GAC Trumpchi Empow is the alternative Audi RS 3 for China


Just like there are alternative medicines, there are alternative cars.

For some reason, the Audi RS 3 Sedan and its Sportback sibling are not available (yet) in China, and let’s assume that you can’t even afford the regular A3 Sedan (A3L) which costs RMB 209,600 (US$ 32,892). The cheapest RS model in China currently is the RS 4 Avant which costs RMB 828,800 (US$ 130,048). So, what would you do? That’s right! You decide to go with the GAC Trumpchi Empow, because at least from the front and front-three-quarters it looks like an Audi RS 3. It carries a starting price tag of RMB 98,300 (US$ 15,425) which is less than half the price of the A3L Sedan in China.

If you block the logo at the front and ask someone to guess the car, they might not say the exact model name, but they’ll surely think it is some new RS model from Audi. However, it’s a different story if you see the car from the side and from the rear-three-quarters; it looks like a mash-up of a Kia Stinger and a bunch of other cars. The “carbon fibre” elements you see all around are, well, faux carbon fibre. Nevertheless, the Trumpchi Empow looks pretty stylish. The 18-inch wheels (16-inch standard) can be optionally wrapped with Michelin performance tires.

The compact sedan measures 4,700 mm long, 1,850 mm wide and 1,432 mm tall, with a wheelbase of 2,736 mm. Clearly, the Trumpchi Empow is larger than the A3/RS 3, which is another advantage for the buyers.

The cockpit is stylish too and certainly looks inspired by other premium models but I can’t seem to figure out which ones they are. But anyway, key features depending on the trim include a 10.25-inch driver display, a 10.25-inch central touchscreen, personal AI assistant, 6-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, 4-way power-adjustable front passenger’s seat, heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, 6-speaker audio, 32-color ambient lighting, and the usual ADAS suite.

Empowering output figures nonetheless
The Trumpchi Empow doesn’t get a 400 metric hp 2.5-litre in-line 5-cylinder TFSI engine, if that’s not already obvious to you. Instead, you’ve to make do with a 1.5-litre 4-cylinder turbo petrol unit that pumps out 130 kW (177 metric hp) and 270 Nm (199 lb-ft) of torque. A 7-speed DCT channels the output to the front wheels. GAC claims a 0-100 km/h (62 mph) sprint time of 6.95 seconds, which is not bad at all, and the car’s kerb weight is claimed to be about 1,400 kg (3,086 lbs). Also, notice that the steering wheel has a little exhaust button. Yup! fake exhaust note is being pumped into the cabin for a proper alternative experience.

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