Spy Shots: the Beijing Auto BJ80 in all sorts & shapes

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New Spy Shots of the production version of the Beijing Auto BJ80, a new rough ‘n ready full size SUV for China. This white example is a base-spec variant, oddly here with an army-green grille. In the background a real military variant with a raised roof, more on that one below. The production-ready BJ80 debuted in April on the Shanghai Auto Show, launch on the Chinese car market is scheduled for Q4.

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The BJ80 debuted in concept form on the 2014 Beijing Auto Show but development started way back in 2011. There is a civilian version and various military versions. The civilian version is designated BJ80C, and the military version is designated BJ80J.

Design of the BJ80 is inspired by the Mercedes-Benz G-Class. Beijing Auto and Daimler-Benz are very close; they have the successful Beijing-Benz joint venture and Daimler owns a 12% stake in BAIC Motor, the parent company of the Beijing Auto brand.

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Persistent rumors say Daimler was very unhappy with the BJ80 and tried to convince BAIC Motor to kill it, which is said the be the main reason why the BJ80 has been delayed a couple of times. It now appears that parties have reached an agreement, and the BJ80 is a sure go.


A high-end variant in green. Chromed grille, side bars, bigger wheels, chromed door handles and mirrors.

During its development the BJ80 has been seen with many different engines, but it is now sure the BJ80C will be powered by the Saab-developed 250hp  2.3 turbo four-cylinder petrol, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.

It can go off-road nicely; the BJ80 has a full-time four-wheel drive system, low-speed torque amplifier (2.75: 1), a center differential lock, a limited-slip differential (LSD) and an electronic differential lock (EDS).

Beijing Auto Industrial Corporation (BAIC), the owner of BAIC Motor, bought the rights to the Saab 2.0 turbo and Saab 2.3 turbo from GM in 2009, along with the rights to the platforms of the Saab 9-3 and first generation Saab 9-5. The 2.3 turbo also serves in the Senova D70 and will serve in the Beijing Auto BJ40, among others.

Size of the BJ80C: 4780/1850/1975, and wheelbase is 2800.

What exactly will power the military BJ80J is yet unsure. We have heard about:

1) a  2.7 liter four-cylinder petrol engine with an output of 150hp.
2) a 3.2 liter six-cylinder diesel engine with 135hp, same engine as in the BJ2022.
3) a made-in-China Cummins 2.8 liter four-cylinder turbo diesel with an unknown output.

It is very well possible that the J will be available for the army with different engines, as engine requirements also depend on mission profiles. A command car might benefit from a smaller and lighter petrol engine, while a heavier transport variant might benefit from a diesel with more torque.


A black base variant with chromed mirrors.


Rear end of the same car.


Interior very G as well. Wood paneling on the dashboard. Conventional handbrake and gear lever. Cloth-covered seats. Infotainment screen sticking out far up the center console.


The BJ80J. Split front window, narrow tires, narrow wheel arches, and air ducts in the bonnet. Army cars see a lot of abuse so the engine needs more cooling, especially a heavy V6. This particular car is the 3-door variant with raised roof.


Same car seen from the rear. Roof adds space for soldiers with their helmets on. Taillights covered.


To the left: a five-door military variant. Wider tires here.


The interior of the five-door. Design pretty much the same as the BJ80C. Army green camouflages the dashboard. Seats in simple green cloth.


Taillights covered again, but front lights are not.


A five-door convertible version.


On the left: a four-door pickup truck. Car on the right is the three-door with raised roof.


Pickup truck is designated ‘B80V’ here. That was the old designation for the military version.


Three-door convertible.


And we end with the coolest variant we have seen so far: black army, likely for the People’s Armed Police and SWAT teams and such. We expect many more variants to surface in time. More about those soon later…

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