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New BYD SEAL Fully-Electric Executive Saloon is the Real Deal.

New BYD SEAL Fully-Electric Executive Saloon is the Real Deal. 

If you are looking to ‘Build Your Dreams’ around a slick, sporty and sophisticated, fully-electric saloon car, then there has never been a better time than now. In early 2024, Chinese brand BYD overtook Tesla to become the world’s biggest seller of electric cars, and its all-new SEAL executive saloon is a direct rival to the recently refreshed Tesla Model 3 in the hotly-contested EV saloon market segment.

Most Ambitious Model Yet.

Following on from the Atto 3 family SUV and Dolphin family hatchback, the SEAL is the third model from the brand to arrive in Ireland, and it is its most ambitious yet. The SEAL comes in rear-wheel drive (RWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD) guises, with just one body style (saloon) on offer. The single-motor (RWD) SEAL has an official WLTP range of up to 570km on a combined driving cycle, while the heavier dual motor (AWD) variant makes do with a range of up to 520km from a fully charged battery. However, in city-only driving these figures have the potential to rise to 690km and 600km respectively.

Two Trim & Drivetrain Options.

The BYD SEAL is a handsome, aerodynamically-designed family car that offers generous equipment, a respectable (and achievable) driving range, and exceptional performance off the line, as well as limo-like levels of space. The SEAL is available in two versions: the single motor ‘Design’ with 308bhp, and the dual motor ‘Excellence’ with 523bhp and all-wheel drive as standard. The suspension fitted to both versions is by double wishbone at the front and multi-link at the rear, but the ‘Excellence’ benefits from frequency-variable damping shock absorbers for enhanced comfort and composure. Both trim grades get the same 19-inch alloy wheels with aero covers between the spokes, and are fitted with Continental tyres as standard. An advanced energy-saving heat pump system comes as standard equipment too. Reliably operating in a broad range of temperatures, the system efficiently utilises residual heat from the powertrain, the passenger compartment and even the batteries. It enhances the thermal efficiency and reduces energy loss whether heating or cooling. As a result, the low-temperature driving range is increased. The SEAL’s headlight design uses double U-shaped light clusters that create a distinctive stereo effect, while the visually-dramatic ‘waterdrop’ rear light design stretches the width of the car in a smooth and natural flow.

Bright, Airy & Practical Cabin.

The BYD SEAL provides drivers with typical saloon-car driving positions, with ample seat and steering wheel adjustment available. A set of digital dials are mounted in front of the driver, and the dash-mounted 15.6-inch infotainment touchscreen in the centre of the car can be rotated electrically between landscape and portrait modes. Its graphics are crisp, and in order to access the shortcut menu, you can swipe down the screen. Thanks to a broad glass roof, the spacious cabin in the SEAL feels bright and airy, especially in the rear. The driver and front passenger are treated to excellent levels of leg, elbow and head room, while rear passengers are equally well accommodated, and the middle-seat passenger also benefits from a completely flat floor for enhanced legroom. The boot in the SEAL has 400 litres of space behind the 60/40 split-folding rear seat backs, and the car also features a ‘frunk’ (essentially, a small storage area under the bonnet) with a 55 litre capacity.

Test Car.

My BYD SEAL Excellence test car was finished in Ice Blue metallic paintwork with contrasting black upholstery, dashboard and door trim. A huge array of safety, infotainment, comfort and convenience features come as standard – irrespective of the trim variant chosen. Key equipment includes: electric pop-out door handles, electric tailgate, panoramic roof, LED headlights with high-beam assist, automatic headlights, LED daytime running lights, LED rear light cluster, metallic paint, double-glazed front door windows, thermal insulation, wireless charging, leather upholstery (heated & ventilated), heated leather steering wheel, electrically-adjustable front seats, auto air-conditioning, front & rear parking sensors, multiple airbags, and blind spot detection, along with a host of additional driving assistance systems. Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™ connectivity is also standard, as is a 12-speaker Dynaudio sound system, DAB radio and BYD voice control assistant – “Hi BYD”, and access to the MY BYD  Cloud Connected App for a direct link between the car and the outside world. The majority of the dashboard and door mouldings are covered in soft-touch materials, and the overall cabin design is well executed. The soft and supportive front seats have a wide range of adjustment, and they are heated and ventilated as standard. The dual motors in the SEAL Excellence produce a hugely-impressive 523bhp, as well as a mighty 670Nm of peak torque, all of which is supplied to all four wheels, ensuring the power is transmitted to the road in an orderly fashion. thereby enabling the car to sprint from 0-100km/h in an eye-watering 3.8-seconds. The 82.5kW electric motor is powered by BYD’s ingenious ‘blade design’ lithium ferrophosphate (LFP) battery pack, which can be charged from 10-80% in as little as 37 minutes at a 150kW (max) DC public charger. Alternatively, the battery pack can be charged via a domestic wallbox charger with a capacity of up to 11kW. Unlike almost every other EV manufacturer, BYD designs and produces its own batteries, and the reasoning behind their use of LFP is that it contains fewer rare earth materials, has a far lower risk of thermal runaway when damaged, and is reported to last longer than the more commonly used nickel-manganese-cobalt chemistry. The SEAL’s battery pack is an integral part of the car’s structure, thereby improving torsional rigidity. A selection of 4 drive modes (Sport, Normal, Eco and Snow) allow the driver to customise every journey to suit their driving style or road conditions and, thanks to the brake regeneration function, the SEAL can largely be driven with a single pedal. With the SEAL’s ‘intelligence Torque Adaption Control (iTAC) system, the car’s driving dynamics have evolved beyond traditional methods of power-off reduction. This advanced system not only enhances safety, it also elevates the overall handling comfort, ensuring a smooth and secure driving experience that benefits all occupants.

Verdict & Pricing.

The new BYD SEAL is a true masterpiece of ocean-inspired design, and it stands out from the crowd with its dynamic and flowing lines, alluring proportions and impressive aerodynamics. The all-electric four-door executive saloon is spacious, versatile and luxurious, as well as being undeniably sporty, dynamic and powerful too. It is one of BYD’s most advanced vehicles to date, featuring breakthrough technology and an impressive real-world driving range. The BYD SEAL Design is priced from just €44,036 (including current SEAI Grant and VRT Relief for private customers), with the Excellence version priced from €49,836.

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