Calm, Collected And Very Quick: The BYD Seal At Changi Exhibition Centre

Calm, Collected And Very Quick: The BYD Seal At Changi Exhibition Centre

James Wong
James Wong
06 Oct 2023
I left impressed by the Seal’s depth of engineering.

BYD is undoubtedly on a roll in the last few years. It’s the brand that others talk about constantly, simply because its single-minded determination to grow is relentless.

From the new e6 to the Atto 3 last year, followed by the expertly timed launches of the Cat A Atto 3 and Dolphin this year (thereby mitigating some of the effects of high COE), BYD seems to have the right products, strategy and strong backing from its headquarters. And it isn’t just its cars making headlines, either - its whole range of restaurants have gone to where other car brands have discussed but hesitated to do - and introduced a whole new retail concept without delay.

The BYD Seal has arrived in Singapore

And so what better way to round up the year than with the BYD Seal? It’s the most stylish, the fastest and flashiest BYD ever, the one set to elevate BYD to the big leagues.

Designed by Wolfgang Egger (of Alfa Romeo 8C fame), the Seal manages a slippery drag coefficient of only 0.219 Cd. Its shape is somewhat reminiscent of the Tesla Model 3, but it is somehow prettier and more sophisticated. There is even a subtle ducktail boot lid.

The Seal has a nearly 3 metre long wheelbase, so even though the car looks deceivingly compact on the outside, rear seat space is equivalent to that of the 5er/E-Class/A6 class. There is 400 litres of boot space and a functional 50 litre frunk.

The interior impresses even more than the exterior. The carefully chosen mix of materials - alcantara, soft leather and textures - make the Seal feel really upmarket. Even the way the doors close ooze of quality and substance. Like the Atto 3 and Dolphin, there is a rotating 15.6-inch centre screen. Unique to the Seal is a crystal-like gear selector. As proof that BYD is making the Seal universally appealing, it has equipped the car with a 12-speaker Dynaudio sound system that’s recently more commonly associated with high-end Volkswagens.

What is the structure of the BYD Seal?

Built on the familiar e-Platform 3.0 which also underpins the Atto 3 and Dolphin, the Seal differentiates itself with Cell-to-Body (CTB) technology - which essentially means that the car’s slim Blade batteries are glued to the chassis, creating a structural component. Being a ‘single piece’, this allows the Seal to achieve 40,500 Nm/degree of torsional stiffness and also frees up more interior space. Compared to other e-Platform 3.0 cars, the Seal sits 15 mm lower too thanks to CTB.

BYD’s renowned Blade batteries have already been discussed extensively, but here’s a quick recap: consisting of 172 thin elongated cells that are only 110 mm high, the batteries use lithium iron-phosphate (LFP) which is safer and more durable than conventionally used lithium-ion. LFP batteries can also withstand more extreme temperatures, which would be especially relevant for the Seal when used for sporty driving.

Which BYD Seal variant did you like more?

The Seal is available in three trims in Singapore - Dynamic, Premium and Performance. BYD held an experience day at Changi Exhibition Centre when it launched the Seal, where we drove the Premium and Performance variants on the circuit, while at the slalom and acceleration/braking tests we drove the Dynamic.

The Performance variant was the first Seal I drove that day. The first thing that struck me upon a turn of the wheel is how quiet the car is, even for an EV. The front doors have been fitted with double layer laminated glass which filters out most road noise, which goes some way to explain it.

With 530 hp from dual motors, the Performance variant accelerates from 0-100 km/h in just 3.8 seconds. It’s unquestionably quick, but at the same time, it goes about its proceedings in a very measured way. There’s no crazy wheelspin or intense torque steer; in fact, with Intelligent Torque Adaption Control system (iTAC) the Performance variant puts down its monumental power without drama or sweat. At the circuit, you can feel the car curtailing power where necessary to maximise traction but not intrusively so. It’s just very polished in the way it goes quickly.

The same holds true for its ride, although with the largely smooth surfaces of CEC we could not give a definitive answer on the car’s ride comfort. But from what I can glean, the Seal definitely rides with sophistication with a leaning towards comfort - very suited for the road and acceptable for the circuit. Perhaps this is also why even in the sportiest setting the steering feels more relaxed than we’d hope.

The next car I drove on the circuit was the Premium variant, which is the more powerful RWD version with a larger 82.56 kWh battery, accelerating from 0-100 km/h in 5.9 seconds. Here the Premium felt somehow more at ease on the track, with its simpler drivetrain allowing more information to be fed back to the driver. It’s a more fluid and concise drive with less interference from the electronics, which makes up for the car’s slower pace versus the Performance (that said, the Premium didn’t feel slow at all).

Lastly, I sampled the Dynamic variant which is also RWD, but with a smaller 61.44 kWh battery and 27 hp less than the Premium. It does the 0-100 km/h sprint in 7.5 seconds, and on the acceleration run it neither felt particularly fast nor slow. However, it retains the pure driving feeling of the Premium version, which helped it perform impressively on the slalom. For the car’s weight and size, it did a terrific job navigating the narrow cones.

The BYD Seal is swimmingly good

With the drive experience at CEC, I left impressed by the Seal’s depth of engineering. It feels like a very complete product, and for BYD to have the confidence to let us journalists let loose on the circuit with it speaks volumes. None of the car’s exhibited any faults throughout the whole morning despite repeated hard driving and braking.

I now look forward to trying the Seal on the road, including its 150 kW DC charging capacity.

The BYD Seal Dynamic variant goes for $234,888. The BYD Seal Premium is priced at $244,888, while the AWD Performance variant is asking $276,888. Prices are inclusive of COE and are accurate as of press time.

Photos by James Wong and BYD

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