BAIC BJ40 Plus To Let Malaysians Live The Wranger Life For Less

The BAIC BJ40 Plus is set to only cost around RM 190k when it eventually lands locally.

While it may be an interest that eludes most, there are nevertheless some in Malaysia who really do want a Jeep Wrangler in their life. Though given that modern iterations of this iconic American off-roader currently retail on the grey market for close to RM 300,000, this desire for those who have it unfortunately remains just that. 

Happily however, salvation may be soon upon this particular Jeep-loving crowd of more modest means. Such is as landing imminently in Malaysia is not just to be the Tank 300 from GWM, but BAIC has also recently announced too that it will be bringing in its own Wrangler copy — the BJ40 Plus. 

Set to be launching locally alongside the X55 C-segment SUV as BAIC’s debut models in Malaysia, the most pertinent bit of information regarding this BJ40 Plus is for its sole variant to cost from between RM 180,000 and RM 200,000. And yes, it should be highlighted too that one can indeed remove the doors and top from this Chinese off-roader, if one so wishes to fully commit to the authentic Wrangler experience. 

Of course, it should go without saying too that beneath the body of this BJ40 Plus is sitting on a traditional ladder frame chassis. There is naturally also to be drive being sent to all four of its wheels as well in this Chinese off-roader, with this function coming courtesy a Borg-Warner part-time four-wheel drive system offering three modes: 2H, 2L, and 4L. 

As for what sends power to those four wheels meanwhile, paired to the aforementioned four-wheel drive system is a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-pot and 8-speed ZF automatic transmission pairing. BAIC currently quotes for the boosted power plant to churn out a reasonable 221 hp and 380 Nm of torque, but perhaps more interesting is for this engine to supposedly be a Saab motor in its past life. 

Now turning the discussion towards its exterior, the BJ40 Plus’ dimensions of 4,645 mm in length, 1,925 mm in width and 1,871 mm in height, with a 2,745 mm-long wheelbase, is near as damn it the same size as the current four-door Wrangler. Its boxy side profile and exposed spare wheel hanging off from its rump would also lead more than a few to mistake this as a Jeep at first glance as well, though BAIC has likely given this Chinese off-roader some moulded headlights flanking its 5-U front grille in an attempt to mitigate a copyright lawsuit. 

Moving along inside, the tri-central turbine air vents and floating central touchscreen does seem for BAIC to have taken its interior inspirations from Mercedes-Benz instead of Jeep. There is nevertheless a good reason however as to why this cabin design comes from an older generation of three-pointed star, as this particular iteration of BJ40 has already landing locally was actually first launched all the way back in 2014, with there actually a successor to it that launched late last year in China. 

In any case, this comparatively old-style cabin does still pack the usual boat-load of toys that Chinese cars are known for. These include a leather-wrapped steering wheel, dual-zone climate control, a 12.3-inch LCD gauge cluster, a 10-inch central touchscreen, interior ambient lighting, powered driver’s seat, a six-speaker audio system and a reverse camera. 

BAIC is currently set to locally-assemble the BJ40 Plus at the EMPB plant in Melaka, but it has yet to firmly announce when exactly local sales will commence. Given that the order books have already been swung open however, it should really be not too long after the Q4 2024 launch of its X55 sibling before this deliveries of this Chinese Jeep will kick off in Malaysia. 

And just an interesting aside here at the end, the BJ40 moniker was actually first used on yet another Jeep-esque off-roader, as it is the name for diesel-powered variant of the iconic Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser. It still remains to be seen however as to whether this current use of the name on this Chinese Wrangler will eventually rise to the heights of its Japanese namesake predecessor…

Joshua Chin

Automotive journalist. Professional work on and Personal writing found at Instagram: @driveeveryday

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