BAIC BJ40. The return of the fat.

His performance is martial. A mountain of car and beyond political correctness. The BAIC BJ40 provokes. The Michigan militia would probably have liked him if he was not unfortunately from China. Stupid, because the BJ40 is a true off-road vehicle, far away from any jar of trendy SUV's.

The BAIC BJ40 with Saab engine
The BAIC BJ40 with Saab engine

He has a solid ladder frame, switchable four-wheel drive, off-road gear ratio, a fairly reasonable fording depth and good ground clearance. Parts of the vehicle are manufactured to Chinese military standards, more than 1.1 million kilometers, the BJ40 was tested by the People's Liberation Army, according to the manufacturer. A SUV from the harsh blow of a Land Rover Defender, Hummer, or Jeep Wrangler so. And there should be a Saab engine under the hood?

The thickness is back

A look under the bonnet creates clarity. The fat B235R four-cylinder shows up after removing the plastic cover. His name is now B236R, he cannot deny his Saab origins. Welcome back to Europe! And - hard to believe - how has it changed! BAIC is now installing the engine lengthways. Turns it into an in-line four-cylinder that is flanged to an Aisin 6-speed machine. 9-5 OG drivers would have loved to see this automatic in their Saab.

Life is just not fair.

There are components around the engine that you think you've seen somewhere before. And right, the supplier Delphi and GM parts dominate the engine compartment.

The career of the BAIC BJ40 machine began in 1990 as the B234 in the Saab 9000. In 1995 and 96, the second generation was counted among the 10 best engines in the world. In the BJ40 it has 245 HP, delivers a torque of 350 Nm and meets the Euro 6 standard, which we in Trollhättan were always told about, that it would be impossible to meet with this generation of engines.

We board the BJ40, a functional, rustic setting welcomes us. Suitable for the car and processed routinely. Leather seats and leather steering wheel with contrasting stitching exude a touch of luxury. You do not need a manual for the BAIC off-road vehicle, everything is clear and easy to use. Turn the ignition key to the lock, turn it over, and then it happens.

He is bubbling. V8 or Saab 900?

The BAIC BJ40 roars, then lapses into a bubbling that is a mixture of V8 and Saab 901. What the hell is going on We saw that under the hood there is a 2.3 liter. No V6, no V8! The nice, bubbling sound disappears when the colossus starts moving. With a weight of more than 2 tons and a slight kick-start that the automatic transmission cannot cover.

The steering is indirect, has play, as it must be in real off-road vehicles. The load is surprisingly easy and safe to direct. If you accelerate, then the BJ40 rushes with a martial background noise across the street. It quickly becomes clear that insulation has been used sparingly, everything takes place here very directly and immediately. Not a car for softies, but for old-school guys. In addition, one should not think about the possible consumption, it should hardly be the topic.

BAIC BJ40 conclusion

The BAIC is a vehicle for the niche, and it moves outside of all common test criteria. It is addressed to hunters, farmers, alpine farmers, the military and possibly also militias. The BAIC BJ40 gives the impression of being robust and always mobile over the long term. If necessary, it pulls 2.5 tons, the plastic paneling of the fenders is practical. If you have fun with it, you can remove the front roof halves and get a kind of moving high seat.

Whether the 2.3 liter of Saab is the right machine, in China diesel is not an issue remains an open question. The legendary machines are rugged and sophisticated, but the BJ40 has plenty of sheet metal to move. Space for a V6 or V8 would be an alternative, and also at BAIC one should think about alternatives.

The workmanship fits, some solutions are kept very simple and functional. Much of it reminds of a Jeep Wrangler, the doors for example. But they feel more massive on the China SUV and fall deeper into the lock than the American original. Bad luck again for the Michigan militia.

20 thoughts on "BAIC BJ40. The return of the fat."

  • Saab lives on somewhere anyway!
    Thanks for the report !! I find an interesting thing with the view over the shore!

  • Funny! Thank you. Why, despite 2 tons of weight and ladder frames, may only pull 2.5 tons?

    • I would not rule out the 2.8 tons as an option. Maybe you have not asked for Germany. In China, hardly anyone draws trailers with privately used vehicles. That's not an issue.

  • It is interesting that the engine now meets Euro 6 and has a more up to date gearbox.

    • BAIC has also missed the 2.0 liter Saab Turbo 6 gear Aisin automatic. We probably test in February!

  • I find it interesting to place the windows directly under the radio. Centered driver?

  • Hach, at the first BAIC SUV review, I still thought what the others all nagging.
    But this vehicle has let me jump abruptly on this train.
    This vehicle will never be sold in the Western world. Therefore, I also think that it is now wasted blog capacity to report on these two vehicles.

    • At first glance, it looks a lot like a Jeep. Really cheap plastic inside, I don't want to waste any time of my life in there. next please ...

      • looks easy to wash off. The surfaces of my chrome glasses dusty disgusting.

        Is the interior suitable for off-road use? Trunk, wet sheep and stuff? Question to the editor

        • The editors see the BJ40 as fit for the terrain. However then please choose the simple equipment, possibly there is a military version for sale?

    • Wasted blog capacity?

      Does this question ever decide how to find BAIC?

      The vehicle is not discussed here as a SAAB alternative. The article describes emotionless and objective what makes BAIC out of its licenses and with a SAAB engine. That satisfies one or the other curiosity.

      What is there to nag?

      • Thank you Herbert. My words!

      • Yep, sooooo exactly - I would definitely not buy that part unless I switch to Waidmann again - but I still find it very interesting to read about everything in which even a bit of Saab DNA can be found ... 😉

  • … .You forgot the construction site people as a target group ;-). Hm, ... if the 9-7 is too bad for me for the construction site ????, .. hm ... take a look .. but no! the fat man drives for a long time and I think it will no longer be a pure combustion engine!

  • 6 gear automatic would have been great. You can not have everything. Already crazy these Chinese, put the engine along.

    • How so?

      For many SUVs that may be different, but in real off-road vehicles was and is still common.

  • This report particularly pleases me because of the fact that this engine B234 in the 90er years was counted among the 10 best engines of the world. Now I try all the more to keep my current 9000 turbo alive after 18 years and 360000 km running track. Thank you for this review.

  • ... or install the engine as a spare part dispenser in your first generation 9-5! Saab-refurbished - the first manufacturer who no longer produces new vehicles but "only" puts existing vehicles back on the market. That saves more resources than buying a new electric car. What a business idea! I'm curious who will be the first to surprise us with such a solution ...

  • Too bad that the question remains open.

    I would have loved to read more about how the old SAAB heart beats in the foreign body. But still …

    ... an exciting short report with interesting information. Maybe MapTune will include the BAIC in its program? Then the Swedes can club the Chinese over their gravel roads with at least 300 HP and 400 Nm.

    • You would have to drive the BJ40 longer to answer the open questions. Unfortunately, test vehicles are extremely scarce at the importer and we have no chance of a longer-term lease. The X65 will be the next object in the spring, I think it is even more exciting and he has the Saab 2.0 liter under the hood. Maybe we have the chance to test it a bit longer.

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