The Hongqi L5 is the most expensive Chinese car. It costs five million yuan or PKR 7,84,99,000 (approx Seven Crore Eighty Five Lac). Hongqi/ Red Flag, is the oldest automaker in China. The company is famous for its enormous state limousines and parade cars. The L5 is a retro-modern design largely inspired by the majestic Hongqi CA770 state limousine.
The CA770 was manufactured from 1966 to 1981 and only 847 units were built. All were sold to the Chinese government however today many are found either in museums or in private hands. The CA770 was powered by a Chrysler-sourced 215 hp 5.6 liter V8 engine.
The Hongqi L5 is aimed at billionaire businessmen and super stars of China who want to show off their being-Chinese credentials. More than any other local brand, Hongqi is closely connected with China as a country, and many Hongqi owners are sincerely proud of that.
The Hongqi L5 is part of the Hongqi L-Series. The first car was the gigantic Hongqi L9 parade car which debuted in 2009. It was followed by the Hongqi L7 in 2012 and finally by the Hongqi L5 in 2013. There are three variants of the L5: one for the government, a parade car, and the civilian version.
Size Does Matter
The Hongqi L5 is a giant car; measuring 5.55 meters long, just over two meters wide, 1.5 meters high, and with a wheelbase of 3.4 meters. To put that into perspective: the current Mercedes-Maybach S600 is 5.2 meters long. The L5 is also very heavy, even the non-armored civilian version weighs an incredible 3150 kg, compared with 2390 kg for the Mercedes.
The engine that has to move all that weight is a 6.0 liter V12. With an output of 408 horsepower and 550 Nm, the engine should have been more powerful. Gearbox is a six-speed automatic sending power to all four wheels. Hongqi does not specify top speed and acceleration, likely because it isn’t very fast. Fuel consumption is a mystery as well but it is sure going to be on the heavier side, but doesn’t really matter for the people who own it. Thankfully the fuel tank has a capacity of 105 liters.
The interior is a work of art with rose wood panels and cream white leather. The centrally mounted instrument panel is fully digital and measures 15.3 inches. The lower 8-inch touch screen controls the infotainment and various other functions inducing the air conditioning and satellite navigation.
The inner rim of the steering wheel is for the horn. You have to pull the rim towards you, instead of pressing it. The system is a nod to the past again; it was just like that on the CA770. The logo in the middle of the steering wheel is a golden sunflower. In Chinese symbolism the sunflower stands for long life and good luck. Hongqi has been using the symbol for a very long time. There are also small sunflower logos in the center of the wheels.
The rear compartment has all the luxuries a high end Hongqi should have, including 1.1 meters of leg room, beige carpets, and a rear-seat entertainment system with television and a Bose sound system. The L5 is also equipped with a 6-disc CD changer.
L5 has a massive rear end with a huge trunk. The design of the taillights is taken from the shape of traditional Chinese lanterns. Chrome bars on each side of the license plate area are again inspired by the CA770. The characters above the license plate write Hongqi, supposedly in Mao’s handwriting.
The front end has the red flag ornament on its hood. Design of the heavily chromed grille is a nod to traditional Chinese hand fans and the ultra retro lights are very similar to those on the CA770.
In the Chinese marketplace, the Hongqi L5 competes with cars like the Bentley Mulsanne and the Rolls-Royce Ghost. But in reality the L5 doesn’t really compete with anything. It is so unique, so rare, that is has in fact created a class all of its own.
The Hongqi series parade cars: