Since the internet and instant news rather takes the secret out of a new model launch, there has been plenty of hype and speculation regarding the GWM Tank that stepped up a gear when it was shown at the Festival of Motoring last year – but the time for that is over and it is a reality; officially launched and on showroom floors.

CHANGECARS had the opportunity to test drive the newcomer, including a fairly technical run through some of the obstacles at the De Wildt 4x4 centre, including the very challenging ‘Gert se Klip’ that, although short, gets to being around a 30 degree climb.

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There will be two model ranges of the Tank with the petrol-hybrid in three variations leading the way to be followed later in the year by a 2,0-litre petrol lineup.

The Hybrid Electric version of the GWM Tank 300 is equipped with an iBooster Intelligent Braking System that allows for energy regeneration during braking and pushes out a combined power figure of 255 kW (petrol engine: 180 kW at 5 500 r/min 78 kW from the and electric motor).

The combined torque is 648 Nm (Petrol engine: 380 Nm from 1 700 r/min and electric motor 268 Nm) and this drives through a 9-speed hydraulica automatic gearbox and GWM claims fuel consumption of 8,4 l /100 km in a combined cycle – something I did not check on the launch drive but will monitor when I get a unit for full Road Review.

“As the first model in the new GWM Tank range, the 300 must firmly establish the range’s credentials of luxury, true off-road performance and durability. And it does so with aplomb,” says Bianca van Staden, the head of Marketing, Brand and PR of GWM South Africa.

The Tank 300 2.0T 9HAT 4x4 Super Luxury at R851 950 spearheads the launch rollout with two 8-speed auto models in Super and Ultra Luxury specification joining later this quarter.

On price the Tank 300 flagship comes up against the likes of the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport 2.4DI-D 4x4 and Toyota Fortuner 2.8GD-6 VX.

“Our engineers accepted nothing as sacred in designing the GWM Tank 300. We relooked every aspect of a true off-road model to create a vehicle where durability does not mean you sacrifice design, off-road capability does not mean that you have to compromise on on-road driving comfort and utility does not come at the expense of luxury,” says Van Staden.

The GWM Tank 300 is built on a ladder frame chassis that uses mostly 1 500 Mpa steel for greater rigidity and crash-test performance. Mounted to the ladder frame is a multi-link rear suspension and a double-wishbone front suspension.

The passenger cell is fitted to the top of the ladder frame with special rubber mountings that absorb road noise and vibration and, indeed, the overall quiet inside inside the cabin and the way in which the suspension worked to iron out bumps was impressive.

The looks and profile of the GWM Tank 300 have been likened to some offroaders from the past and I found it appealing as well practical in terms of the way in which the interior space has been utlised – all the while featuring plenty of the most modern in terms of tech.

Design features include the round LED headlamps that are dissected by bright LED daytime running lights, while an off-road front bumper with integrated LED fog lamps exposes the Michelin HEV SUV tyres.

At the back, there are squared LED tail lamps, a door-mounted spare wheel – also fitted with a full-sized alloy wheel. The rear luggage door is hydraulically assisted, and a spare wheel cover is standard.

The luggage capacity is 400 litres rising to 1 635 litres with the rear seats folded. There is no luggage cover, but GWM says it will be importing one approved by the company as an aftermarket option.

The Hybrid Electric version has a permanent four-wheel drive system with intelligent electronic management and low range. This system gives the driver full control of the vehicle responses in all terrains, with a choice between Normal, Economic, Sport, Stone, Snow (for any slippery conditions), Sand and Low-Range 4x4 driving (4L).

All GWM Tank 300 models have an electronically controlled rear differential lock for technical off-road driving as standard along with a ‘crawl’ speed operated via the cruise control that allows the driver to set a speed and not worry about foot-bounce on the throttle when doing serious donga-diving.

The GWM Tank 300 offers 224 mm of ground clearance and has an approach angle of 33 degrees,   departure angle of 34 degrees and ramp-over angle of 23,1 degrees for a maximum climb gradient rating of 70%, and all models, including the hybrid version, have a maximum wading depth of 700 mm.

The De Wildt experience showed that, short of driving up the side of the Hillbrow Tower, the Tank was eminently capable – although since it is also in the super luxury category, not that many owners will venture into the serious obstacle category.

Speaking of that luxury, all versions of the GWM Tank 300 include Dual 12,3-inch high-definition LCD screen, Ambient lighting, Leather upholstery, Multi-function, multi-adjustable controls, Charging ports being Type A and C in the front row and Type A in the rear. A 12V charging port in the luggage compartment and to the roof rails. 

Additional features include Bluetooth, dual zone climate control with rear high and low mounted air vents, a high-performance sound, power windows all round, privacy glass, a soundproof windshield and side windows for the front occupants, automatic low and high beams, automatic windscreen wipers and more.

GWM in South Africa is also repositioning itself in that the GWM name is now top of the pile with Haval, Tank, Steed/P300 and Ora as sub-brands within the group profile. 

All models are sold with a 7-year/200 000 km new vehicle warranty and unlimited roadside assistance for the same period. A 5-year/75 000 km service plan is included across the range, and service intervals are 12 months or every 15 000 km whichever comes first.

The HEV model has an additional warranty that covers the complete high-voltage system and vehicle battery for a full 8-years/150 000 km. 

Says Van Staden: “While we can boast about the incredible list of features and safety equipment in the GWM Tank 300, we are mostly proud of its pricing and value proposition. With a starting price of less than R750 000, the GWM Tank 300 is truly in a class of its own.” 


  • Tank 300 2.0T 8AT 4x4 Super Luxury           R725 950 (Available Late Q1)
  • Tank 300 2.0T 8AT 4x4 Ultra Luxury             R775 950 (Available Late Q1)
  • Tank 300 2.0T 9HAT 4x4 Super Luxury        R851 950

Colin Windell


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