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GWM Shanhai Cannon spotted in Sydney, but when will China's Ranger-challenging V6 ute be up for sale?

The Shanhai Cannon could be here soon, as spy shots reveal right-hand-drive version. (Image: Haris Mustafa)

Just weeks after being detailed at the Shanghai motor show, GWM’s higher-performance Shanhai Cannon has been spotted in Sydney by a CarsGuide reader, camouflaged but in right-hand drive configuration.

Wearing Victorian plates, which suspiciously do not return a result when plugged into the registration search system, the Shanhai Cannon is easily identifiable by its longer, larger body than the current Cannon ute, different window line and alternate face, which includes new LED light fittings.

Under the skin, the big news is the Shanhai Cannon swaps the current Cannon ute’s 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel engine (120kW/400Nm) out, for either a 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 petrol engine (260kW/500Nm), or a 2.4-litre single-turbo four-cylinder diesel engine (135kW/480Nm). The new engines are of a GWM design, not sourced from another automaker, and both are also mated to a new GWM-developed nine-speed torque converter automatic.

Elsewhere expect differential locks on both axles, as well as a Borg-warner sourced four-wheel drive system. Towing capacity for the Chinese market is rated at 3300kg.

The Shanhai cannon also has a larger and more luxurious interior, with a higher level of built-in tech than the existing Cannon ute.

To apparently obfuscate its shape further, the spotted vehicle swaps out the Chinese-market chrome grille for a black plastic piece, and the wider, larger bumpers have also been swapped out for plain plastic ones. A plastic piece also appears on the bonnet and a large plastic sports bar can also be seen over the tray. Interestingly, even the wheels wear camouflage, and the ute has a GWM-branded integrated snorkel piece on its right-hand A-pillar.

The Shanhai Cannon spotted in these images is different from the version officially revealed for the Chinese market. (Image: Haris Mustafa)

Despite being caught testing locally, GWM Australia Marking and Communications boss Steve Maciver, could not yet confirm its showroom debut for Down Under, instead telling us it is still under strong consideration and that all powertrains are on the table.

If the truck does arrive in Australia, he also said it was fair to assume it would carry a different name.

A third powertrain, a 2.0-litre turbo-petrol plug-in hybrid is also confirmed, but not on sale yet in China, producing a whopping 258kW/615Nm, although further details on it are scarce for the time being. Should this version arrive in Australia in the next year, it stands a great chance of being the first hybrid ute on sale in Australia, beating even Toyota’s HiLux and Ford’s Ranger to the punch.

The Shanhai Cannon spotted in these images, with its snorkel and sports bar is different from the version officially revealed for the Chinese market, which has a different bumper design and no sports bar.

This could point to a more off-road-capable flagship for Australia in the same vein as the hardcore Ranger Raptor-style Cannon ute grade already available in the Chinese market, and could be equipped with alternate suspension, a wider track and additional off-road features.

The existing Cannon is also due to receive a deep facelift, which was also revealed at the Shanghai show. While the tweaks for this model are minor for the exterior, it has a completely overhauled and more upmarket-looking interior.

An SUV version of the Shanhai Cannon, the Tank 500, which is only available with the twin-turbo V6 engine even in China, has also been spotted in Australia, suggesting both models are close to a local launch and the petrol V6 is the more likely of the powertrain options available.

Tom White
Senior Journalist
Despite studying ancient history and law at university, it makes sense Tom ended up writing about cars, as he spent the majority of his waking hours finding ways to drive...
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