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Designed in Germany, engineered in Silicon Valley, and manufactured in China, Byton's first model—the M-Byte SUV—is a truly global effort that the upstart automaker hopes will make a splash in the premium EV marketplace. Similar in size to compact luxury SUVs such as the BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLC-class, the M-Byte adds a competitive all-electric driving range and ground-breaking interior technology in the form of an absolutely massive 48-inch curved infotainment display that stretches nearly the entirety of the SUV's dashboard. As with key EV rival Tesla, Byton's sales pitch includes heavy mentions of self-driving features.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
Since buying an electric vehicle is all about how far you can drive on a single charge, we'd opt for the long-range model. We'll know more about pricing, features, and options closer to the M-Byte's on-sale date.
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EV Motor, Power, and Performance
When it goes on sale, the M-Byte will be available with either a rear-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive electric powertrain. Rear-wheel-drive models are powered by a single 268-hp electric motor, while all-wheel-drive models come with two motors and a combined horsepower figure of 402. Byton says the single-motor rear-wheel-drive setup is good for a 7.5-second zero-to-62-mph time but the dual-motor all-wheel-drive powertrain shaves two seconds off that time.
Range, Charging, and Battery Life
The M-Byte's driving range will likely vary from model to model, as entry-level models will come with a 72-kWh battery pack while more expensive variants will offer a 95-kWh unit. Byton says the smaller battery pack can provide up to 224 miles of driving range on the global WLTP cycle; the larger 95-kWh battery is good for up to 286 miles. Either battery can be charged via 150-kWDC fast charging for up to 80-percent battery capacity in just 35 minutes; the M-Byte also will be able to charge at home outlets using either 110 or 220 volts.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPGe
The EPA hasn't released estimates for the M-Byte's fuel efficiency and obviously we haven't completed our own testing. We expect to get a chance to take the M-Byte on our 200-mile highway fuel economy-test route closer to the SUV's on-sale date.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Besides being packed full of tech features, the M-Byte's interior appears to be well appointed in stitched leather with metallic accents. Diamond-patterned textures throughout the cabin provide some visual punch, but the M-Byte's party piece is the front seats, which can swivel inward to make it easier to have a conversation with rear-seat passengers while on the move. The rear seat can be optioned as a three-across bench or as two individual bucket seats divided by a tall center console with integrated cupholders. There's no word yet on how big the M-Byte's cargo hold is, but it should be similar in size to key rivals such as the Jaguar I-Pace and the upcoming Tesla Model Y SUV.
Infotainment and Connectivity
A giant, monolithic 48-inch infotainment display called the Byton Stage runs almost the entire length of the dashboard and provides access to the M-Byte's entertainment, settings, and telematics as well as serving as a gauge display for the driver. It will be by far the largest infotainment display ever used in a production vehicle when the M-Byte goes on sale. A tablet on the steering wheel and a duplicate touchpad on the center console allow both the driver and the front-seat passenger to interact with the display, which can be reconfigured to show a variety of information including weather, sports scores, Wall Street's latest activity, and communications from linked smartphones.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Autonomous driving is a big part of what makes the M-Byte appealing, but it's unclear if a full self-driving system will be available upon the SUV's launch. If we had to guess, we'd say that kind of technology is at least a few years away. Tesla's Autopilot semi-autonomous driving system is a rather robust feature and Byton's setup should at least offer similar capabilities. We'll know more about the M-Byte's standard and optional driver-assistance features closer to the SUV's on-sale date.
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Because the M-Byte is Byton's first offering and it's not on sale, we aren't sure what type of warranty—if any—the company will provide to buyers. We'll update this section when we find out.