Chinese Luxobarge-maker Hongqi is building a 1,400 hp hypercar called the S9

If you’ve seen that one Grand Tour episode which took place in China, you would’ve probably heard of this little marque called Hongqi. The name translates literally to “Red Flag”, a nod to the Chinese Communist Party, and they predominantly make huge, expensive luxobarges – the flagship Hongqi LS5 is even used to ferry their President for official purposes.

Well, not just luxobarges now it seems, because the Chinese carmaker has just unveiled a 1,400 hp PHEV hypercar called the S9 at the Auto Shanghai 2021 motor show.

The Hongqi S9 is the first fruit of the partnership between FAW, Hongqi’s parent company, and Silk EV, an Italian engineering and design startup. And the man responsible for the retro-yet-futuristic design is none other than legendary Italian car designer, Walter De Silva, whose famous works include the Audi R8 and Lamborghini Egoista.

As you can see from the images above, the S9 exhibits a somewhat European styling, with a sleek silhouette emphasised by the elongated tail. But according to De Silva, it’s not all just looks.

“We designed the shapes and technical surfaces skilfully until we reached the point of maximum balance between aerodynamics, proportions and beauty,” he said. “No detail was left to chance in order to complete the body shape of the Hongqi S9 with an aesthetic language of essential, dynamic lines. The end result reveals a timeless, athletic styling that defines the Essence of Beauty.”

The clearest example of what De Silva calls a “maximum balance” can be seen on the headlights, which doubles as integrated air intakes to channel fresh air into the hybrid engine. Other standout features include the exposed carbon fibre aero bits, as well as the electrochromic windows that vary in tint intensity to improve energy consumption.

None of the images provided gives a clear view of the interior, but Hongqi said in the press release that the cabin is designed for “maximum comfort” and luxury. Highlights include three touchscreen displays – two for the driver and one for the passenger, adjustable interior lighting, and a low-speed air humidifier-purifier system.

At the heart of the Hongqi S9 is a twin-turbocharged V8 hybrid powertrain, which pairs a V8 situated midship with three electric motors for a total system output of 1,044 kW (1,400 hp). The bonkers power output translates to a century sprint time of just 1.9 seconds, onward to an insane top speed of 400 km/h.

The batteries can provide a pure electric range of around 40 km, and can also be topped up in a matter of minutes, which means the S9 can essentially be driven purely by electric power when in the city. When it comes to the racetrack though, a flip of a button (to change the driving mode) instantly changes the Hongqi S9 into a completely different beast.

Only 99 units of the Hongqi S9 will ever be made, with base prices starting at around the RMB10 million region (~RM6 mil). Production will take place simultaneously in China and Italy.

Walter De Silva calls the Hongqi S9 the “Il nuovo lusso“, which translates roughly to “new luxury” or “reimagined luxury”. To us, it’s the best blend of Italian sexiness and China’s insane technologies. What do you think?



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