$800,000 Chinese car combines new tech with old-school style

Most people with $800,000 to drop on a new ride, would check out companies like Rolls-Royce, Ferrari and Bugatti, but now it looks like a Chinese company called Hongqi wants some of that megabuck car action. Their new L5 makes most Western luxury rides look kind of low rent, and at $803,300 it would be tough to spend more.

At least with the L5 you do get a lot of sheet metal for your money. Tipping the scales at 6,950 pounds, it weighs over 1,300 pounds more than a Rolls-Royce Phantom, probably its closest competitor in terms of gigantic luxury rides. Hongqu didn't skimp on the engine either, with a 402-horsepower V-12 driving all four wheels, although I expect you really need all of those horses just to get this massive land ship moving.

On the inside, the L5 looks pretty up to date with plenty of display screens for both the driver and passengers, and an unusual looking flame burl wood veneer. It's on the outside where things get weird however, with styling lifted directly from Hongqi's CA72 state limousine from 1959. Perhaps buyers of the new L5 want to feel like they're Chairman Mao as they waft around Beijing, but to me it just looks odd. Companies like Mercedes-Benz and Bentley like to give tribute to their past triumphs, but they sure don't make their cars look like something from the 1960s.

But it's still the asking price that provokes the most head scratching. For the cost of the L5 you could also buy a Rolls-Royce Phantom plus a Lamborghini Huracan for when you want to go fast, and you'd still have plenty of change.

The first car off the line has already been sold to Mr. Wang Zhonghua, a man who owns a chain of furniture malls. I wonder if his furniture is also stuck in the 1960s design wise?

Check out the gallery to see the Hongqi L5 from every angle.

Bloomberg, via BBC Autos

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