We’re not sure that BMW is going to be too impressed by its name – a working title that will likely make way for a Chinese nomenclature on production versions, we hear. However, the swoopy new Zhonghua M3 managed to impress Beijing show-goers in droves.And it wasn’t just the new two-door’s arresting canary yellow paint scheme that had them jockying for position as the wraps came off, either. No, it was the new coupe’s aggressive but uncharacteristically cohesive styling that had Chinese tongues wagging.
More original than any of Zhonghua’s previous models, the M3 is aiming into a market segment occupied by the likes of the Nissan 350Z, Audi TT Coupe and BMW Z4 Coupe – albiet at a much lower price than any of them.
Production is assured, though parent company Brilliance China Automotive, which ironically has close links with BMW and produces both the 3-series and 5-series in China for domestic sales, refuses to say when or if there are any concrete plans to export the new car.
Among the engines being touted for the new coupe is Zhonghua’s existing turbocharged 1.8-litre four-cylinder, which Brilliance says gives it a top speed of 137mph.