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5 of China’s most shameless knock-off cars, from Porsche to McLaren

by | Jul 15, 2022 - 2:12PM | Cars

Recently, Chinese EV maker BYD introduced its latest model, the Seal.

But rather than looking like the semi-aquatic mammal, it looks far more like a Tesla Model 3.

While it’s by no means a perfect match, there are more than a few design cues the two share.

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Both have comparable rooflines and a similarly short trunk lid.

The rear haunches and door lines look almost exact as well.

Plus, as the BYD Seal is clearly a Model 3 rival, these similarities perhaps aren’t that uncanny.

However, this is hardly the most blatant Chinese knock-off car out there.

So, we’ve rounded up five of the most shameless copycat cars we’ve seen the country produce in recent years.

5. Zotye SR9 (Porsche Macan)

Produced from 2016 to 2019, the Zotye SR9 is a truly shameless copy of the Porsche Macan Turbo.

Its headlights may be a little swoopier, but the grille design is near identical.

Even the wheels replicate those on a real Macan.

Unlike some Chinese knock-offs which have rubbish engines, the SR9 actually has a decent driveline.

It features the 2.0-liter turbocharged 4G63 from a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo, paired with the same manual or dual-clutch auto transmissions.

4. Hongqi LS5 (Range Rover)

Hongqi is the company that builds the car the Chinese president is driven around in.

So, it’ll come as no surprise the LS5 was reserved for government use only.

It’s clear that it draws its inspiration from various iterations of the iconic Range Rover, but the third-generation model is probably the closest match.

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It uses a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 engine of unknown origins, giving it 381hp.

It’s decent, but not huge power in a car this size.

3. BAIC BJ80 (Mercedes G-Wagen)

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what the BAIC BJ80 is a copy of – the legendary Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen.

Unlike most copycats on this list that are no longer for sale, you can still buy a BJ80 for around $51,700.

It comes wearing all the boxy styling people know and love from the G-Wagen.

From side-on, it’s a dead ringer, but the awkward front of the BJ80 is where you can tell the two apart.

It comes powered by a twin-turbo V6, and rather interestingly is used by the Nigerian army.

2. KDC Regola (McLaren 570S)

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Yes, a Chinese company has even made a knock-off McLaren.

English-language information about the KDC Regola is scarce.

However, if Google Translate is to be trusted, some Chinese sites say the car is fully electric.

At least that’s my take on it “using no fuel”.

From the orange paint to the butterfly doors, this is one truly shameless copycat.

However, there’s still one that’s more shameless than any other on this list.

1. Landwind X7 (Range Rover Evoque)

Although the X7 name might be better known on the back of a BMW, the Landwind X7 is actually a certified copy of the Range Rover Evoque.

I say ‘certified’ because in 2019, the Beijing Chaoyang District Court ruled that Landwind had indeed copied unique details of the Range Rover Evoque.

The car had to be pulled from sale, and Landwind was ordered to pay damages to Jaguar Land Rover.

Chinese knock-off cars truly don’t get any more shameless than that.

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