Johannesburg Motor Show - Chinese automaker Great Wall Motors comes to Nasrec with a fleet of new models - and a concept - that reflect the company's upwardly mobile aspirations. While every Chinese brand still makes entry-level vehicles (there's a one billion-strong domestic market for them), GWM's feature-laden export models are considerably more ambitious than some of us are accustomed to from this maker.
M4 COMPACT CROSSOVER
Due for imminent release in South Africa, this urban warrior is targeted at the young and trendy with distinctive styling, 180mm ground clearance, 16” alloys and standard kit that includes aircon, power windows and mirrors, power steering, rear parking sensors, radio/CD/MP3 player with USB and auxiliary support and Bluetooth connectivity.
The M4 is motorvated by GWM's proven 1.5-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine with intelligent variable valve timing, rated for 77kW at 6000 revs and 138Nm at 4200rpm. No prices have been announced as yet, but GWM’s representatives hinted that it will start well below the R200 000 mark.
H6 CROSSOVER SUV
The H6 will be here in the forthcoming months, with all SA-market derivastives specced to what GWM calls “Elite” trim, with 17” alloy rims, full colour-coding with chrome detailing, roof rails, fog lamps front and rear, and tinted windows for the rear doors and tailgate.
At 4640mm overall on a 2680mm wheelbase, it's built on a new unibody platform designed for rigidity and low levels noise, vibration and harshness, with suspension by MacPherson struts in front and a torsion beam at the rear, giving it 180mm of ground clearance
A colour touch-screen display in the centre stack tells you exactly what you are listening to on the radio/CD/DVD/MP3 audio system; standard kit also includes climate control, power steering, power windows all-round, power mirror adjustment, rain-sensing wipers and automatic headlights with manual levelling.
GWM will offer two engine options in South Africa, starting with a two-litre VGT turbodiesel developing a quoted 110kW at 4000 revs and 310Nm from 1800 - 2800rpm, driving the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox.
Also mated to a six-speed manual transmission and due for local release early in 2014 is the H6 1.5T with a 1.5-litre turbopetrol four, boasting 110kW at 5600 revs and 210Nm from 2200 - 4500rpm, at a average of 8.5 litres per 100km.
GWM punts the C-segment C50 - due to arrive in South Africa soon - as its most sophisticated passenger car yet, with a 2700mm wheelbase providing generous inner space.
Two trim levels are planned for South Africa, each with a rake and reach-adjustable steering wheel, aircon, power steering, power windows and mirrors and comprehensive infotainment system. The flagship model will also have cruise control and rear parking sensors.
The C50 will have a new 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine for which GWM quotes 98kW at 5600 revs and 188Nm from 2000 - 4500rpm.
This compact B-segment sedan is aimed at young families who need maximum passenger and luggage space and a good balance of power and economy - but still comes with a 2610mm wheelbase that gives one of the biggest cabins in its segment, as well as a 510-litre boot.
It runs on 15” alloys, and cones with front and rear fog lights, as well as aircon, power steering, power windows all round, power mirror adjustment, radio/CD/MP3 player with USB and auxiliary support and a rake-adjustable steering wheel.
The C30 is powered by a 1.5-litre VVT-I engine rated at 77kW and 138Nm, providing a top speed of 170km/h at a combined-cycle cost of 6.5 litres per 100km.
STEED 6 CONCEPT
First shown at the Shanghai Auto Show in China earlier this year, the Steed 6 is due to go into production in China early in 2014 and will reach South Africa during the course of next year.
Aimed at upmarket, leisure-oriented shoppers in the double-cab market, the Steed 6 is not only GWM's biggest bakkie yet, but also its most sophisticated and luxurious, with a touch-screen infotainment system, climate control, push-button start, six airbags, an electronic stability programme, hill hold, a differential lock and an intelligent all-wheel drive system.
It's a big vehicle, 5430mm long on a 3200mm wheelbase, 1800mm wide and 1755mm high. Running on 17” alloys, it provides 200mm of ground clearance.
The concept on show at Nasrec has a two-litre, 110kW/310Nm VGT turbodiesel, but it will come to market with a range of engines and transmissions. The Steed 6 won't replace the Steed 5 workhorse; it's intended as a premium-segment leisure vehicle.