Byton's first product is a four-seat electric vehicle that looks like a beefed-up hatchback, though the company considers it an SUV. The M-Byte is a few inches longer than the smallish Mercedes-Benz GLC SUV, but its exterior dimensions are otherwise similar. It will likely roll on massive 22-inch tires yet be optimized for efficient driving around town and at highway speeds.
The M-Byte and its future sedan counterpart, the K-Byte, will share a skateboard-like structure that locates the battery, suspension and powertrain components down below the passenger compartment. The body, whether SUV or sedan, rests on top of that. The M-Byte will be offered with either rear- or all-wheel drive, and there will be two available battery sizes — 71 kWh and 95 kWh. The rear-drive version gets the smaller battery, an output rating of 270 horsepower, and an estimated range of 200 miles (224 miles on the European WLTP testing cycle, which is more generous than our EPA cycle). The AWD M-Byte gets the bigger battery, a healthier total of 402 horsepower, and an estimated 240-mile range (270 miles per WLTP).
But this mechanical setup isn't what sets the M-Byte apart from the crowd. Its signature feature will be a 48-inch infotainment display that works with a 7-inch steering-wheel-mounted touchpad and an 8-inch console-mounted touchpad. Both the driver and front passenger will be able to control just about every aspect of the M-Byte through those touchpads using multi-gesture controls. Byton points out that all functions that are government-regulated, such as the hazard lights and gear selector, still use physical controls. Additionally, a robust voice control system will work with many vehicle features.
A unique feature of the M-Byte is that, when parked, the front seats will be able to pivot toward each other by 12 degrees to facilitate conversation. Rear-seat passengers, meanwhile, will have their own tablets. These tablets will be networked to the car, enabling passengers to play games or tap into the M-Byte's infotainment features.