Sometimes you meet old friends unexpectedly again. 3 years ago, when the Saab B235R hit me from a Chinese engine compartment. He was almost the old man, except for a few details. He had now changed his name and heard from now on the name B236R. He had become weaker and had lost one or the other horsepower. Strange was only his installation position. Longitudinal instead of transverse was unfamiliar, but that had already before the Chinese Australier tries.
He's also been in a relationship with a 6-speed automatic since then, which, I have to admit, suited him well. At that time he lived in a drum with a name BAIC BJ40he got on quite well with. No elegant appearance as in the glorious times, more the type of rough logs. His work in the services of the National People's Liberation Army must have made him good, because China's military drove off on him. They saw him as an alternative to the American Humvee, who already has his big days behind him.
The B235R from Saab lives on
Granted, I thought the B235R would be with the Senova line pass on, and the Chinese part of the Saab saga would be finally told. I was wrong because a few days ago the fat guy was talking about himself again. The engine that Saab 9k and 9-5 drivers like to call the “fat one” because 2.3 liters of displacement are distributed over just 4 cylinders.
What is unusual today, but was not at the time it was created. Ford also had a 2.3, Citroen distributed 2,5 liters in 4 pots, and Porsche also poured a lot of 3 liters. Only today, as the age of small engines is coming to an end, does this displacement seem large to us. It is only sensible. With the B235, displacement equates to low speeds, good acceleration, low consumption, few pollutants and relaxed gliding.
The B235R, or also B236R as it wants to be called today, appeared again in a very martial vehicle. The Senova brand became Beijing, and with the new one F40 BAIC introduces the pickup derivative of the BJ40. The robust basic design provides the BJ40, the all-wheel drive is as usual switchable when needed. The B236R engine was taken over unchanged, it performs 245 PS and 350 Nm, which is currently the largest expansion stage. In China, the pickup costs around 19.000 €, for a domestic make a lot.
During my test drive in 2016, the charged 2.3 liter coped quite well with the mountain of sheet metal. There was, of course, a starting weakness that was not known from Saab times. And the engine had also lost its sophistication somewhere. You can see that calmly, because the Beijing F40 will hardly make it to Germany. The unofficial BAIC importer has only two vehicles in the program, which are much more sensible and compared to the pickup toys. In addition, the martial pickup of the green neighborhood could hardly be conveyed.
Nevertheless, the fat B235R lives on. Somewhere in China. That's a melancholy reassuring feeling.