This impression was duly realised during a recent media drive from Desa Park to Elmina, near Klang, that involved driving the two variants available in succession.
Before we relate our Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde experience, here’s a brief description of the two Dolphin variants; the Dynamic Standard Range and Premium Extended Range.
The Dolphin is essentially a five-door hatchback with body dimensions that slot it nicely in the B-segment category although its 2,700mm wheelbase leans towards the C-segment.
While both have BYD’s self-developed Blade Battery, the Dynamic Standard Range has a less powerful unit of 44.9kWh than the Premium Extended Range’s 60.48kWh.
The battery power difference might look insignificant but the eventual electric output that drives the front wheels in both cars is a lot wider.
The Dynamic Standard Range has an output of 70kW and 180Nm while the Premium Extended Range’s delivery is more than double at 150kW and 310Nm.
This difference is best noted in the respective car’s 0-100kph sprint performance; the Premium Extended Range does it in 7.0 seconds against the Dynamic Standard Range’s 12.3 seconds.
BYD also quotes the single-charge distance for the Dynamic Standard Range and Premium Extended Range at 340km and 427km respectively under WLTP measurement.
Apart from the varying equipment level that defines the two variants based on their names, the Dynamic Standard Range has a torsion beam rear suspension and 195/60 R16 tyres to the Premium Extended Range’s multi-link rear and 205/50 R17 tyres.
Premium Extended RangeOur 20km-plus drive started with the Premium Extended Range that dazzled with its pink body (almost with Barbie influence), dark grey bonnet and black plastic wheel arches; a bit too much colour to take in at first glance but it could grow on you.
You get body colour on parts of the alloy wheels too and what was really cute was a dolphin embossed on the sidewalls of the Linglong Comfort Master 205/50 R17 tyres!
This colourful splash continued inside the car; pink air vent mouldings at each end of the dash and white seats with streaks of pink and purple.
Our prior acquaintance during the Dolphin launch was with the less flashy Dynamic Standard Range; thus, the Premium Extended Range was a lively sight to behold.
Getting comfortable in the driver’s seat was done by selecting the height, steering wheel reach and back support electronically and we were good to go.
When we hit the accelerator pedal, we immediately noted the 310Nm torque that was waiting to be unleashed to sprint like a cheetah.
We floored the pedal quite a few times at opportune instances, spinning the front wheels in a squeal and enjoying the forward surge, leaving other normal cars standing still.
It was something that we could only dream of doing in expensive sports cars from Germany and Italy, but not in a car that costs under RM130,000 on the road.
During the few bursts of speed, we saw electric energy usage going above 100kW on the driver’s compact instrument panel.
We attempted to do some 0-100kph acceleration runs on a clear stretch but couldn’t get GPS for our DragRacer app to fully function.
There weren’t many opportunities to fully check out its dynamic quality but for the few twists and turns that we powered through, the Dolphin seemed quite up to the mark.
We did miss selecting Sports mode or manual shifting with steering wheel paddles in normal cars but it would be interesting to explore the Dolphin’s dynamic qualities along winding roads as it is.
Ride comfort was good as the Dolphin handled all the speed bumps, road ripples and dips within expectations from a driver’s perspective.
With that much electric torque at our beck and call, it sums up the fearsome (exciting rather) Mr Hyde part of our drive experience.
Dynamic Standard RangeThe return drive saw a car swap and we were back in familiar territory with the comparatively sober Dynamic Standard Range priced at RM99,900.
The light purplish body colour was more subdued and though the alloy wheels were of an attractive design, there were no accompanying body colour accents.
Getting into the interior, the two-tone panel finishing and seat upholstery lightened the ambience somewhat.
For driver comfort, we had the same four-way adjustments but had to select the seating positions manually.
On looking up, we saw no panoramic sunroof that is standard to the Premium Extended Range and there was no handphone wireless charging on the central console.
Well, at least the 12.8-inch intelligent rotating touchscreen on the centre dashboard is standard to both variants.
Likewise, both Dolphin variants have a full suite of dynamic and passive safety features and some practical ones are the door opening warning, tyre pressure monitoring system, 360-degree view monitor and the full range of lane-keeping assistance.
We also noted that the front bonnet has no latch and to open it, we had to pull the release handle under the dashboard twice.
Taking off, we felt the absence of an eager-to-go surge; though the Dynamic Standard Range would still pick up the pace quickly, there was none of the aggressive forward thrust of the Premium Extended Range.
Nevertheless, few would complain about a lack of respectable forward momentum and the Dynamic Standard would fit nicely as a car for daily commuting.
The torsion beam rear suspension didn’t make ride comfort wanting either although this is from the driver’s perspective. And on that note, we conclude our less exciting Dr Jekyll part of the Dolphin drive impression.