The GT concept, born in Europe during the mid-20th century, was a fusion of high-speed performance and long-distance comfort, often embodied in the sleek 2+2 coupe design. However, by the 1980s, the GT label had been diluted, indiscriminately slapped on vehicles ranging from those with superficial modifications to those still true to the grand tourer ethos.

The Omoda C5 GT arrives on the scene, eager to reclaim the sporty mantle. My review model came in a deep black hue, accented with golden script and sporting a prominent rear wing that boldly proclaims its performance pedigree.

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The C5 GT offers personalization through various styling kits, allowing for the addition of aerodynamic elements like a front splitter, side skirts, and an optional rear wing for those who desire it.

The interior is tastefully appointed with subtle gold accents adorning the door panels and central console, balanced by the inclusion of a standard sunroof for an airy cabin feel.

At its heart lies a Kunpeng 1,6-litre turbocharged engine, mated to a refined seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. It boasts an output of 145 kW at 5 500 r/min and 290 Nm of torque starting from 1 750 r/min, enabling it to sprint from standstill to 100 km/h in a brisk 8 seconds, with a top speed nearing 190 km/h.

This GT variant stands a notch above the regular C5, thanks to its larger 1,6-litre engine, which lends a noticeable boost, enhancing the driving experience even during routine commutes.

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In terms of fuel efficiency, the Omoda C5 GT demonstrated an average consumption of 7,1 l/100 km during tests, slightly higher than Omoda’s claim of 6.8 L/100 km. However, the increased torque is likely to yield long-term savings in comparison to the standard C5, which recorded an average of 7,5 l/100  km.

Riding on 215/55 R18 wheels, the C5 GT does encounter some ride harshness over uneven surfaces, a trade-off for its larger wheel size. Yet, it remains an excellent choice for those seeking a blend of sportiness and cruising comfort.

Step into the sanctuary of the Omoda C5 GT, where luxury and technology converge in a symphony of 64-color ambient lighting and dual 10,25-inch HD touchscreens. These screens are the command center for the vehicle’s functions, safety systems, and entertainment offerings, enhanced by wireless smartphone integration compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Just below, an interactive, backlit climate control panel displays settings on a digital screen, adjusting its interface responsively to touch and the environment.

The vehicle’s interior design is streamlined thanks to shift-by-wire technology, featuring a spacious charging zone and a refined gear selector, with cleverly designed hidden storage under the console.

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The Omoda C5 GT’s luxurious features include intelligent wireless charging, dual 12V charging ports, voice-controlled operations, sporty seats, USB ports accessible to all occupants, key fob-activated climate control, adjustable and ventilated seats for driver and passenger, and a voice-activated sunroof.

The cabin is also equipped with a high-quality 8-speaker Sony sound system, additional ambient lighting for rear passengers and a 360-degree camera system for panoramic visibility.

Safety is paramount, as evidenced by the Omoda’s five-star NCAP safety rating and its comprehensive crash bag system. Child safety is ensured with ISOFIX anchors and the vehicle is fitted with smart seatbelt pre-tensioners, an anti-lock braking system for all wheels, tire pressure monitoring, and an electronic stability program.

Driver assistance is enhanced with features such as automatic headlight beam adjustment, adaptive cruise control, rear cross-traffic alerts, and more, ensuring a secure and comfortable driving experience.

In comparison to its rivals, the Omoda C5 GT is positioned as a trendy, slightly more upmarket option aimed at younger buyers. It competes with vehicles such as the Opel Mokka, Kia Seltos GT-Line, Mazda CX-30, Volkswagen T-Roc and the larger Haval H6 GT.

However, priced at R589 990, it has a different level of competition in that on the monetary scale it would compare to the Fiat 500X 1.4T Sport EST, Hyundai Grand Creta 1.5D Executive and Subaru Crosstrek 2.0i L.

If there is one thing to criticise, it is the small rear window that offers a minimalistic view but is completely obliterated when the rear is passenger-laden.

Overall, the Omoda C5 GT offers a compelling package of style, performance and technology, making it a competitive option for those looking for a premium crossover experience.

Colin Windell