Clubman: potentially described as cute. Lifan 3 Series: Not cute. Not even ugly to the point of being endearing. Enough of the MINI's cues make it through in the Lifan that you can just picture them laying a huge sheet of onion skin over the Clubman and coming up with this. It's close in a lot of ways, but misshapen in others. A weird front overbite is the result of small wheels and a longer overhang than the MINI, and the C/D pillars appear thick – just a big blind spot where the Clubman has visibility. Underhood might be an actual legitimate link to the MINI. Lifan has invested in the Tritec four cylinder that powered the R50 first generation of revived MINIs. Ingress and egress in the Lifan is aided by four conventionally hinged doors, versus the Mini's clamshell treatment, but it ends up being reminiscent of a LeCar, but not as cool. Lifan could always outsource design to the rest of the world if this is the best they can do. We're sure they've got the engineering bit down, but the world doesn't need a MINI that reminds us of those cheap, anonymous knock off matchbox cars with no bottom.
Chinese carmaker Lifan has created a MINI lookalike -- the Lifan 320, which will be unveiled at the Beijing auto show on April 20-28. The Lifan 3-Series will go on sale in China in August at a price of about 50,000 yuan ($7,153).
Though it is hyped as an "elegant" "classic" model like an "English gentleman", the Lifan 320 is certainly a breakaway from Lifan's usually clean cut designs. Amusingly, Lifan is said to have made a 5-door version of BMW Group's MINI.
Even though the Lifan 320 is somewhat disproportioned compared to the original MINI Cooper, but the resemblances between the two cars are crystal clear. It remains to be seen whether its similarities with MINI will become a compelling selling point (as intended).
The Lifan 320 is a 5-door compact hatchback, 3755mm x 1624mm x 1435mm (L x W x H) on a 2340mm- wheelbase and with a self-developed 1.3L engine (LF479Q3) capable of 65kw/6000rpm and 155km/h. It may carry a 1.1L engine when it's mass-produced for the market in August.
More information, and pictures on the Lifan 320 have been leaked out onto the net! The Lifan 320, aka ‘The Chinese Mini’ as it has been christened by the Chinese media! Specifications have also been released
* Can carry 5 adults
* Top speed is 155kph
* Euro 5 specification
* 1.3l engine, 16v, 4 cylinder, front wheel drive
* 4.89l of fuel, per 100km
* 5 speed manual gearbox
* Size: Length: 3745mm Width: 1620mm Height: 1430mm
* Expected to go on the market in August 2008, priced at less than 50,000rmb
Chinese motoring magazines are predicting the mini motor will be on sale by August 2008 for less than 50,000rmb with a 1.1l motor with the usual additions of power steering, ABS, EBD, etc.
The car measures 3745mm long and 1620mm wide with a height of 1430mm. The Chinese press believe the car will appeal most to younger Chinese who want to get themselves their first set of wheels, and will want something a little ’sporty’ but will have good economy and at a decent price. The Lifan 320’s 1.1l motor will satisfy the economy requirement - the 320 requires 4.8l of petrol per 100km, and is upto Chinese 5 emissions standard (equivalent to a Euro 5 emissions spec)
From:Automotive News ChinaJune 18, 2008 - Another lookalike car has appeared in China: the Lifan 320 which looks very like the Mini Cooper.
Chongqing Lifan Holdings Co. says it plans to start mass production of the small car around September.
The car will carry a 1.3-liter gasoline engine produced by Lifan.
The company will also mount a 1.1-liter engine in the car from the beginning of next year. Lifan is currently testing the newly developed 1.1-liter engine.
The car will carry a five-speed manual transmission.
The company declines to disclose the price of the car, but says it will be "less than 50,000 yuan" ($7,243).
The five-seat car, which debuted in late April at the Beijing auto show, is 3,745 mm long, 1,620 mm wide and 1,430 mm high.
The company says it fully considered intellectual property rights issues when designing the car, so it has no worries about being sued for violating the intellectual property of other companies.
The company also says it may export the lookalike car from China in the future.
Lifan is still a tiny player in China's auto industry. The company's major products are motorcycles and general-purpose engines. It started producing cars in late 2005 and has to date only launched the 520 sedan and its hatchback version. It sold about 30,000 units of the 520 in 2007.