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.
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.