Two versions of the GWM Tank 500 have landed in Australia, with the large body-on-frame SUVs spied outside the company’s headquarters in Melbourne.

    These photos obtained by CarExpert show a camouflaged right-hand drive Tank 500 prototype, as well as an uncamouflaged left-hand drive Tank 500 plug-in hybrid (PHEV).

    The disguised example could either be a mild-hybrid or hybrid version of the Tank 500 as it doesn’t have a charging flap on the right-hand side.

    The latter on the other hand appears to be a Chinese-spec model with prominent PHEV badging and an eye-catching two-tone black-and-white paint job.

    We’ve reached out to GWM Haval Australia to enquire why these two Tank 500s are in Australia and will update this story once we hear back. It’s likely they’re here for local testing and evaluation purposes.

    It’s still unconfirmed if the GWM Tank 500 will launch in Australia, but the company’s local arm said last August it’s expanding its range of “new energy vehicles” (i.e. hybrids, pure-electric vehicles) in 2023.

    As CarExpert reported, this could mean a total of six or seven new energy vehicles by the end of 2023, which could potentially include the Tank 500 hybrid and Tank 500 PHEV.

    The smaller GWM Tank 300 Hybrid is already on sale locally.

    The Tank 500 is sized between the Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series and LandCruiser Prado, neither of which are available with an electrified powertrain yet.

    The Prado is understood to be getting a hybrid, while the rival Ford Everest is set to get a PHEV.

    The regular GWM Tank 500 was revealed in August 2021 at the Chengdu motor show in China.

    It’s powered by a 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 petrol engine with a 48V mild-hybrid system producing 260kW of power and 500Nm of torque. This is mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission, with drive sent through a four-wheel drive system.

    The Tank 500 Hybrid followed a few months after the V6-powered model and was revealed in Thailand.

    It’s powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine, an electric motor housed within the nine-speed automatic transmission, and a 1.7kWh battery pack. Total system outputs are 180kW and 380Nm.

    The Tank 500 PHEV was revealed in December last year at the Guangzhou motor show in China.

    It’s powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, an electric motor, and a 19.94kWh battery pack. Total system outputs are 300kW and 750Nm, which makes it the most powerful variant thus far.

    The Tank 500 uses a variation of the Tank 300’s body-on-frame architecture.

    The interior of the Tank 500 range is lavish with quilted leather upholstery, a crystal-look gear selector, and wood trim. It also has a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 14.6-inch touchscreen infotainment system.

    GWM Tank has a number of other large SUV models in the pipeline, including the aggressively-styled 700 and flagship 800 which was revealed in concept form in 2021.

    The Tank brand was launched globally in 2021, and aims this year to sell 350,000 vehicles globally and achieve the highest off-road SUV market share in China and third-highest globally.

    It aims to sell 500,000 vehicles in 2025 and become the top off-road SUV brand in the world in terms of market share.

    It sold 123,881 vehicles globally in 2022, making it Great Wall Motor’s third best-selling brand ahead of electric vehicle brand Ora (103,996) and premium crossover brand Wey (36,381).

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    MORE: GWM plans sprawling hybrid, PHEV, EV range for Australia
    MORE: 2022 Tank 500 Hybrid revealed, under consideration for Australia
    MORE: GWM sold another million cars last year, 170,000 outside China

    Jack Quick

    Jack Quick is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne. Jack studied journalism and photography at Deakin University in Burwood, and previously represented the university in dance nationally. In his spare time, he loves to pump Charli XCX and play a bit of Grand Theft Auto. He’s also the proud owner of a blue, manual 2020 Suzuki Jimny.

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