The Chinese car group Dongfeng presents its new sub-brand Mengshi. Their portfolio should consist primarily of martially designed off-road vehicles. The design direction is set by the M-Terrain concept study.
There is a new car brand in China. The Chinese state-owned car company Dongfeng Motor Corporation has founded the sub-brand Mengshi, which means “warrior”. And that’s what their products will probably look like: The first concept studies by the Chinese, the five-door M-Terrain and its two-door pick-up offshoot M-Terrain Sport, present a martial off-road vehicle design and back it up with intimidating technical data. The cars should also be luxurious.
However, Mengshi does not come out of nowhere: The Dongfeng Group has been producing the Eastwind EQ2050 with its Dongfeng Mengshi Military Vehicles (DMMV) brand for a good 20 years. The military vehicle is a fairly detailed copy of the HMMWV used by the US military, better known by its nickname “Humvee” or Hummer H1 in civilian version. Based on the EQ2050, Dongfeng came up with the Mengshi last year, also known as the Warrior M50. History repeats itself here, because the Chinese are now producing the off-road vehicle for the normal end customer market.
Angular and martial
If the Warrior M50 is anything like the Hummer H1 in the Dongfeng Mengshi universe, then the M-Terrain is the H2. It has a somewhat more modern design and presents larger plastic surfaces; the ruler seems to have been a central tool in the design. Sturdy bumpers house bull bars and massive-looking tow hooks, while the honeycomb grille features an illuminated hexagonal surround. The two light strips of the headlights cross each other. Speaking of light: Both the M-Terrain and the M-Terrain Sport have additional lights on the front edge of the roof – the five-door a little more discreet, the three-door as floodlights.
Both the approximately 5.20 meter long M-Terrain, designed as a seven-seater, and the M-Terrain Sport roll on very coarse tires that rotate in far-reaching, angular wheel arches. Both M-Terrain versions feature powerful rocker strips, which are pulled inwards for sports and have a step aid. On the five-door, the roof rack widens downwards in the area of the C-pillar and ends there in a staircase. There is a kind of spare wheel holder on the rear door, which is formally unsuitable for fulfilling this function. The four-seater M-Terrain Sport has an open rear that is covered with plastic roof elements.
Inspired by ancient warriors
The Mengshi brand logo corresponds very well with the Haudrauf design. It symbolizes an “M” and is inspired by the helmets and armor of ancient warriors. Incidentally, the letter embodies more meanings than just those for Mengshi: Dongfeng mentions analogies such as the military and the term mission and at the same time emphasizes the supposedly masculine aspect of the M-Terrain design. The term “marvelous” (fabulous, fantastic) is also mentioned.
In contrast to the Warrior M50 with its combustion engine, the M-Terrain moves on electric power. Both the five-door and the three-door sports version are based on the M-Tech architecture that Mengshi developed independently of the parent company. Central to this is a skateboard platform called Mora, into which all drive components are already integrated. The powertrain itself is nicknamed “Mega-Power”; sounds exaggerated, but it isn’t. The more than four engines deliver more than 1,000 hp and deliver a total maximum torque of 16,000 Newton meters (measured at the wheel). They are said to accelerate the Mengshi M-Terrain from zero to one hundred in 4.2 seconds.
With “crab walk” and steer-by-wire
The two-speed gearbox has an integrated differential lock; one more is added for each axis. The M-ATS system bundles electronic off-road driving aids. It is possible that the M-Terrain will have a steer-by-wire system in its production version, which would enable it to “crab walk” (move sideways with the wheels turned in parallel). But even on paved roads, the Mengshi M-Terrain should be safe, agile and comfortable at all times thanks to electronic support up to autonomy level 3, nine driving modes and air suspension. Dongfeng has not yet released any information on battery capacity or range. However, it is said that in addition to a purely battery-electric version of the M-Terrain, a variant with a range extender is also planned.
In 2023, Dongfeng Mengshi plans to launch the M-Terrain as its first production car. The manufacturer is not planning an export for the time being: Dongfeng is initially positioning Mengshi as a purely national car brand. Incidentally, the price could be in the direction of at least 500,000 yuan, which currently corresponds to almost 73,000 euros.
The Mengshi concept cars M-Terrain and M-Terrain Sport look like they have been beamed into the present from a distant future. In fact, the series version of the series is scheduled to go into production as early as summer 2023. It remains to be seen whether this will actually be designed and motorized in such a martial way.