Byton M-Byte: connected eSUV interior revealed

Published: 13 June 2019

 Huge 48-inch infotainment screen returns
 Slower than a Tesla Model X though
► 'Ready for Level 4 autonomous driving'

Byton has given us another look at the M-Byte’s interior, as the SUV edges closer to production. It’s the third time we’ve seen the cabin of the techy, new electric SUV, and things are certainly beginning to take shape. Look at the picture above, and you’ll see a 7-inch driver tablet, physical buttons – which we certainly approve of – and an 8-inch control pad, too. Of course, that’s all dwarfed by the 48-inch wraparound screen that dominates the dashboard. It’s looking advanced, that’s for sure.

Back at CES, when we saw the car last, we were told gestures present too – though we didn’t get to see them in action. Byton tells us that they’ll use rather familiar movements; think one- and two-finger swipes for different things – like a virtual touchpad.

Yes, you may well seen Byton drivers doing a silent disco in the fast lane of the M4 in years to come...

Are touchscreens the answer? Our man's not so sure...

Byton

Some of the changes have taken place under the surface too, with the new UI featuring more Amazon Alexa integration than before. We’re expecting to see Byton products emerge as a test case for the benefits for Alexa in cars; Amazon had an M-Byte on its own stand at this year’s CES show.

Finally, step back from the dashboard, and Byton has kept the front seats’ ability to turn in slightly - thereby adding a more community-based feel when the car is in autonomous mode.

Isn’t that distracting?

Byton maintains that the huge 49-inch touchscreen at the heart of the car shouldn’t be a distraction, as it’s lower and inset compared to a normal infotainment system. Rather than sitting away from the driver’s eyeline, Byton says its screen sits just below the road for the driver, so looking up at the road and directly down actually reduces its distraction.

Byton CES

The new car will be built in Nanjing, China and Byton says the factory is nearly completed – though that’s not stopped the building and testing of around 100 prototypes so far.

Price and competition?

Just like the Audi e-Tron, the M-Byte is aimed at all the growth areas of the car market; China, SUVs and EVs. But unlike the e-Tron, Byton is targeting a more accessible price, and believes it can generate the scale to draw comparisons to the Tesla Model 3.

When is it out? The M-Byte goes testing 

Byton says the M-Byte has just completed its Cold Environment Test (CET) in Inner Mongolia, marking another step closer to production. The company has been testing 100 prototypes since last year, in temperatures down to -30°C.

Byton has confirmed that the new car should be coming in autumn 2019 to showrooms in Beijing, China and the US - and it should appear in Central Europe and the UK a little after that.

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By Curtis Moldrich

CAR's online editor and racing-sim enthusiast

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