General Motors’ SAIC-GM-Wuling joint venture has unveiled its fourth crossover model range to be sold under the popular Baojun brand: the compact Baojun RS-5. It will slot in above the subcompact Baojun 510 and compact Baojun 530, offering buyers a more upscale option in the red-hot CUV space, at the same time birthing a “new alpha-numeric naming strategy for Baojun products,” according to a press release.
Now, to address the elephant in the room: “RS5” is already the name of a more performance-oriented version of the midsize Audi A5 car. True, there’s no hyphen in the Audi’s name as-written, but seeing as automakers quite often trademark names adjacent to the ones they plan on using, and considering that the Audi RS5 is in fact sold in China, we wouldn’t be surprised to see the Baojun RS-5 change names later on down the line.
General Motors hasn’t revealed any details about the new crossover, apart from the name and a few high-resolution shots of the model’s handsome exterior design, saying only that additional details will become available as the model draws closer to launch. However, given that it shares a size class with the Baojun 530, it’s a fair bet that the powertrain could be rather similar to that CUV’s.
The Baojun 530 offers a choice of either a 135-horsepower, naturally-aspirated 1.8-liter I4, or a 148-horsepower, turbocharged 1.5-liter I4. In the Chinese market, the latter engine is available only with a five-speed automated manual, while the former is paired with either a six-speed dual-clutch or a proper six-speed manual transmission.
While Baojun is still very much a volume brand in the Chinese market, the forthcoming Baojun RS-5 could be seen as a play to stretch slightly up-market – a maneuver that could pay off as China’s automobile market continues to mature.
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