BYD has previewed the first model from its new Fang Cheng Bao brand, a rugged plug-in hybrid off-roader, though it has yet to reveal any technical specifications.

    A teaser video published on the company’s social channels reveals the exterior of the new SUV, which will be called the Bao 5 (or Leopard 5).

    Fang Cheng Bao, for reference, translates literally to Formula Leopard.

    The Bao 5 has a similarly boxy appearance to not only the Land Rover Defender and Ford Bronco and Bronco Sport, but also a bevy of new Chinese models like the Jetour Traveller, BYD’s own Yangwang U8, and GWM’s Haval Menglong and Tank 300.

    The new sub-brand’s logo features prominently up front, appearing to resemble sound waves, or mountain peaks reflected in a lake. It’s encircled by a full-width LED daytime running light.

    There are boxy fenders and squared-off wheel arches, as well as an arrow-straight belt line and a similarly rectilinear roofline.

    Down back, there’s a side-hinged tailgate with an external spare tyre carrier, as well as vertically oriented tail lights. The previewed example also has a panoramic sunroof.

    BYD has yet to reveal the interior of the Bao 5, however previous spy photos reveal a luxurious cabin with leather-wrapped surfaces and metal- and crystal-look switches.

    The new brand will slot in under BYD’s upscale Yangwang brand, with a price range of between 400-600,000 yuan (A$84,060 to $126,091). That’s right around what the Land Rover Defender costs in Australia.

    Chinese media reports indicate the SF measures 5m long with a 2.8m wheelbase, feature three differential locks, and use a 405kW dual-motor plug-in hybrid powertrain with a combined range of over 1200km on the lenient CLTC cycle.

    It will also reportedly use BYD’s new DiSus-P suspension system, also known as the Intelligent Hydraulic Body Control System, which also features in the Yangwang U8.

    This can control the oil intake of the damper, damping adjustment valve, and stiffness adjustment valve, while offering travel of up to 200mm.

    This system can also lift all four wheels simultaneously, or independently for a single wheel. BYD claims it can provide an instantaneous 200 per cent increase in stiffness during high-speed cornering or other “intense” driving conditions, while also reducing impact load in a collision.

    Yangwang and Fang Cheng Bao join the Denza brand, formerly a joint venture with Daimler which BYD has now assumed control of. It slots in underneath both brands in terms of pricing.

    It’s unclear if Fang Cheng Bao – and Yangwang, for that matter – will be exported from China.

    BYD is busily embarking on a massive global expansion, with its namesake brand having recently entered markets like Australia and Europe.

    With its export program, however, it has been focusing on its electric vehicles and not its plug-in hybrids.

    The Chinese automaker only produces electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles as of last year.

    BYD has debuted its new Fang Cheng Bao and Yangwang brands with boxy off-roaders, which seem to be the latest craze in the Chinese market.

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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