The Beijing Auto BJ80 has finally been launched on the Chinese car market. Price starts at 288.000 yuan and ends at 298.000 yuan ($42.600-44.000). The BJ80, formerly known as the BJ80C, is the civilian version of the BJ80 series, which also includes the BJ80J military version and the BJ80D civilian diesel version.
The BJ80 however has no stinky diesel under the bonnet, but an old Swede:
This is the Saab 2.3 turbo four, now good for 250hp and 350nm, mated to a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic, sending power to all four wheels.
Beijing Auto Industrial Corporation (BAIC), the owner of Beijing Auto, 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 Beijing Auto BJ40, among others.
The BJ90 is manufactured by Beijing Auto Works, a subsidiary of Beijing Auto Industry Corporation (BAIC). The BJ90 is marketed under the Beijing Auto brand.
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 an entity called BAIC Motor, the parent company of all the passenger car companies within BAIC (thuss exclusing commercial vehicles, pickup trucks, buses, etc.).
Persistent rumors say Daimler was very unhappy with the BJ80 and tried to convince BAIC Motor to kill it off, which caused a lot of delay. But it didn’t matter in the end because the BJ80 is here in all its various variants. Daimler just had to take it or shake it.
Size BJ80: 4765/1890/2005, and wheelbase is 2800.
Size G-Class: 4717/1855/1949, and wheelbase is 2850.
The BJ80J military version for comparison.
The interior is less G-inspired than the exterior. Large touch screen on top of the center stack, start button to the right of the steering wheel. Lots wood and lots of leather, and even the steering wheel looks kind of luxurious.
The dials have a fuzzy shape and a shiny rim. Note spare wheel cover on the back of the vehicle in the display. That shows a highly appreciated attention to detail.
The infotainment system shows the radio, and that is the only thing 99% of Chinese car buyers uses the infotainment system for. They do the rest with their iPhones.
The six-speed automatic. Switch for the high-low gearing to the lower-right of the lever. Manual handbrake.
Seats are very flat for an off-road-ready vehicle.
Lights are small but spare wheel cover is huge. Lights are very small in military style. Beijing Auto didn’t bother to install a more civilian variant.
The front looks great with the same kind of grille as on the new Beijing Auto BJ20.
A fine looking behind, but it needs a proper tail hook, wider tires, and shiny exhaust pipes. It need a bit more.. Bling.
Enough space for at least six crates of hand grenades.
The brand new Beijing Auto BJ80 for China.