Having flown underneath the radar since the high profile opening of its R11-billion factory in the Coega IDZ outside Port Elizabeth three years ago, Chinese auto giant, Beijing Automotive Industrial Corporation (BAIC), has officially detailed its new B40 Plus for South Africa.
Revealed to the South African media and the public at the Kyalami Festival of Motoring two years ago, the B40 Plus, which has been renamed as its official designation in China is BJ40, the letters denoting Beijing Jeep, arrives on the back of a mid-life in 2019 that brought revised styling, more features and a new line-up of engines.
Only offered as a five-door without the previously used L suffix, the B40 Plus takes more than a few styling hints from the Jeep Wrangler with BIAC stating that the trademark grille, which boasts five instead of seven slots, pays tribute to the Great Wall of China instead of the military Willy’s original.
Sporting dimensions of 4 645 mm in overall length, a wheelbase of 2 745 mm, height of 1 871 mm and width of 1 925 mm, the B40 Plus has a claimed ground clearance of 210 mm with BAIC claiming approach and departure angles of 37 and 31 degrees, a breakover angle of 23 degrees and boot space ranging from 532 to 965-litres.
Like the Wrangler, the B40 Plus’ roof can be removed fully, though seemingly not the doors. In addition, the windscreen doesn’t appear to fold forward like on the Wrangler.
Sporting a double wishbone suspension and coil spring setup at the front with a five-link coil spring layout at the rear, the B40 Plus comes as standard with not only low range, but also a mechanically locking rear differential.
Available as the BJ40L in China since 2016, the B40 Plus derives motivation from a choice of two turbocharged 2.0-litre engines; a petrol that produces 160kW/320Nm and a diesel that develops 110kW/350Nm.
While the former unit can trace its roots back to the H family developed by Saab, a legacy of BAIC’s acquiring several technologies from the brand after its bankruptcy, the diesel is new as the BJ40L is an all petrol affair in China.
Both are connected to six-speed transmissions though with the diesel being a manual and the petrol exclusively offered with a ZF-sourced automatic.
In terms of specification, the B40 Plus comes in three trim grades with the unbadged base model featuring the following:
- 17-inch alloy wheels;
- front and rear fog lamps;
- halogen follow-me-home headlights;
- dual-zone climate control;
- six-speaker sound system;
- rear armrest;
- daytime running LEDs;
- chromed electric mirrors;
- all around electric windows;
- multi-function steering wheel;
- reverse camera;
- rear parking sensors;
- dual front airbags;
- cruise control on the petrol only
- tyre pressure monitor;
- ABS with EBD
Next up, the City Hunter mainly benefits from a number of safety systems, namely Autonomous Emergency Braking, Hill Descent Control, Electronic Stability Control, Hill Start Assist and traction control.
Building on the City Hunter, the top-spec petrol only Champion receives a leather wrapped steering wheel and electric adjustment for the driver’s seat.
Strangely, no details regarding the infotainment system was released, but as evident by the model shown two years ago, the B40 Plus boasts a ten-inch display as well as a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, both modelled on Mercedes-Benz units as a result of BAIC’s partnership with the three-pointed star.
A total of six colours are meanwhile offered:
- Ice White;
- Onyx Black;
- Forest Green;
- Ocean Blue;
- Desert Red;
- Sky Blue;
- Military Green
Standard across the entire B40 Plus range is a five year/120 000 km warranty with a four year/60 000 km service plan a cost extra.
- B40 Plus 2.0 TDI – R549 500
- B40 Plus 2.0T AT – R579 500
- B40 Plus 2.0 TDI City Hunter – R579 900
- B40 Plus 2.0T City Hunter AT – R609 500
- B40 Plus 2.0T Champion AT – R629 500