Where creative applications of BMW drivetrains are concerned, the contenders are as varied as the M21-powered Vixen diesel RV of the 1980s and the S54-powered Wiessmann MF3 roadster of the mid-2000s. But now a new player is on the field, using BMW’s B48 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and placing it in Vietnam’s first-ever domestic vehicles.
The all-new G20 3 Series may have been the king of Paris Auto Show press, but it and the other new models on BMW’s stand weren’t the only Bavarian-powered vehicles on display. Vietnamese startup VinFast brought not one, but two vehicles to the show: a slick, modern sedan dubbed the Lux A2.0, and a three-row SUV called the Lux SA2.0.
Both represent an interesting combination of Italian design, American leadership (VinFast is headed for the moment by ex-GM executive James DeLuca), and of course, German engineering in the form of the BMW four-cylinder (and judging by the interior and BMW-esque gear selector, likely the associated ZF 8-speed transmission as well). And yes, the SUV uses the same 228-horsepower B48 variant (although the sedan is also available in a 174-horsepower version, similar to the 320i).
Also, for reasons that are unclear, the vehicles are being promoted by David Beckham, seen below shaking hands with Miss Vietnam.
They’re just show cars at the moment, but according to Automotive News, both will enter production within the next year.
What are your thoughts? Would you buy either over a comparable B48-powered BMW? We’re doubtful that the VinFast will make it to the United States, but in emerging Asian markets, it will be interesting to see BMW engines become more common.
As far as whether the combination works for VinFast financially and dynamically, we’ll have to wait and see. —David Rose