The return of the Borgward brand is spearheaded by the BX7 SUV, a worthy Chinese equivalent of the BMW X3 and Audi Q5
  • First Drive

    Borgward BX7 2017 review

    The return of the Borgward brand is spearheaded by the BX7 SUV, a worthy Chinese equivalent of the BMW X3 and Audi Q5
Mark Tisshaw
24 November 2017

What is it?

Some 50% of Germans still recall the name Borgward, claims the company that’s been reborn under Chinese ownership, although take the five off the front of the number and you’re likely closer to the amount who remember any of the brand’s cars, or its positioning.

They’ll need to be told, then, that Borgward is now a maker of two SUVsthe Audi Q3-sized BX5 and the larger, Audi Q5-sized BX7 tested here. It’s the model that will spearhead its launch into Europe next year as the first of the new wave of Chinese car makers that plans to do so, starting with Germany in the first quarter of 2018, albeit as a plusher BX7 TS version that was revealed at the recent Guangzhou motor show.

It’ll be the Geneva motor show in March before we get full details of the BX7 that's bound for Europe, but tested in standard form here, the BX7 draws power from a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine, driving all four wheels through a six-speed automatic gearbox.

What's it like?

Borgward isn’t holding back in its ambitions. It’s planning a launch price of €44,000 (£39,000) for the BX7 in Germany; that puts it in Q5, BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLC territory, in each of those car makers' back yards. Never mind undercutting them; it’s setting out to match them and compete on an even playing field.

Borgward claims it has every right to do so, because Germany is its back yard too, given how much of the design work took place in Stuttgart and how many Germans are on the team. It’s of little surprise, then, that Borgward has made a car that looks a lot like the Q5.

Yet Borgward’s effort is not a premium car; that much was revealed even on our short test route, limited to some laps of a circuit and a handling track rather than mixing it with Guangzhou’s congested highways.

What it did reveal was a solid, inoffensive SUV, with neutral handling and decent grip, similar in feel to one of the higher-spec mid-sized SUVs from Korea, such as the Hyundai Tucson or Kia Sportage, although you’d always opt for one of those on price alone, let alone how superior they are to the BX7 in terms of perceived quality.

While the BX7's cabin has some nice, comfy leather seats and a decent infotainment screen, it’s lacking those special touches that makes a Mercedes a Mercedes and not a Hyundai. It doesn’t mean it’s not nice; it’s just not premium.

There are good points, though: the powertrain, for one. Unlike other Chinese cars tested recently, the work of the engine and gearbox enhances the driving experience rather than hindering it. The four-wheel drive system aids traction and allows you to get the power down out of a corner, having gone around that corner with a degree of confidence thanks to that predictable handling.

The BX7 is also very spacious, with an airy cabin, lots of rear room for passengers and seating for up to seven occupants, another pair of seats folding out of the boot. It can be ordered with five, six or seven seats, such is the space and flexibility in the rear. 

Should I buy one?

UK sales are in Borgward’s plan, but not yet. It’s up and running in China, but the BX7 was created with global sales in mind, and the firm believes it has created a German car you’d opt for over the established German set and plans to go there first to prove it.

Maybe you’d go for one to be different, but you can be different and buy a Hyundai Tucson, get a better car and still have more than £10,000 left in your pocket. On this early evidence, Borgward has created a solid, old-school 4x4, not a modern trail-blazer that the Chinese car makers planning European launches should seek to follow.

Borgward BX7

Where Guangzhou, China On sale Q1 2018 (in Germany) Price €44,000 (£39,000 for TS version) Engine 4cyls, 1981cc, turbo, petrol Power 221bhp at 5500rpm Torque 221lb ft at 1500-4500rpm Gearbox 6-spd automatic Kerb weight 1740kg Top speed 128mph 0-62mph na Fuel economy na CO2, tax band na Rivals BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLC, Audi Q5 

Join the debate

Comments
14

24 November 2017

They've been showing this for a while now at various maotor-shows. As you say, it's an 'ok' copy of a Q5..does the world really need another? Besides that, if you go on their website they're very proud of their innovative heritage and engineering prowess..where's the evidence of that in this thing? 

24 November 2017

The name Borgward means no more and has no more link to the brand's past, than MG does now.

Citroëniste.

24 November 2017

A brand that is undoubtedly far, far beyond recall for its target market.

Chinese-built, anonymous styling... and Audi-level pricing. For something that most folk will think is a Citroen.

Another fabulous example of the ludicrous egos in the automotive industry. As if the world didn't already have enough bloated SUVs.

24 November 2017
Quality analogy!

Big egos. Tiny Intelligence

24 November 2017

It seems weird to me that the Chinese should take a name most non-Germans can't even pronounce, from a car brand most people in the world (sadly) never knew existed, and graft it on to yet another anonymous SUV that's not only pretty average but ludicrously expensive. I have no objection to Chinese products UNLESS they pretend to have heritage they don't really have, and MG, I'm talking about you too. This is surely doomed to failure.

289

24 November 2017

....absolutely agree with you. it answers an unasked question really. Pointless.

26 November 2017

I read Borgward has been brought back by a member of the Borgward family. They have done a deal with the Chinese, but should everything go okay, start up making in Germany again. So not quite like MG (I hope).

24 November 2017

driven by (from memory) Bill Blydenstein were a feature in racing the 50s and early 60s. I'd guess they were the BMW 5 series of their day. This wretched thing has learnt nothing from the history of the brand they bought. Lumpenly ugly, late to market, ptiched against huge global competition and 15% at least too expensive. Not a chance.

24 November 2017

It will not be long before  the additional letters ast are added after deleting the orgw to its nick name ,sorry cold not resist that.It will then become a right little B---ard.

24 November 2017

As such it should compete against the Santa Fe, Sorento, Kodiaq and 5008 of the world, not the 3008, Tucson and Sportage. It may have some chance if it can compete with these on space, equipment, performance, finish. I am sceptical.

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