China's SAIC Motor Corp and the behemoth e-commerce platform Alibaba teamed up to form the IM Motors brand and it has now announced a really intriguing EV. The LS6 is among the cheapest electric SUVs and yet it boasts tech often reserved for luxury electric vehicles.
The first three versions feature single-motor rear-wheel drive. The crown jewel, the priciest of the lot, parades a dual-motor all-wheel drive. The single-motor versions boast peak powers ranging from 231 kW (310 hp) to 379 kW (508 hp). The dual-motor all-wheel drive? That's a blistering combined power of 579 kW (nearly 777 hp) and a torque of 590 lb-ft. With those specs, the LS6 can hustle from 0 to 62 mph in just 3.48 seconds.
Powering these variants are three Li-ion ternary battery pack options: 71 kWh, 90 kWh, and 100 kWh, courtesy of CATL.
A standout feature of the LS6 is its standard inclusion of LiDAR and an Nvidia Orin chip. This tech, especially at this price point, is akin to getting a filet mignon for the price of a burger. Partnered with local autonomous driving startup, Momenta, IM Motors aims to deploy its assisted driving system, IM AD, in 333 Chinese cities, kicking off public tests by year's end.
The LS6 enters the market at a starting price of RMB 229,900 ($31,500). That makes it the most cost-effective model in IM Motors' electric stable. And it's not like the LS6 is a tiny thing either. It measures 193.1 inches in length, 78.3 inches in width, and 65.7 inches in height with a wheelbase of 116.1 inches. That makes it larger than the Mercedes EQE SUV and only 1.97 inches shorter than the BMW iX.
Now, here’s where things get even more interesting. The LS6 has a promotional trick up its sleeve for early birds. If you book your unit by the end of 2023 you get a discount, making the starting costs of the four available LS6 variants stand at RMB 214,900, RMB 234,900, RMB 258,900, and RMB 276,900 (or $29,500, $32,200 and $35,500 respectively).
IM Motors is a collaboration between SAIC, Zhangjiang Hi-Tech, and Alibaba, dating back to November 2020. SAIC confidently holds the reins with a majority stake in this venture. The fruit of their labor has yielded the L7 sedan and the LS7 SUV in the past. However, the LS6 stands out not just because it's the newest addition to the portfolio but because of the sweet spot it hits between affordability and high-tech offerings.