Unique electric car being considered for Australia

The GWM Ora Sport looks like the love child of a Porsche Panamera and a Volkswagen Beetle – and it might be coming to a street near you.


what we love
  • The tinted glass roof adds design flair
  • The interior feels premium
  • The twin-engine variant sounds promising on paper

What we don’t
  • Not particularly powerful in single engine form
  • The cabin lacks storage space and the rear seat is small
  • Design will not be to everyone’s taste

If you think that automotive design has become too monotonous or monotonous in recent years, please consider the 2023 GWM Ora Sportthe exception to this rule.

The crazy four-door coupe from China’s Great Wall Motors is certainly no wallflower – with its sweeping roofline, pop-up spoiler, unusual audiovisual effects and all-electric powertrain resolutely putting it out of the field.

GWM’s Australian arm, known overseas as Lightning Cat, says the Ora Sport is “strongly under consideration” for a local launch, with hopes it will attract both design-conscious female and premium electric car buyers becomes.

For the uninitiated, Ora was launched in 2018 as GWM’s all-electric sub-brand, and the name is apparently an acronym for “open, reliable, and alternative.”

They certainly hit the “alternative” order and produced a vehicle that looks like the product of an illegal affair between a Porsche Panamera and a Volkswagen Beetle.

end of January 2023, drive was given the opportunity to take a tour – and a quick test drive – of a pre-production left-hand drive GWM Ora Sport at a top-secret location in Victoria.

Here’s what you need to know.

Important details 2023 GWM Ora Sport
powertrain Single electric motor, FWD
Dual electric motor, AWD
Performance 150kW (single motor)
300 kW (double motor)
torque 340 Nm (single motor)
680 Nm (double motor)
transmission Single stage automatic
Area 555 km (single engine, NEDC)
705 km (two engines, NEDC)

How much does the GWM Ora Sport cost in Australia?

There’s no Australian pricing for the GWM Ora Sport yet, but when the model comes Down Under, two powertrains are likely to be offered.

A single-engine, front-wheel drive variant would offer peak performance of 150 kW of power and 340 Nm of torque.

The stated electric range for this single-engine variant is up to 555km on the European NEDC test cycle, which tends to provide more generous range estimates than the more stringent WLTP cycle.

A variant with two engines and all-wheel drive achieves an output of up to 300 kW, 680 Nm of torque and a range of 705 km according to the same NEDC cycle.

Battery options are expected to be the same as its hatchback sibling GWM Ora, with a choice of a standard 48kWh range and an extended 63kWh range.

The Ora Sport’s sleek body has a drag coefficient of just 0.22 (translation: it’s more aerodynamic than the average car) and thanks to the added benefit of its additional engine, the all-wheel drive variant can sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in just 4.3 seconds.

Despite its luxury design leanings, the Ora Sport will likely have a more budget-friendly price tag than premium EVs.

When it launched in China in late 2022, the Ora Sport cost 201,200 yen in China before subsidies, which is roughly AUD$42,746.

What does the GWM Ora Sport look like inside?

The GWM Ora Sport is available in four pastel paint colors including Jade White, Canyon Grey, Amethyst Purple and, as worn by our pre-production test car, a very ’80s shade of Diamond Pink.

The car’s exterior features a number of quirky design touches and party tricks that, while unique, may not be to everyone’s taste.

First, when unlocked, the Ora Sport plays a short jingle reminiscent of the Windows startup sound of a computer from the early 2000s.

The oval headlights also show a starting animation, while part of the dome-like panoramic sunroof appears as a surprise spoiler at the rear.

As if the sweeping silhouette, flashback hues, oversized glass roof, frameless windows, and bulbous hood weren’t striking enough, the Ora Sport also sports some potentially divisive wheels.

The 19-inch wheels feature a “cat’s claw” design that, in the author’s opinion, is inexplicably gross. But that is of course a question of personal taste.

While its smaller brother, the GWM Ora hatchback, has a retro-inspired interior, the Ora Sport’s interior is futuristic and minimalist.

A floating T-shaped center console is the focal point, offering limited storage in the form of a lidded storage compartment and cup holder – it also houses the main controls for the climate system and the drive mode change button.

