The rugged GWM Tank 300 is getting closer to a local launch, with photos sent to CarExpert of right-hand drive versions spied in Melbourne.

    While GWM Australia has yet to officially confirm the Tank 300 – or its larger Tank 500 stablemate – for launch, CarExpert understands both are coming here in 2023.

    That includes a hybrid version of the Tank 300, plus a plug-in hybrid version of the Tank 500, which could result in GWM having six or seven electrified and electric vehicles in Australia by the end of 2023.

    GWM brought an example of the Tank 300 to Australia last year for promotional and testing purposes, along with the Haval Dargo crossover, but both were left-hand drive.

    These are the first right-hand drive examples to be spied.

    While it wears the Tank brand’s Transformers-esque logo up front, on the tailgate it features GWM Tank badging.

    GWM in Australia has been moving away from marketing its GWM Ute and Haval SUV brands separately, merging their websites and reporting sales together in VFACTS.

    Tank models plus upcoming Ora electric vehicles are therefore expected to be marketed as GWM Tank and GWM Ora products, making the GWM brand more of a full-line brand.

    The Tank 300 is a body-on-frame SUV which, in China, is available in both ‘City’ and ‘Off-Road’ editions. The latter appears to be the example brought here.

    It features low-range gearing and front and rear electromechanical locking differentials, and offers a tank turn function (appropriate!) and a creep mode.

    It has an approach angle of 33 degrees, a departure angle of 34 degrees, minimum ground clearance of 224mm and a maximum wading depth of 700mm.

    The standard engine is a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol mill with 167kW of power at 5500rpm and 387Nm of torque between 1800 and 3600rpm, mated with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

    A hybrid version revealed at the Chengdu motor show over the weekend also features a 2.0-litre turbo, but upgrades to a nine-speed automatic and produces total system outputs of 224kW and 640Nm.

    This also slashes the claimed 0-100km/h time from 9.5 seconds to 7.9 seconds.

    A diesel version has previously been mooted, though it has yet to be revealed. It’s unclear whether this would use the 120kW/400Nm 2.0-litre turbo-diesel found in the GWM Ute or the more powerful 137kW of the Shanhai Cannon ute revealed at Chengdu.

    The Tank 300 measures 4760mm long, 1930mm wide and 1903mm tall on a 2750mm wheelbase.

    That makes it 122mm shorter than a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited on a 258mm shorter wheelbase. It’s also shorter than rugged, ute-based fare like the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport and Toyota Fortuner, though it’s 115mm wider than the former and 75mm wider than the latter.

    Unlike those ute-based models, the Tank 300 has only two rows of seating.

    Suspension is double-wishbone up front with a multi-link rear axle, while all off-road models ride on 17-inch wheels with the option of all-terrain tyres. A full-sized spare is mounted on the tailgate.

    Available features include heated, ventilated and massaging power-adjustable front seats, 64-colour adjustable ambient lighting, Nappa leather upholstery, a single-pane sunroof, and a heated steering wheel.

    There’s a full suite of active safety and driver assist equipment available as well, including autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist with lane centring.

    In addition to a standard surround-view camera, there’s also a transparent chassis view designed for off-roading.

    The Tank 300 was initially introduced in China in 2020 as a member of GWM’s upmarket Wey SUV brand, but was spun off into its own brand in 2021.

    It was followed by the larger Tank 500, which sits between the Toyota LandCruiser Prado and 300 Series in size, and which was revealed last year in both turbo-petrol V6 and turbo-petrol hybrid four-cylinder guises.

    A turbo-petrol plug-in hybrid four-cylinder version of the 500 was also revealed over the weekend at Chengdu.

    The brand has also revealed a range of production-looking concept vehicles, all of which similarly feature body-on-frame construction.

    These include the aggressively styled 400 and 700, plus the ostentatious 800 flagship SUV.

    MORE: GWM plans sprawling hybrid, PHEV, EV range for Australia

    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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