- BAIC B40 Plus offers the go-anywhere capability you need in a 4x4.
- Comes with a stylish exterior and interior design with lots of kit for tech-savvy consumers.
- Military roots, but honed to modern standards for discerning drivers.
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Chinese automotive conglomerate BAIC is no stranger to the vehicle market. The 59-year-old company is one of China's fifth-largest automotive manufacturers in terms of income and profit, and it's looking to claim its stake in the adventure vehicle market in South Africa with the launch of its newest model, the new BAIC B40 Plus.
BAIC's South African assembly plant in Coega was officially launched in December 2015, and factory construction kicked off in August 2016. The brand's first production units of SKD vehicles came off the assembly plant floor in July 2018. Now, after years of honing and refining the B40 Plus 4x4 for the local market, it's ready to take on the challenges that South Africa has to offer.
Attractive pricing in the segment
The B40 Plus is priced competitively, offering great features in all models in the line-up. The range starts from R549 500 and goes up to R629 500 for the top-of-the-range offering.
According to Basil Costa, senior manager for sales and marketing at BAIC South Africa, the B40 Plus is poised to captivate South African consumers: "I look forward to seeing the B40 PLUS taking over South African roads soon. We believe the market will be pleasantly surprised at just how much vehicle they are getting with the B40 Plus."
The vehicle's bold design features large headlights with Daytime Running Lights (DRL) and front and rear fog lamps. According to BAIC, the vertical windshield design, large exterior mirrors, and high seating position contribute to excellent all-round visibility for the driver and passengers.
The company says noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) dampening is provided by Liquid Application Sound Deadening (LASD) technology, which increases the application area of the sound-dampening material in a vehicle by 50%. They also say it's environmentally friendly and allows for weight reduction in the car while resulting in increased noise reduction.
BAIC claims that it doesn't matter if you're travelling city streets or exploring hidden paths. You get to do it in comfort and style in the B40 Plus with a dual-zone air-conditioning system, six-speaker audio system, colour-coded interior trims, chrome accents, and to top it all off, and you even get reclining rear seats. There are also features such as a reverse camera, Park Distance Control (PDC), and a customisable Multi-Information Display (MID) to ensure the driver is always aware of the vehicle's vitals.
Costa expounds: "The B40 Plus is more than capable off-road. Our testing covered extreme environmental adaptability, a process called '5 high and 1 drought', which included high temperature, high altitude, high humidity, high cold, high salt content and of course, a drought. This stringent testing process ensures adaptability to extreme conditions that are 10% higher than regular passenger vehicles."
He notes that off-road ability on its own did not inspire the vehicle's design, saying that B40 Plus is designed with practicality and everyday functionality at the forefront.
The B40 Plus has a double-wishbone and coil-spring independent front suspension system, while the rear suspension setup is a five-link with coil-spring non-independent unit. The overhangs on the car are minimal and, combined with a ground clearance of 210mm, which results in a respectable approach angle of 37 degrees, departure angle of 31 degrees and ramp-over angle of 23 degrees.
The selectable 4x4 system with a mechanical centre transfer case and rear differential lock allows driver to have complete control over the engine's power, depending on the terrain, conditions, and requirements.
It comes with a whole lot of kit
The B40 Plus comes standard with a host of active and passive safety features such as an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) and Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), and Electronic Parking Brake (EPB) across all models. High-end models also feature Electronic Stability Programme (ESP), Emergency Brake Assist (EBA), Traction Control System (TCS), Hill Ascent Control (HAC) and Hill Descent Control (HAC).
The B40 Plus also boasts a "built-in cage anti-roll body structure and anti-roll bar framework" composed of a high strength steel plate and pipe beam. According to BAIC, this engineering style allows the B40 Plus to maintain its structural integrity in a 50-metre hillside roll.
The vehicle is available in a 2.0-litre petrol turbo guise, or you can have it with a 2.0-litre diesel turbo setup. The petrol engine punches out 160kW at 5500rpm and 320Nm from as low as 1750rpm. The diesel unit produces out 110kW at 4000rpm and 350Nm of torque from 1800rpm.
The vehicle is available in the following colours: Ice White, Onyx Black, Desert Red, Military Green, Forest Green, Sky Blue and Ocean Blue. All models come with a five-year or 120 000km warranty. Service intervals are 15 000km or one year, whichever comes first. You can add service plans or maintenance plans based on your needs at the dealer level.
2021 BAIC B40 Plus range and pricing in South Africa
- BAIC B40 Plus 2.0TDi - R549 500
- BAIC B40 Plus 2.0TDi City Hunter - R579 500
- BAIC B40 Plus 2.0T - R579 500
- BAIC B40 Plus 2.0T City Hunter - R609 500
- BAIC B40 Plus 2.0T Champion - R629 500