This CKD second-generation GAC GS3 is currently slated to be launched locally come April time.
Those who currently have their sights on a Proton X50 might just want to hold off on their purchase for now, as there might be a stylish new alternative landing locally rather soon in the form of the GAC GS3.
Credible sources have recently suggested for the local assembly of this Chinese compact crossover has already begun over here at Tan Chong’s Segambut plant, with it set to likely debut in Malaysia sometime around April. Though of course the bigger scoop here is that this new GAC GS3 will apparently be launching with a price tag of less than RM 99,000, which will certainly see it be a tempting choice over the similarly priced Proton X50 or even Honda WR-V.
Just to clear things up a bit first however, it is probably worth highlighting that this locally-assembled Chinese crossover is to be the second-generation of GS3 compact crossover which was launched back in its home market early last year, and not to be confused with the first iteration that actually debuted in Malaysia in late 2021. Seeing as there really aren’t too many of the first-gen models on the road over here even now though, you will be forgiven to think that this is upcoming arrival is the first model that GAC will be launching over here.
In any case, getting back to what can be expected from this Chinese compact crossover, the USP of this upcoming GS3 will likely be its exciting exterior aesthetic. Starting up front, this compact crossover nets what GAC dubs a ‘Flying Mecha’ front fascia, which consists of its unique angular frameless grille flanked by a set of equally-angular and slim LED headlights.
These angular lines and creases continue further on from the front towards the rear, with the profile of this compact crossover complimented by flush-fitting door handles and 18-inch alloy wheels. A set of angular LED 3D-effect tail light clusters is joined by a small ducktail-style spoiler moulded into the rump, which is then topped off by another an aggressive-looking spoiler mounted to its roof.
As for the more boring exterior specs meanwhile, the GS3 comes in at 4,410 mm long and 1,850 mm wide, with a 2,650 mm wheelbase. This therefore makes it some 80 mm longer, 50 mm wider and 9 mm lower, with a 50 mm longer wheelbase than the Proton X50.
Touching on what lies under the hood on the other hand, the front wheels of this upcoming GS3 will likely driven by a 1.5 litre turbo four-cylinder via seven-speed (wet) dual-clutch transmission. The aforementioned boosted four-banger is currently rated in its home market at 177 hp and 270 Nm of torque, which in turn apparently translates to a century sprint time of 7.5 seconds.
Now moving on inside, the GS3 (in its home market at least) comes with all the mod-cons one will expect from a compact crossover. These include a twin-screen digital instrument cluster and central infotainment display with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, automatic climate control with rear vents, a powered tailgate, and just for that added touch of class, a Crystal Shifter for gear selection and interior ambient lighting with 32 different colours to choose from.
In its home market too, the GS3 nets a wide range of cabin colour choices to interior colour choices that includes fairyland green, light grey with vibrant orange accents and classic black with mysterious light wave blue. It remains to be seen however on whether these options will make it into the locally-assembled versions over here, or will Malaysians have to make do with the typically conservative single black offering.
Similarly, it also remains to be seen if the GS3 will land locally with the range-topping R-Style variant, which brings with it even more butch-ness courtesy of additional aero add-ons like front splitters and rear diffuser elements, as well as larger blacked-out 19-inch wheels and other assorted orange exterior accents. This top-tier trim further nets an additional Sport+ driving mode in its home market, in addition to the full suite of advanced driver assistance features that includes adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, traffic jam assist, lane-keep assist, and traffic sign recognition.
What is nevertheless already confirmed however is for this RM 60 million CKD project helmed by WTC Automotif to be the Guangzhou-based state-owned carmaker’s first ever auto-production project outside of China. Its local custodians also currently aim to open more than 70 showrooms in Malaysia in the near future, building upon its first flagship showroom that already opened in Section 13 of Petaling Jaya, behind the Renault showroom under TC Euro Cars.
Given too that it was recently spotted roaming that very neighbourhood is a camouflaged GAC Aion S Plus all electric sedan, it can be expected that this Chinese marque might have more than one offering in its local lineup by the end of 2024. Exciting times ahead!