China's Qoros Automotive Company has formally unveiled its first model at the Geneva Motor Show. The car was teased late last year and dubbed GQ3, but a lawsuit from Audi prompted the startup firm to rechristen it simply 3 Sedan.
If Qoros is concerned about BMW and Mazda responding to the name change, it isn't showing it.
Aimed primarily at buyers below 35-years old, the medium-sized 3 Sedan is the product of a collaboration between China's Chery and Israel Corporation. Penned by ex-MINI designer Gert Volker Hildebrand, it has a high beltline that is strongly reminiscent of the Citroën C5, large alloy wheels and a healthy dose of brushed aluminum trim.
Qoros says that the sedan's design language will influence subsequent models, including a crossover, a station wagon and a SUV.
The 3 Sedan boasts the same amount of interior space as many larger cars. The dashboard's layout is elegant and simple, but the turn signal and windshield wiper stalks look and feel like they were pulled out of a 15-year old economy car.
In order to lure customers from upscale competitors, the 3 Sedan is packed to the brim with high-tech equipment such as a touch screen-based infotainment system, a premium stereo, dual-zone climate control and a LED screen integrated into the instrument cluster.
The entry-level 3 Sedan is offered with a naturally-aspirated 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 126 horsepower and 114 lb-ft. of torque. These numbers go up to 156 and 154, respectively, when the mill is fitted with an optional turbocharger.
Power is sent to the front wheels via either a standard six-speed manual transmission or an optional six-speed dual-clutch automatic unit.
Qoros promises that its sedan will be the first-ever Chinese car to earn a five-star EuroNCAP crash test rating. To achieve that ambitious goal, the company designed the 3 Sedan with input from Bosch, Valeo, Getrag, Continental, Magna-Steyr and Microsoft.
The Qoros 3 Sedan will go on sale in China and in Europe towards the end of 2013. The car will be built in Changshu, China, in a factory that is still under construction. It will have an initial capacity of about 150,000 cars a year but Qoros claims that it can easily bump that number up to 450,000 if necessary.
Live images by Ronan Glon.