China’s answer to the Toyota LandCruiser is testing on Sydney streets, with the GWM Tank 500 expected to launch in Australia in late 2024.
The 2024 GWM Tank 500 has been caught on camera in Sydney, wrapped in camouflage and sporting Victorian number plates.
A keen-eyed Drive reader spotted the Tank 500 prototype being tested in the Sydney suburb of Newtown, with GWM – the Chinese automotive giant formerly known as Great Wall Motors – expected to launch the SUV locally in the coming months.
The 500 will sit above the recently-launched 300 under the Tank family of off-road vehicles, with up to seven seats and powered by a 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 petrol engine producing 265kW and 500Nm, utilising mild-hybrid assistance.
A conventional hybrid 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine may also join the range – producing 180kW and 380Nm – however, Drive understands a turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine is also a possibility, and could be borrowed from the GWM Ute.
The Tank 500 is expected to launch as a value alternative to the LandCruiser Prado and the LandCrusier 300 Series – with the 500’s dimensions sitting comfortably between the two Toyota heavyweights – while also aiming to steal customers away from the likes of the Ford Everest and Mitsubishi Pajero Sport.
The Tank 500 measures in at 4878mm long (or 5070mm with the tailgate-mounted spare wheel), 1934mm wide, and 1905mm tall, with a wheelbase of 2850mm and 224mm of ground clearance.
At the vehicle’s launch in September 2021, Chinese media reported the 500 had an approach angle of 29.6 degrees, a departure angle of 24 degrees, and a 22-degree break-over angle – matching or exceeding specifications of the current Prado.
It’s understood GWM has had at least one Tank 500 in Australia undergoing evaluation since the start of this year, as reported by Drive in February – however, the brand has yet to confirm the model for the Australian market.
“The Tank 500 is under consideration but is not confirmed at this stage for this market,” a GWM spokesman told Drive in February 2023.
“However, given that we have an example here under evaluation, it shows you how seriously we are considering it for Australia,» the spokesperson said at the time.
“We know Australian families have a passion for the great outdoors and for four-wheel-drives and SUVs, and we think the Tank 500 offers a compelling proposition in its segment.”
Overseas, the Tank 500 is available with part-time, low-range four-wheel drive for off-roading, three locking differentials (front, centre and rear), and hill-descent control, along with 11 terrain modes – though it’s not clear whether all of these options will be available across all variants.
Australian specifications aren’t yet locked in, but overseas models come with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster ahead of the driver, a 14.6-inch infotainment screen, a small display for rear-seat climate control, a leather and wood trim interior, and a premium sound system.
The tailgate can be optioned as either a traditional top-hinged door (as is common on wagons and SUVs), or a side-hinged door (as seen on the Toyota LandCruiser Prado), while access to the cabin is made easier with power-operated running boards.
While yet to be confirmed, the 2024 GWM Tank 500 is expected to be launched in Australia later this year.
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