Tesla Model 3 look like a vintage car. And last, the Chinese were in the headlines with the sudden departure of their boss, the former BMW developer Carsten Breitfeld. But now it’s up to men like Damian Harty and his technical director David Twohig to finally get their eyes on the car. “Even though connectivity and the new control system with the large screen across the entire windscreen are crucial for us, it’s ultimately about driving a car,” says Twohig. Or maybe more about driving. For one thing, Byton wants to equip the M-byte with numerous assistance systems right from the start, as close to the autopilot as the laws currently allow, and let him drive with updates over the air sooner rather than later completely autonomous. And secondly, the Chinese are also planning to export to Germany for 2020. But if the car produced in its own plant in Nanjing most probably time in the traffic jam of Beijing or Shanghai or possibly even in the tempo restricted California be on the road, says Twohig: “Driving dynamics was therefore not at the top of our list of priorities.
Harty and Twohig want a decidedly comfortable vote and rave about a “Liquid Road” feeling, with which one swims completely relaxed by the everyday life. “Just because electric cars reach sprint values like sports cars, you do not have to vote them so hard,” criticized Twohig the competition. Naturally, the M-Byte is not lacking in power. Finally, it is already in the base with a 200 kW / 272 hp rear engine and in the top model with a second, 110 kW / 150 hp electric motor on the front axle – at more than 700 Nm from the first turn is enough the kickdown for a few black strokes on the asphalt and for a sinking feeling in the stomach area.
Comfortable as a Bentayga
But who wants to experience that over the entire 520 kilometers, which should be possible with the larger of the 71 or 95 kWh large batteries in the car floor maximum? Just! Anyone traveling in M-byte with Harty and Twohig will experience the nearly five-meter all-terrain vehicle as an exceptionally gentle giant, smoothly ironing the spotty road surface like a tablecloth and, in its confident cosiness, much closer to a Bentley Bentayga than to a BMW X5 , Only at the steering Harty has to file a little bit, because she is very callous.
Digital continuous fire
You can not really concentrate on driving in the M-Byte, anyway. For at least for the first few kilometers, the hands are constantly trying to paint around on the touchscreen, which emblazoned in the Citroen C4 mounted as ever steering wheel hub, and the view always wanders back to the 48-inch screen, which cuts across cockpit cocked. Too new and unfamiliar, all this seems like you just want to get in and drive off, and you’re almost glad when the traffic stops again and gives you some time to befriend the new time. The operation is also very easy and self-explanatory with the third screen mounted in the high center console between the seats.
That Harty and Twohig put so much emphasis on a family-friendly vote and do their homework thoroughly in the old world, but they will especially thank the backbenchers. Especially since they do not notice much of the brave new world in the electric car. Because the space is rather average in view of the huge format and while you feel in the front row like Captain Future, there is the digitization behind only on your own smartphone or over the shoulder of the front man.