Dongfeng kicks off "Warrior" brand with two 1,000-hp 4WD concepts
China's third-largest automaker Dongfeng has fired up a luxury off-road brand called Mengshi (Warrior), and launched it with a pair of tricked-out, military-inspired, thousand-horsepower 4WD concepts that look, well ... about as Chinese as apple pie.
Committing to get at least one model a year onto the market starting in 2023, out of a 485-acre factory that's already under construction, Mengshi showed off the new and forward-looking skateboard chassis that'll underpin its initial vehicles. The underfloor battery holds up to 140 kWh, for a "cruising range" around 500 km (310 miles), but these will also be built in range-extended plug-in hybrid versions with range figures up to 800 km (497 miles).
This chassis is fully steer-by wire and brake-by-wire, taking nothing but electronic signals from the controls in the cabin. This is because Mengshi plans to make its cars run autonomously as soon as possible. Which will be a bit of a pity, since four motors totaling 800 kW (1,073 hp) and somewhere over 16,000 Nm (11,800 lb-ft) of torque will probably be better appreciated by a human driver than a robot with scant idea of just how wild that is.
Acceleration-wise, you can expect these cars to hit 100 km/h (62 mph) in around 4.2 seconds, which is a bit of a sad result, clearly dragged down by their ~3,500-kg (7,700-lb) weight. Mind you, the thousand-pony GMC Hummer EV is reportedly hitting 60 mph (96 km/h) in 3.3 seconds, and it's a couple thousand pounds heavier, so we're not sure Mengshi has much of an excuse here.
One other notable perk to this chassis is rear wheel steering-by-wire, which helps give these cars a reasonably tight 5.1-m (16.7-ft) turning circle. This system also enables low-speed sideways "crab walking," as well as the ability to steer the rear wheels into a skid in a loss of traction scenario. There's multiple electronic "diff locks," as well as electronically controlled long-travel air suspension, and intelligent "road recognition" systems incorporating regular and night-vision cameras, to feed a level 3 autonomous driving system.
The M-Terrain concept SUV, which Autohome describes as "highly close to mass production," looks every bit as aggressively outsized and fighty as anything out of Detroit. Probably more, in fact, you've probably got to look as far as California or Florida to find designs drenched in this much testosterone. The M-Terrain S takes things up a notch with a jeepy sort of pickup design that sacrifices storage space for a tough-looking and otherwise less useful fastback/pickup shape.
Some version of this thing will hit the streets in 2023, and Mengshi expects the brand to be a success, since it's building out its factory on the assumption that it'll pump out at least 100,000 vehicles a year. Yee haw.