2023 IM Motors L5 EV: Alibaba And SAIC-Backed Startup Schools The West That Sedans Aren’t Dead


This article includes independent illustrations made by CarScoops’ artist Josh Byrnes based on IM Motors’ patent applications as well as our own intel. The renders are neither related to nor endorsed by IM Motors.

Over the past decade, the motoring landscape has seen an ever-increasing surge in the abundance of crossover and sport utility vehicles. You can blame changing buyer preferences, but as a by-product, this has also resulted in the demise of the once-popular sedan market.

Gone are the days when you could stride into any dealership and drive off with a sedan of any size, transmission and engine combination. Recently, we’ve seen the axe fall on well-established nameplates such as the Mazda6, Ford Mondeo/Fusion, Ford Taurus, Chevrolet Impala, and soon, the Malibu will join this list too.

An Alternate Reality

IM Motors L5 Sedan illustrations Josh Byrnes / Carscoops

Oh, but wait a minute – aren’t some of those models still being offered in China? Yep, it’s a strange old universe! In fact, the Chinese market offers a staggering number of four-door saloons from automakers such as WulingChanganChery, and BYD – all brands you’ve probably never heard of.

Perhaps one of the more intriguing Chinese offerings comes from a relatively new EV start-up called IM Motors, a joint venture between SAIC Motor (the driving force behind the rebirth of MG), Zhangjiang Hi-Tech, and e-commerce powerhouse Alibaba Group.

Read: Alibaba And SAIC Team Up To Launch New IM EV Brand

The aspiring manufacturer currently offers the L7, a Tesla Model S-rivaling premium large sedan, and soon, it will add a Model 3 competitor under the L5 nomenclature. Thanks to China’s patent office and this writer’s illustrative wizardry, we already have an accurate idea of what the L5 will look like. So what makes this car special?

Slick Styling

The L5’s interior will likely mirror the design of the larger L7 pictured above

Subjectively, it’s certainly no Aston Martin in the looks department, yet it has all the hallmarks of good design. Grand proportions, shapely surfacing, frameless windows and a fastback silhouette – yep, they’re all there. Conversely, anonymous frontal styling won’t win any contests, nor will all the weird lumps and bumps (more on that in a bit).

If its larger sibling is anything to go by, the L5 will sport some serious kit. For reference, the bigger L7 features a Mercedes Hyperscreen-rivaling 39-inch 4K resolution touchscreen display, a secondary 12.8-inch OLED touchscreen for main vehicle controls and Level 3 autonomous driving in certain conditions.

The vehicle is fitted with a suite of ultrasonic sensors, HD cameras, and 5mm-wave radars to enable autonomous self-driving. As for those strange bumps above the windshield? They are for the LiDAR units also as part of this setup.

High on Power

Pictured here above and below is IM Motors bigger L7 that measures 200.7 in. (5,098mm) long

On paper, the vehicle is tipped to be equipped with some serious propulsion. For reference, the bigger L7 features a dual-motor, all-wheel-drive setup. Armed with 570 hp (425kW) and 531 foot-pounds (725Nm) of torque, it’s good for a zero-to-sixty sprint in under 3.9 seconds – not shabby at all.

See: Everything We Think We Know About The 2024 Honda Prologue Electric SUV

Bringing convenience to the equation is an 11 kWh wireless charging setup with an efficiency of 91 percent. Those electrons are stored in a 93 kWh battery with a range of 382 miles (615 km). Impressive as that sounds, those figures are from using the extremely lenient NEDC test cycle.

The Established

IM Motors L5 Sedan illustrations Josh Byrnes /

Aside from the multitude of Chinese domestic market EVs, the IM Motors L5 would make a promising competitor to more established nameplates such as the Polestar 2Volkswagen ID. Aero, Tesla Model 3, BMW i4 and Mercedes-Benz EQE.

Are we likely to see it offered on the global scene soon? Sadly not. Expect an official debut for Chinese market consumption later this year.

Would you like to see more slick-looking sedans on your shores? Let us know in the comments below.

IM Motors’s patents for the L5 electric sedan in China


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