Ni hao from Beijing! Youngman Lotus took the wraps off this relatively handsome high-rider at the very busy Auto China 2012 earlier today. We’re here covering it live. You’d be forgiven for thinking that this is hardly earth-shattering news, but this vehicle may become the base for Proton’s first SUV in the near future.

Dubbed the T5, the front-wheel-drive pre-production vehicle is based on the Proton Gen-2 platform and therefore shares the same 2,600 mm wheelbase. A four-wheel-drive version is also planned.

It will have two engine choices when it officially goes on sale in China at the end of the year: the Campro CPS and its turbocharged CFE variant, both displacing 1.6 litres. The Campro engines are built under license in China and Proton receive royalties from Youngman in exchange for the usage of their engines.

Proton MD Datuk Seri Syed Zainal Abidin, who was present at the Youngman stand, said that talks are ongoing between Proton and the Chinese-British joint venture, and Proton may adopt the T5 as its first SUV if things pan out – Syed Zainal added that if this comes about, there will be some repackaging involved for the local model.

The T5’s nose shares some similarities with the recently-launched Proton Preve‘s front end, particularly in the visual relationship between headlamp and grille. However, Lotus engineers declined to comment on Proton’s involvement in the project.

Unfortunately, the interior was shut from prying bodies, but a quick peek inside revealed an elegant-looking interior, complete with leather seats – we did manage to get a shot of the gear shift column, if only to hint at how it shapes up.

Prices for the T5 variants have not been confirmed, but are estimated at 115,000 to 130,000 RMB (RM57,500 to RM65,000).

Founded in 2001, China Youngman Automobile Group predominantly produces buses and trucks, but sells the Gen-2 and Persona in China under the Youngman Lotus and Europestar brands.