First drive in XPeng Motors’ G9: It’s a shame this

XPeng Motors G9

It’s been nearly a two-year journey since XPeng Motors originally announced its mid-sized luxury SUV, the G9 – a model born into expectations from its creators as a potential best seller in its respective segment. I recently found myself on a tour through Europe that included the Netherlands and thought, “The G9 recently arrived here, why not ask XPeng for a loaner to tour the countryside in?” Luckily XPeng obliged, and I got a the full helping on the G9 I so desired. I was not disappointed.

XPeng’s G9 SUV was first announced in November of 2021 with some impressive specs, including the Chinese automaker’s first model to feature its XPILOT 4.0 ADAS, as well as ultra-fast charging thanks to its 800V Silicon Carbide (SiC) platform and battery cells from trusted names like EVE, CALB, and CATL.

When the G9 officially launched in China in September of 2022, XPeng was touting it as the “fastest charging EV in the world,” able to replenish from 10-80% in 20 minutes on XPeng’s network of 480 kW S4 chargers and gather 200 km (124 miles) of range in just five minutes of charging.

Demand overseas was incredible, but so was the confusion about nomenclature of its trim levels, originally announcing beffudled combinations of numbers and letters before introducing better differentiators like “Pro” and “Max” to the mix.

Still, the debut of the G9 carried XPeng Motors for a while as deliveries of its older models began to slip. Its latest model, the G6, has helped lighten the load for its larger sibling since, but the G9 remains a popular model – especially as it makes it way over to new markets in Europe.

Recently traveling through the EU myself, I had plans to visit Amsterdam and from there take a day trip about an hour and fifteen minutes south to the town of Waalwijk, where my great grandfather grew up. Having driven with XPeng in the Netherlands before, I thought what better opportunity to test out the G9? Especially since I had my family with me and could use the extra space for them.

What a joy this day was, taking a climb up the family tree while spending hours in a luxury EV I wish were available in my native homeland. Here are my thoughts.

The G9 is easily the best XPeng Motors model I’ve driven

Upon first receiving delivery of the G9, two elements quickly stood out – its size and its quality. Even coming down the road next to the canals of Amsterdam during daylight, you cannot mistake XPeng’s front fascia and running lights.

As I mentioned before, I had driven the original P7 and the ill-fated (in the EU at least) P5 – both of which are sedans although the P5 is much larger. Still, the G9 is significantly larger than both, even as a mid-sized SUV. Admittedly, not ideal for the narrow turns of the parking garage I stored it overnight in, but I’ll dig into that more in a bit.

When I first got inside, the quality and attention to detail was unmistakable. I received the AWD Performance version of the G9 – brand new, complete with a beautiful “Saddle” nappa leather interior and a Dynaudio Confidence sound system with Dolby Atmos. Let’s stick with the interior first while we’re on the subject.

My parents found welcomed comfort in both the front passenger and rear seats, as they both reclined and offered lumbar support. The front even has a leg rest that comes up as you recline. If my mom hadn’t been in the front, my dad could have pressed XPeng’s “boss button” on the right rear door that completely moves the passenger seat up.

The cabin stayed extra cool and breathing was easy thanks to the G9’s XfreeBreath air purification system with a pollen filter (I have allergies). As a larger EV with a near 3,000mm wheelbase, there was tons of passenger space, as well as cargo room in the trunk (660L). Buttons in the back enable the seats to automatically fold down, and below the trunk was an additional storage compartment (seen below).

The frunk was average, but I’d imagine it would be nice to have for additional storage of stroopwafels, cold Heineken, and other Dutch delicacies. You can get a better feel for everything from the images I snapped, so take a look while we transition into the specs of the G9 and the drive itself.

Driving the G9 around the Netherlands

Alright, first things first. To understand my drive, you must first know the specs I was dealing with when driving the AWD Performance version of XPeng Motors’ G9. This top-tier trim in the EU features two motors combining for 405 kW of output power and 717 Nm of torque.

The SUV can reach a top speed of 200 km/h (124 mph) and accelerate from 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) in 3.9 seconds – she may be big, but she goes. The top two trims of the G9, including the AWD Performance, both feature a 98 kWh NMC battery pack which offers 520km (323 miles) of range (WLTP).

As previously touched upon, one of the G9’s most impressive features is the ability of XPeng Motors’ 800V platform to enable charge rates up to 300 kW on a DC charger. I also got a full taste of the automakers proprietary Xmart OS and XPILOT 2.5 ADAS, powered by a NVIDIA Orin-X chip (unfortunately XPILOT 4.0 isn’t available in the EU yet).

Alright, so taking off through Amsterdam is wild if you’ve never experienced it before. You are driving through a bustling flow of bikes, bus lanes, and single lane roads where vehicles are going both directions. You have to keep your eyes and ears up to say the least.

Having air conditioned seats in the interior was clutch as my back was already sweating trying to get out of the parking garage without giving the G9 a new beauty mark up its entire side, and Amsterdam traffic didn’t make things easier, but we made it.

Initial thoughts were how quiet the cabin was – like eerily, but refreshingly quiet. I was admittedly so consumed with safely exiting the city center and testing out all the features of the G9 that we spent a majority of our trip to Waalwijk in silence. Welcomed silence.

Another key feature I want to point out is the navigational capabilities of XPeng Motors’ Xmart OS, present in the G9. Even since my last drive in the Netherlands with XPeng, the automaker’s software has come a long way in terms of being adapted for Europe. The navigation was intuitive, easy to follow from any display, and most of all, dependable.

If you’ve followed some of my previous drives, you know I’ll usually test the OS before I ultimately switch to CarPlay – my preferred method of operation. Not needed here. The G9’s maps and directions were amazing and even visually directed me as to what lane I should be in when exiting or turning.

XPeng Motors G9

When I got out on some open road, I was dying to test out XPILOT although it was only 2.5. I promise I will get to China and test out XNGP, including hands-free City NGP, but for now we have to settle for eyes up and hands on the wheel. Still, XPILOT worked like a charm and made the views of the Dutch countryside that much easier to enjoy. Check it out:

When I wasn’t using the ADAS, I found the dual motors of the G9 fun as hell to drive. Switching lanes and overtaking other vehicles was an absolute treat in the SUV as its acceleration was instantaneous and powerful to say the least. I felt confident passing anyone and everyone and was able to bob and weave when needed, even for a larger vehicle.

There was a point in the drive where I seriously had an epiphany as to how quiet and smooth the ride actually is. The specs from XPeng Motors say the G9 has a double wishbone independent suspension in the front and a multi-link independent suspension in the rear. Perhaps its the dual chamber air springs, or electromagnetic adjusted dampers included on the AWD Performance trim, but damn, this is a smooth ride. The longer I drove this one, the more I fell in love.

Overall, I think the G9 is a slam dunk and understand why XPeng Motors put a lot of faith in its success in China. As for the EU market, I think it’s a little too big, so I’m not sure how it will fare. I really struggled in the urban sprawl of Amsterdam, but had no trouble driving or parking out in the countryside, so perhaps this SUV will still do well with EU consumers outside of crowded cities.

I think US consumers would eat this EV up, as long as they can get over its association with China (which they should). If it were available in the US today, I would seriously consider getting one, even through I’m a single guy with no kids or pets. Even for runs to Costco or shorter road trips, I’d love to be the one driving everyone if I were in this EV.

Looking ahead, my next two goals will be to experience the full suite of XPeng’s technology in China, including XNGP. I also want to test drive the new G6 compact SUV, whether that its China or the EU. I’ll work on that and report back soon, promise!

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