Omoda South Africa is seeking to build on the initial success of its C5 with a highly customisable, more powerful GT derivative. Kyle Kock sampled the sporty newcomer adorned with gold accents to find out if its worth all of the fuss.
Omoda C5 GT fast facts:
Price: R589 900
Engine: 1.6-litre, four-cylinder, turbopetrol
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch
Power: 145 kW @ 5 500 r/min
Torque: 290 N.m @ 1 750 r/min
0-100 km/h: 7.8 seconds
Top speed: N/A
Fuel consumption: 8.2 L/100 km
CO2 emissions: 162 g/km
Rivals: Ford Puma, Hyundai Kona, Volkswagen T-Cross, Beijing X55, Haval H6 GT
As evidenced by both monthly sales and braai-side banter, the current crop of Chinese car brands, especially Chery and Haval, have been showing little sign of slowing down the tailoring of their respective models to suit markets outside of their own. In the case of Chery – along with its Omoda and soon-to-be-launched Jaecoo sub-brands – this exercise has extended to achieving the necessary Euro NCAP crash safety ratings required to make inroads into Europe.
Having come away from our first test of the Omoda C5 (in the August 2023 issue of CAR Magazine) relatively satisfied that there was enough substance to match its head-turning exterior styling, the arrival of a new flagship (and, according to Chery, in limited numbers) C5 GT derivative aims to add a degree of exclusivity while adding a welcome powertrain upgrade.
Sold with a choice of “up to eight” styling kits, in its most aggressive form a locally sourced detailing firm will – for the price of R10 000 – mount a front splitter, side skirts and an optimistically sized rear wing to the C5 GT’s already enhanced exterior. Another option is to have the car’s standard 18-inch alloy wheels finished in a similar gold hue to that of its badging. Eagle-eyed observers will note the new model rides slightly lower, has a split headlamp design and a bespoke LED daytime running light signature.
There’s more gold trim to be found in the cabin of the GT, though this is thankfully limited to the door panels and frame of the centre console. An update that will likely be included throughout the range in time is a 50W wireless mobile phone charging pad. This model features a sunroof as standard.
As also found in the Tiggo 7 Pro Max, this top-of-the-range Omoda is similarly equipped with Chery’s 145 kW/290 N.m 1.6-litre turbopetrol engine that is paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. As a reminder, the rest of the range features a 145 kW/230 N.m 1,5-litre unit mated to a CVT. The GT retains its front-wheel drive layout.
The extra torque was a pleasing addition as we traversed some of the Western Cape’s more scenic mountain passes, including Ou Kaapse Weg – at this Omoda’s media launch. Despite a slight lag in the throttle response that we suspect is software- rather than turbo-related, there can be no denying the workings of a dual-clutch transmission trump the intrusive workings of a CVT when the need arises to press on. Yet to be fair, the CVT in the C5 Lux best exemplifies this technology and to an encouraging degree.
Appreciative of the ride quality of the Lux model tested previously, our predictions that a larger wheel size (to 18-inch) may impact overall levels of comfort and refinement were proved accurate – once our launch route tackled the notorious pot-marked section of road between Kommetjie and Scarborough. While this route may have been carefully curated to highlight the C5 GT’s virtues, it doesn’t bode well for those negotiating worse-kept road surfaces in other parts of our country.
Kudos to Chery South Africa for convincing its parent company to explore a model like the C5 GT, even if it is unlikely extend beyond a niche offering. Added faux aero aside, the most positive aspect of this new halo model is a more refined drivetrain that we hope to see added across the entire Omoda range in time.