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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist


WATCH: First look at GWM’s new flagship P500 bakkie

GWM's long awaited Hilux and Ranger rival will be offered with either a diesel engine, or a hybrid-petrol exclusively as a double cab with four-wheel-drive.


On-sale in China since early last year, Great Wall Motors (GWM) announced this week that its flagship bakkie, the Shanhai Cannon, will officially become a reality in South Africa during the second quarter of the year.

Watch the walkaround of the P500 below

Part of the Chinese’s brand extensive roll-out of four new models in the same quarter, the Shanhai Cannon will, however, undergo a name change to P500 in order to align with the P-Series which could potentially replace the aging Steed 5 that opens-up the marque’s bakkie range at some stage.

ALSO READ: GWM gives first glimpse of four new models coming to South Africa

Sitting above a three-tier bakkie range in China comprising the P-Series, known at home as the Poer, and the mid-range King Kong Cannon that seemingly won’t be available in South Africa, the P500 will only be sold as a double cab and from the get-go, with selectable four-wheel-drive.

P500 in detail

GWM Shanhai Cannon arrives in South Africa
Its size and proportions makes the P500 on-par with the Ford F-150, though on paper, it is smaller and narrower.

Showcased for the first time on local soil at GWM’s operations restructuring event in Sandton, the P500 also becomes one of the biggest bakkies sold in South Africa, with an overall length of 5 445 mm, width of 1 991 mm, height of 1 924 mm and wheelbase 3 350 mm.

As a comparison, an equivalent Ford Ranger Wildtrak measures 5 350 mm long, 2 015 mm wide and 1 886 mm high, while measuring 3 327 mm long in the wheelbase department.

GWM Shanhai Cannon arrives in South Africa
Rear facia has styling elements of the Isuzu D-Max about it.

Significantly smaller and narrower than a Ford F-150, which seemingly served as its proportional inspiration, the P500 has a ground clearance of 224 mm and for South Africa, will become the first bakkie to offer a multi-function tailgate.

GWM Shahai Cannon renamed P500 for South Africa
Multi-function tailgate can be opened in a split barn-door style…

In essence, this comprises a dual design in which a button located within the P-Series logo opens the tailgate in a split barn-door style similar to the Fiat Toro by default.

More difficult, though, is opening the tailgate in the traditional drop-down manner, as apart from pressing the button with a bit more vigour, a fair degree of muscle is needed to activate the locking mechanism that prevents the gate from opening horizontally.

GWM Shahai Cannon renamed P500 for South Africa
… or flipped down as a conventional fashion.

Said to offer a wading depth of 800 mm and able to tow a validated 3 500 kg, closer inspection of the P500’s interior also confirmed two buttons for the front and rear diff-lock, and a drive mode selector with an unspecified number of settings.

Inside

Taking pride of place inside, despite no official details being announced, the interior sees the standard fitting of an expansive infotainment system digital instrument cluster – the former measuring 14.6-inches in China and the latter 12.3-inches – wood and leather trim, climate control with rear vents, heated and ventilated front seats, electrically reclining rear seats, and Park Assist.

GWM Shahai Cannon renamed P500 for South Africa
Interior appears anything but bakkie-like, with pride of place going to the 14.6-inch infotainment display.

Also furnished with side-steps that deploy when the doors are opened, the P500 boasts front and rear parking sensors, a reverse camera, and in Chinese-spec, Driver Attention Alert, Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Change Assist.

Hybrid, diesel but no V6

Present at the event were both engines South Africa will receive; a petrol and a diesel, the former being a segment first self-charging hybrid.

Effectively the same electrified turbocharged 2.0-litre unit used in the GWM Tank 300, the petrol, which will wear the HEV moniker, develops 255kW/648Nm delivered to all four wheels through a hybrid specific nine-speed automatic gearbox.

GWM Shahai Cannon renamed P500 for South Africa
P500 comes with a drive mode selector and two diff-locks as standard.

For the time being, the flagship petrol, the 265kW/500Nm 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6, remains a no-no despite being offered in Australia.

On the diesel side, the in-house developed 2.4-litre oil-burner does without any electrical assistance for an output of 135kW/480Nm. Connected to i t is a conventional nine-speed automatic ‘box.

Stay tuned

An exact date of the reveal in the second quarter still to be finalised, projections point to the P500’s asking price starting around the R700 000 to R750 000 mark based on the R653 750 sticker of the flagship four-wheel-drive P-Series LT.

As it stands, more details, including spec, will be announced at a later stage.

Additional information from carnewschina.com.

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