Bucking the trend of China's copycat design regime, the Hongqi SUV concept revealed at this week's Beijing auto show is a fairly unique creation, and though it isn't groundbreaking, it's not a barely-disguised imitation either.
Tending firmly toward the production-ready end of the concept car spectrum, the SUV looks like it could go roll off an assembly line - with a few tweaks for practicality - within months, although the company doesn't expect to come to market with the car until 2010. Power for the concept comes from an FAW Group (Hongqi's parent company) V12. No word yet on whether the company has plans to sell the SUV outside of China.
The high belt line extends even further upwards toward the rear, ending in what look like impossibly high haunches. Rearward visibility must be minimal, especially with the tiny sliver of glass in the rear liftgate. Still, the aggressive front fender flares and rear fender vents give the SUV an aggressive look to complement the wedge-shaped vehicle's profile. Judicious use of chrome trim highlights the car's character lines, while a large diffuser surrounds rectangular exhaust outlets in the rear bumper.
Inside, a highly futuristic interior glows blue with backlighting. A set of steering-wheel mounted controls that would impress a Formula 1 driver adorn the concept's helm, while a BMW iDrive-style control knob sits in the middle of the silver-toned center console. Rather than rear-view mirrors, the SUV has what look to be side-winglet mounted cameras and displays mounted in the instrument cluster.
A high-tech array of equipment to be sure, making the wait until 2010 for production to begin a bit more understandable.
For more from the Beijing auto show, head to our dedicated hub.