Xiaomi Prepares a Tesla Model Y Attack With 'SU8' Crossover, Albeit Only in CGI

Xiaomi SU8 rendering by sugardesign_1 11 photos
Photo: sugardesign_1 / Instagram
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Regarding high-tech smartphone integration, we're right past the moment of no return, when Ford showed GM that it's wrong to abandon Android Auto and CarPlay right into the territory of smartphone companies making cars.
Nope, the Apple Car isn't back on track – that one is still dead even after reportedly burning through billions of dollars to get nowhere. And it doesn't even matter if Apple insiders report that the now-defunct car would have been a computing powerhouse or as luxurious and comfy as a private jet. That thing is buried, and we need to get past it – Musk's Tesla won't have an answer from Apple, period.

Instead, the (automotive) world might be overrun by Xiaomi – a Chinese smartphone maker that disrupted the established order in the mobile field not long ago. The maker's first-ever passenger car, the SU7 battery-powered full-size sedan, built under contract by BAIC Off-Road in Beijing, has already been on everyone's radar for months – through leaks, teasers, and a few 'soft' unveilings.

Now, though, the cat is officially out of the bag, complete with specifications and all the other juicy details – including the Chinese pricing that undercuts Tesla's Model 3 when the Xiaomi SU7 is actually more of a four-door sedan rival to the Tesla Model S. In fact, it was benchmarked against the Model S and Porsche Taycan – while the pricing also puts it in line with the Nio ET7, among others.

The new model from Xiaomi now has a months-long waiting list, of course, given the 'flagship killer' pricing strategy as the company willingly sells the SU7 at a loss to gain market share and help spread interest. But even Xiaomi can't cope with that strategy for too long – unless they come up with economies of scale from a different direction.

For example, the imaginative realm of digital car content creators proposes a simple idea – build a second model as soon as possible. More precisely, Sugar Chow, the virtual artist better known as sugardesign_1 on social media, has decided to present the next step towards Xiaomi's automotive dominance – the SU8 crossover SUV.

This step is logical – while sedans are still favored in China, high-riding models have a global appeal and could help Xiaomi branch out towards worldwide markets much faster than the four-door SU7 saloon. The pixel master uses the SU7 design – which is not exactly revolutionary but rather organically conceived to stand cool alongside the Tesla Model S, Lucid Air, or Porsche Taycan – to his advantage.

As such, the CGI expert makes sure this hypothetical SU8 crossover SUV project is easily recognizable from the front and rear as part of the new brand image proposed by Xiaomi's first car endeavor. On the other hand, the profile is where the virtual designer innovates, and to make it a compelling rival of Tesla's Model X or maybe even the best-selling Model Y, he opted for stylish suicide rear doors and frameless windows, even though he actually didn't give up on the use of a B pillar.

So, what do you think? Could Xiaomi branch out internationally, and fast, if it brings to market a crossover SUV companion for the recently introduced SU7? Plus, do you think it will find success or fizzle out like so many other EV startups and eventually die like Apple's car project?

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About the author: Aurel Niculescu
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Aurel has aimed high all his life (literally, at 16 he was flying gliders all by himself) so in 2006 he switched careers and got hired as a writer at his favorite magazine. Since then, his work has been published both by print and online outlets, most recently right here, on autoevolution.
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