The man on the stage looks like a student who has just finished his undergraduate degree. “Hello, I’m Tan Benhong, you can call me Ben,” he blurted out. And then comes a sentence with which the CEO of the Avatr start-up gets everyone laughing: “For the Chinese, Munich means football, beer and cars!” As it is the world premiere of the Avatr 12 (pronounced one two, not twelve ) goes, the first two attributes of the Bavarian state capital are probably of secondary importance for the car manufacturer from the Middle Kingdom.

With the cars it looks different. After all, this is where the design center for the Avatr automobiles is located. Chief Designer Nader Faghihzadeh helped design the BMW 7 Series and 6 Series Gran Coupé. The 5.02 meter long Avatr 12 is exactly that, a Gran Coupé. Interestingly, one without a rear window and with a display on the hood to communicate with people outside the car. Despite the closed rear, it is always bright enough. A large glass roof ensures a pleasant atmosphere in the interior. After all, the passengers in the Avatr 12 should feel like a cozy cocoon.

There is plenty of space due to the long wheelbase of 3.02 meters, as a first seat test shows. So does the headroom, despite the sloping roofline. The interior is clean and quite handsome. However, the two levels of the monitors are somewhat irritating. While a classic touchscreen is emblazoned in the middle, a narrow display band runs behind it, below the sloping windshield.

Avatr chooses a proven pattern to succeed. The car’s shapes come from designers who have worked for German manufacturers, and the technology from China. The automotive start-up comes from a cooperation between the battery manufacturer CATL, the Chinese car manufacturer Changan Automobile and the tech group Huawei. Not the worst basis for putting a vehicle on the wheels and in the showrooms of the dealers in the shortest possible time. Avatr was only founded in 2018 and just four years later the first vehicle, the Avatr 11, was launched in China for around $50,000. The Avatr 12 is to follow in winter and two more models next year.

The Avatr 12 will be available in two versions: as a rear-wheel drive with 230 kW / 313 hp and with all-wheel drive with 425 kW / 578 hp. The battery has a capacity of 94.5 kilowatt hours. This means that the Stromer has a range of 650 kilometers (all-wheel drive version) or 700 kilometers. However, the WLTP homologation is still pending. With all the drive power, the main focus of the Avatr 12 is on the autonomous driving functions. For this reason, the car is stuffed with technology: 29 sensors, including three LiDAR sensors and a high-performance central computer that processes the flood of information and relies on artificial intelligence.

To ensure that the robotic pilot makes the right decisions, the Chinese engineers have allegedly already covered 15 million kilometers, driven 200,000 hours autonomously and had the Gran Coupé park automatically 1.6 million times. As impressive as these numbers may sound, they only say something about the quality of the tests to a limited extent. Day after day on a straight highway in the best weather is a world of difference. It remains to be seen when and how the Avatr 12 will be approved for robotic driving on German roads. However, it is clear that the start-up, together with its partner Huawei, is serious about self-driving. However, the three LiDAR sensors also cost a lot, so the Avatr 12 is not a special offer.