The unibody seats offer heating, cooling and massage functions and were upholstered in cream leatherette in our test car, with matching faux suede adorning the dashboard.

Both look amazing, but the faux leather feels softer and more authentic than the suede imitation.

The panoramic glass roof is well tinted to reduce cabin glare, and music is played through a premium 11-speaker Harman Kardon sound system.

A small central touchscreen is positioned well at eye level, but certainly smaller than screens in other electric vehicles, although it offers bright, crisp graphics and plays a very cute, detailed start-up animation of a kitten chasing a goldfish.

This central screen is coupled with a driver display, which consists of three smaller circular screens, as well as a head-up display projected onto the windshield that provides a digital speedometer and lane-keeping information to help keep you in the right lane.

The rear seat isn’t overly suited to taller adults – the sloping roof limits headroom, and toeroom is virtually non-existent, although kneeroom wasn’t terrible with the seat in my normal driving position.

A relatively flat floor also allows for some freedom of movement of the feet when getting in and out.

There are ISOFIX anchor points on the two outboard seats in the second row, as well as two air vents on the back of the center console and two USB ports.

Back to the trunk, a power tailgate opens onto a cargo area that’s flat in height but deep enough to squeeze longer items inside.

How does the GWM Ora Sport drive?

Ora cars feature what is known as “intuitive start” where, similar to Tesla and Polestar vehicles, there is no “start” button.

Rather, the car is ready to drive as soon as you unlock it and climb into the driver’s seat with the key.

As in Mercedes-Benz passenger cars, the shift lever is a lever on the steering wheel. As a nice safety measure, however, the Ora Sport won’t let you shift into drive unless your seatbelt is buckled.

During a short round of testing in the single-engine Ora Sport variant, it became clear that this variant is not for those craving lightning-fast electric power.

Contrary to the warp-speed feel evoked by some of its electric competitors, the Ora Sport is rather moderate in its power output and measured in its acceleration – smooth but slow to pick up speed.

In short, for a car that looks like it’s going fast, the front-wheel drive Ora Sport isn’t particularly peppy.

The trade-off is that it’s very palatable to drive and would probably perform well in stop-start traffic and easy commutes. The single-pedal drive mode is similarly restrained, slowing the car down gradually rather than dramatically – perfect for people new to electric vehicles.

Strangely, there are also fake engine sounds that slightly don’t match the real acceleration of the car. Regardless, the unabashed cheesiness will put a smile on your face, and the sounds themselves aren’t overly artificial.

Visibility is limited by the sloping rear window, but aided by well-sized mirrors and cameras.

The steering feels balanced and tailored to the car’s size, with a relatively direct response.

On our very short test loop, which consisted mostly of paved roads throughout, the Ora Sport maintained its composure and drove well for a car that looks like it would be more comfortable on a marble podium than on a 4WD track.

When is the GWM Ora Sport coming to Australia?

GWM is still debating whether to bring the Ora Sport to Australia, so there’s no local launch time yet.

“The Ora Sport is being considered for Australia as part of our expansion of hybrid and electric vehicles,” said a spokesman for GWM Haval.

“Although it has yet to be confirmed, we are investigating it closely for this market.”

Unfortunately, our time with the GWM Ora Sport was short and there was a lot to discover, test and discuss.

Stay tuned for details on a possible local launch and let us know what you think of the crazy design in the comments!

Suzanne Guthrie

Susannah Guthrie has been a journalist since she was 18 and has spent the last two years writing about cars for Drive, CarAdvice, CarSales and as a car columnist for several inflight and hotel magazines. Susannah’s background is in news journalism, followed by several years in celebrity journalism, entertainment journalism and fashion magazines, and a brief stint as a travel TV show host for Channel Ten. She joined Drive in 2020 after spending a year and a half at the helm of Harper’s BAZAAR and ELLE online platforms. Susannah has a BA in Media and Communications from the University of Melbourne and got her first experience as an intern at Time Inc in New York City. She has also completed a television presentation course at the National Institute of Dramatic Art. She lives with her husband and their one-year-old son in Melbourne, who despite all efforts has not yet had a good road trip.

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