There’s a good chance you might have never heard about the Hongqi H9 – a luxury limo from China that rivals the likes of the Rolls-Royce Ghost and the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Introduced at the beginning of last year, the H9 has largely gone unnoticed in the international media, with the Covid-19 pandemic to be partly blamed for it. The brand’s flagship luxury sedan, the L5, did, however, get a lot of attention when it was introduced, thanks to its cartoonish retro-modern look and the coverage by Jeremy Clarkson in an episode of The Grand Tour. Nevertheless, we now have the closest look at the Hongqi H9 thanks to a YouTube channel named Wheelsboy that did an in-depth video of the Rolls-Royce-rival. But before we begin dissecting the car, it’s important to talk a little about the brand. The name Hongqi means “red flag,” a Communist Chinese cultural symbol, and the company was launched in 1958, making it the oldest Chinese passenger car brand. Hongqi originally made cars only for high-ranking government officials. The company presently has a fairly big line-up of luxury automobiles, including SUVs, and even hired former Rolls-Royce design boss Giles Taylor in 2018 to bring his rich experience in designing tasteful ultra-high-end cars.
The Hongqi H9 looks a lot better than anything else on the company’s line-up, which indicates the remarkable improvement Hongqi has had over the last decade. Yet, the H9 comes across as a strange mishmash of design elements borrowed from different high-end cars, and the video by Wheelsboy correctly addresses this right at the beginning. You’ll have a little bit of Rolls-Royce Ghost, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Cadillac, and BMW 7-Series all blended in the H9’s styling. But if you look beyond that, the H9 isn’t half bad, even though many things look out of proportion. It’s the same story inside the cabin, which is well-appointed, but clearly lacks the refinement you expect from an uber-luxurious sedan. The video covers the mid-spec variant of the H9 that misses out on features such as a refrigerator, infotainment screens for the rear passengers, and massage seats. Unlike the flagship Hongqi L5 that comes with a V12, the H9 is available with two engine options – a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder that makes 252hp and a 3.0-liter V6 that produces 280hp, both paired to a 7-speed DCT. Clearly, the H9 is not meant for those who want speed and performance. But the starting price of $45,000 in China immediately covers up for most of its shortcomings.
[Via: Motor 1]