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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist

WATCH: What to expect from GWM’s incoming Tank 500 SUV

Longer than a Toyota Land Cruiser 300, the Tank 500 will come standard with two diff-locks and low range, but omit the V6 petrol engine for a hybrid.

Showcased as the flagship model of the four new products it will launch from the second quarter of the year, the Great Wall Motors (GWM) Tank 500 will also become the Chinese brand’s biggest and most premium SUV ever sold in South Africa.

Watch walkaround of the Tank 500 below

Joining the already present Tank 300 as the second Tank-badged model to be sold locally, the 500 will, however, be sold as a GWM similar to its stablemate rather than under the standalone Tank brand as in China.

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

Taking on Land Cruiser

Billed as a rival for the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado, albeit with the proportions of the Land Cruiser 300, the Tank 500 rides on the same body-on-frame platform as the renamed-for-South Africa P500 bakkie, with dimensions of 5 078 mm in overall length, a height of 1 905 mm and width of 1 934 mm.

Welcoming the GWM Tank 500 to South Africa
At over five metres long, the 500, despite its apparent Prado rivalry, is longer than a Land Cruiser 300.

Its wheelbase stretching 2 850 mm, the Tank measures 73 mm longer than the comparative Land Cruiser 300, although it has the same wheelbase in addition to being 11 mm narrower and 75 mm lower.

GWM's previews new flagship SUV
South Africa will have seven-seat as standard.

Offering 224 mm of ground clearance plus a wading depth of 800 mm, the claimed approach and departure angles are 30-degrees and 24-degrees respectively, with the air suspension setup utilising a double wishbone independent design at the front and multi-link at the rear.

GWM's previews new flagship SUV
No details surrounding boot capacity with all seven seats up, or with the second and third rows lowered was provided.

For South Africa, seemingly only a single trim level will be offered, complete with seven-seats and as evident by the physical switchgear on the centre console, front and rear locking differentials.

Plush inside

Curiously, no details surrounding the Tank’s boot space were divulged, though the example present did feature an electrically folding third-row with the second tilting forward by means of a traditional lever.

First look at GWM's new flagship Tank 500 SUV
Wood and Nappa leather seats that are heated, cooled and with a massaging function for the fronts are all standard.

Inside, only select specification items were mentioned, namely Nappa leather seats with heating and cooling, plus a massage function for the fronts, and safety systems that conform to Level 2 autonomous driving.

First look at GWM's new flagship Tank 500 SUV
Centre console has not been altered from the P500.

Noticed though was an Infinity branded sound system, side-steps that deploy and retract automatically when the doors are opened and closed, wood detailing, Park Assist, a digital rear-view mirror, climate control, a drive mode selector and the same Tank Turn system as on the Tank 300.

First look at GWM's new flagship Tank 500 SUV
Headroom has not been impacted by the panoramic roof, with legroom also being impressive.

Sharing its fundamentals with the P500 means the Tank 500 also gets a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, the 14.6-inch touchscreen infotainment system, a 360-degree surround-view camera system and, based on the model sold in China, Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Change Assist.

Hybrid only

Up front, the Tank 500 will initially be powered by a single hybrid powerunit; the 2.0-litre turbo-petrol from the Tank 300 and P500 that has been combined with an electric motor and battery pack for a total system output of 255kW/648Nm.

Welcoming the GWM Tank 500 to South Africa
Hybrid powerunit will be the Tank 500’s sole option initially.

As with the P500, the 265kW/500Nm twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6 petrol offered elsewhere has not been allocated for the local market, while a diesel never received consideration as a result of the hybrid system.

Sending the amount of twist to all four corners is a hybrid specific nine-speed automatic gearbox.

Expected price

As mentioned, pricing for the Tank 500 remains unconfirmed, however, expectations are it could carry a sticker of around the R900 000 to R950 000 mark based on the flagship Tank 300 HEV Super Luxury’s R851 950 asking price.

This, though, is purely speculative and will only be confirmed once the official launch takes place next quarter.

Additional information from carnewschina.com.

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

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