► Chinese car company arrives in Detroit with new electric concept
► It's said to be able to do 373 miles on a single charge and 0-62mph in 4.4 seconds
► Virtual reality tech for the interior means it doesn't need side windows
You're unlikely to have heard of them just yet, but Guangzhou Automotive Company (GAC) has rolled into Detroit announcing ambitious plans to enter the US market by 2020. The company, which owns the Trumpchi badge, and which used to sell a reheated Saab 9-5 domestically, hopes to be taken seriously with its range of saloons and SUVs.
As well as showing its production line-up, GAC unveiled a new electic concept car at the Detroit motor show. The Enverge is based on a year-old concept concept called the Ensprit, but this one is aggressively styled and comes with the obligatory show-spec butterfly doors that will never get within a million miles of production.
Tell us more about the GAC Enverge concept...
It's predictable stuff, really. An SUV-shaped concept, which is about the same size as a Ford Kuga, and interestingly forgoes side windows. Passengers won't need to see out of the side because of the screens inside, which GAC says incorporates virtual reality technology.
The stuff of dreams, perhaps. The concept is powered by an all-electric drivertrain with a 'production-ready' 71kWh battery, which a GAC engineer said, 'would find its way to Europe soon.'.
Power output is claimed to be 240hp and drive is to all four wheels. Acceleration? Well, the thumb-in-the-air figures suggested by GAC are 0-62mph in 4.4 seconds and a maximum speed of 99mph top speed. Decent range, too, with a Nissan Leaf-beating 373 miles between charges.
Are the production cars closer to reality?
Oh yes. It used the Detroit show to GA4 (above) and GA8 saloons, which looked ready to fight the establishment in the USA – assuming the quality of the cars that go on sale is a little higher than the ones we sat in at the show.
The GA4 is powered by a 1.3-litre or 1.5-litre petrol engine, and has the latest Android-based infotainment technology, featuring voice-activiated remote start.
The GA8 is larger, rivalling the BMW 5 Series in terms of size. It's powered by a 192bhp turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine and has a six-speed torque-converter automatic transmission. No prices were talked about at the show, but we're assuming it's going to be cheap given the strength of the cars it's competing with.