Recently revived Borgward is already working on its second SUV

Once an important player on the European market thanks to its affordable cars and large trucks, German brand Borgward was revived after a 54-year hiatus at the 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show. But, against all rumors and despite its past, Borgward returned to the market with a seven-seat SUV. Dubbed BX7, the brand’s first modern vehicle is a daring proposition. Built and developed in cooperation with Chinese truck manufacturer Foton, the BX7 is aimed at the premum market and Borgward hopes to compete against the likes of BMW X3 and Audi Q5. Although final production version and info about pricing and availability have yet to be unveiled, Borgward is already planning to showcase a second SUV.

According to our skilled paparazzi, who just sent us a batch of fresh photos depicting a camouflaged crossover, Borgward is readying a smaller hauler for the 2016 Geneva Motor Show. It is called the BX5 and will slot right under the BX7 and above a smaller, future mini SUV to be launched as the BX3. The BX5 is part of Borgward’s plan to join the market with a three-model lineup and it seems that the German-Chinese venture is more serious than we imagined.

Details as to what the BX5 might bring to the market are slim, but there are rumors that provide strong hints about this mini SUV, and that’s exactly what we will discuss in the speculative review below.

Keep reading to find out more about the Borgward BX5.

Exterior

2017 Borgward BX5 Exterior Spyshots
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Despite the heavy camouflage, there are quite a number of details to glance at. First of all, the headlamps are in plain sight and unless we’re looking at prototype units, they’re quite different than the one seen on the BX7. The same goes for the front grille, which seems similar to the BX7’s as far as shape goes, but sports a different slat configuration. These are angled toward the sides and are finished in chrome. Given that a concept version of the SUV is reportedly set to debut at the Geneva Motor Show, this test vehicle should be pretty close to the final show car. If that is the case, than the BX5 should be a significant departure from the BX7 design-wise, and employ a more mundane appearance.

The BX5 should be a significant departure from the BX7 design-wise, and employ a more mundane appearance.

But, I’m not jumping to any conclusions until I see the real thing at Geneva.

As for similarities to its bigger sibling, the BX5 seems to have the same sculpted engine hood and muscular waistline. Around back, the tailgate appears to have a similar design with a large trapezoidal recess for the license plate. The bumper also seems to sport a similar shape. On the other hand, the taillights are different.

Interior

Since our photographers didn’t manage to snap shots of the interior, the BX5’s cabin remains a mystery. But judging by the BX7’s, which featured an impressive amount of premium appointments for a China-built vehicle, I’m guessing that the BX5 should boast soft-touch surfaces, leather-wrapped seats, contrast stitching, and some aluminum inserts. At least in its range-topping trim.

The BX7 also has a 12.3-inch infotainment system with Apple and Android connectivity and a WiFi hot-spot function, but it remains to be seen whether the BX5 will get similar features. Borgward may go with a more affordable package, but it all depends on where this crossover will be offered. If it makes it to Europe as rumored, these features will be mandatory in the premium segment.

Drivetrain

2017 Borgward BX5 Exterior Spyshots
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The only bit of info we know about the BX5 is that it is built on the same underpinnings as the BAIC Senova X55. Don’t worry if you haven’t heard about it, it’s an SUV specifically built for the Chinese market by Beijing Auto. It was unveiled at the 2015 Shanghai Motor Show and went on sale at the end of 2015 with a range of 1.5-liter four-cylinder engines.

If current market trends are any indication, the mini SUV should use the same 2.0-liter four-pot found in the BX7

But, unlike the X55, the BX5 won’t get 1.5-liter engines. If current market trends are any indication, the mini SUV should use the same 2.0-liter four-pot found in the BX7. In the latter, the unit cranks out 221 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque, which is delivered from as low as 1,750 rpm. If Borgward uses this engine, it will likely be detuned to just under 200 horses. Both the six-speed automatic and the seven-seed dual-clutch transmissions of the BX7 should be offered, along with an optional all-wheel drive system.

Don’t expect the BX5 to be a performer, though. With around 200 horsepower, the sprint from 0 to 60 mph should take around nine seconds, while top speed will probably sit around the 120-mph mark. This should be enough to give the entry-level BMW X1 a run for its money, but it won’t match the German crossover as far as dynamics go.

Prices

It’s too early to talk about prices given that the BX5 won’t be available in Europe anytime soon. Word has it that the crossover might be ready to hit European dealerships sometime in 2018 and a lot can happen between now and then. Don’t even think about getting a Borgward in the U.S. either, as the German brand doesn’t plan to bring its products on this side of the pond.

Competition

BMW X1

2016 BMW X1 High Resolution Exterior
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The BMW X1 started the luxury, compact crossover niche in 2009 and it has had the market nearly to itself ever since. For 2016, the mini SUV received many changes, including BMW’s new design language and a brand-new platform with a front-wheel drive configuration. Motivation comes from two gasoline and two diesel engines. The smallest gas unit displaces 1.5 liters and cranks out 134 horsepower. There’s also a 2.0-liter four-banger rated at 189 or 228 horses. The diesel lineup also includes a 1.5-liter three-cylinder, rated at 114 horses, and a 2.0-liter four-pot with 148, 187, or 228 horsepower. The BMW X1 retails from €30,300 (about $33,370) in Germany.

Find out more about the BMW X1 here.

Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class

2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Brought into showrooms for the 2015 model year, the GLA is Mercedes’ first venture in this market. Specifically designed to compete with the BMW X1 and Audi Q3, the GLA slots right below the Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class as the smallest crossover in the company’s lineup. Like the X1, the GLA is available with several gasoline and diesel engines. The gas lineup includes a 1.6-liter four-cylinder with 120 and 154 horsepower and a 2.0-liter four-pot with 208 horses. A revised version of the latter pumps 355 horsepower in the range-topping GLA 45 AMG. On the diesel front, there’s a 1.5-liter rated at 108 horses and a 2.1-liter that generates either 134 or 168 horsepower. Pricing for the GLA starts from €27,786 (around $30,600) in its home market.

Read more about the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class here.

Conclusion

2017 Borgward BX5 Exterior Spyshots
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With no actual details to run, by, it’s way too early to draw a conclusion about the BX5. Making things that much more difficult is the fact that the larger BX7 has yet to hit dealerships, and we might not see it in Europe until 2017. If the BX7 is any indication, the BX5 should sport an appealing exterior design and a well appointed interior. However, there’s a big chance that this new Borgward will also be underpowered and significantly slower than its main competitors. Unless it opts to aim it toward offerings such as the Nissan Qashqai, Borgward will have a hard time competing with established luxury automakers such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Audi. Stay tuned for an update from the Geneva Motor Show.

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    • * Unknown drivetrain
    • * Chinese underpinning might not be too reliable
    • * Won’t be offered outside Asia until 2018
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