Great Wall Motor (GWM) has introduced yet another spin-off brand, debuting it with a racy electric liftback.
The new brand, called Saloon, debuted at the 2021 Guangzhou motor show with the Mecha Dragon, also known as Jijialong.
A large luxury electric liftback, the Mecha Dragon is limited to 101 units with pre-orders commencing as soon as it was revealed for the price of ￥488,000 (A$103,782).
Powering the Mecha Dragon is a dual-electric motor setup with a total system output of 405kW of power and 750Nm of torque. Saloon claims this is good for a 0-100km/h sprint time of 3.7 seconds.
The electric powertrain is mated to a GWM-developed ‘Dayu’ battery pack of unknown size and Saloon claims the Mecha Dragon has a CLTC range of 802km.
This efficiency standard isn’t as reliable for real-world range as the WLTP standard.
The company also claims the Mecha Dragon has an 800V electrical architecture and a maximum DC fast-charging rate of 480kW.
Saloon also says the Mecha Dragon can be wirelessly charged.
When designing the Mecha Dragon, Saloon’s intention was to “subvert the inherent soullessness of electric vehicles” and create a performance-oriented electric vehicle (EV).
Measuring in at 5.2 metres long, or around 200mm longer than a Tesla Model S, the Mecha Dragon has many striking lines and shapes, with body panels Saloon says has the appearance of armour.
To say the least, the design is polarising – it wouldn’t look out of place in Cyberpunk 2077.
Up front there are squared-off headlights, as well as vents and scoops aiming to evoke a classic sports car aesthetic.
On the side there are riveted wheel arches filled with dark alloy wheels and Brembo high-performance brakes.
Down back there is a full-width light bar, along with an aggressive rear diffuser and fake exhaust pipes that act as either brake or fog lights. There’s also an active spoiler that rises upwards.
Inside, there’s what appears to be a spacious, five-seat interior.
Up front, the array of screens – digital instrument cluster, infotainment touchscreen, and passenger display – stretch almost the entire width of the dashboard.
There’s also a panoramic sunroof, two-spoke steering wheel, Harman/Kardon premium sound system, fingerprint authentication, and a fully-flat second-row floor.
It’s uncertain when Chinese deliveries of the Mecha Dragon will commence. We expect this will be a left-hand drive-only model, and therefore will be off the table for Australia.
This new Saloon marque is the newest in a long line of spin-off brands for Great Wall Motor.
The Chinese company currently has GWM for utes and Haval for SUVs, which are both offered here.
In China, there’s also Wey for more upmarket crossovers, Tank for more rugged SUVs, and Ora for small electric vehicles.
Australia is the currently largest export market for the GWM and Haval brands, putting the company’s local division ahead of other key export markets such as South Africa.
GWM said it had sold 884,045 cars worldwide over the first three quarters of 2021, and 97,946 of these were exported – GWM Australia accounts for 13,200 of the export figure.