Here is the Hongqi N701, the new Chinese limousine. The massive car debuted during President Xi Jinping’s visit to Hong Kong on July 1. It sure looks like the business with a giant chrome grille, huge shiny wheels, raised roof and front fender flag holders.
The Hongqi N701 appears to be well over five meters long, with an extended B-pillar and an extra-long rear cabin. The hood is also very long, but the trunk is relatively short. It has Hongqi (red flag) ornaments on the hood and on the front fenders.
N701 is a code name. The real name is still unknown, and maybe he never will. Hongqi will only build 50 examples over the next 10 years. The specifications of these state limos are generally secret, but one can expect a V12 or a V8 under the hood. Hongqi has both engines in its lineup. The recently launched Hongqi LS7 SUV, for example, is powered by a 4.0-liter turbocharged V8 engine developing 360hp and 550Nm.
The rear with two exhaust pipes, a shark fin antenna on the roof and a surprisingly large rear window. On most state limos, the rear windows are small and narrow, to protect the occupants from angry people firing bullets or throwing objects. But the car appears to an armored one. Back characters: middle: 红旗, Hongqi, in handwritten Chinese. Bottom left: 中国一汽, Zhongguo Yiqi or China First Auto, First Auto referring to First Auto Works (FAW), owner of the Hongqi brand.
The grille is absolutely in your face, with the top bar above the headlights. The N701 was led by a Trumpchi GA8, and followed by several Hong Kong police BMWs.
The new state limo also appears to stand quite high on its wheels, possibly based on an SUV chassis, much like the US presidential limo.
Time to take a look at Xi’s early cars:
The Hongqi N501 is a small state limousine. It debuted in 2018 and is mainly used during Xi’s state visits to other countries. We haven’t seen is very often in China itself. Pictured is an N501 with Xi on board during a visit to Italy.
This is China’s main state limousine, called CA7600L, also known as Hongqi L9. It debuted in 2009 and has been in service ever since. Power comes from a 6.0-liter V12 developing 408 hp. The new N701 is probably the successor to the CA7600L.
The short wheelbase version is called Hongqi L5, used to transport foreign visitors. For a brief period it was semi-available in the passenger car market. The L5 was equipped with the same V12 as the CA7600L and a 4.0 V8 turbo with 375 hp and 530 Nm.
The best-known version of the state limousine is probably the parade model, with a large open roof, a set of microphones and a special platform in the rear cabin. At least six of these parade cars were produced for the 2009, 2015 and 2019 military parades (pictured) in Beijing. The next such party will be in 2025 at the earliest, so only then will we see the parade version N701.