Zotye-S21-at-the-2014-Chengdu-Motor-Show

We always begin these Chinese clone car posts with “they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” but surely it’s no longer flattery when you get copied so many times, is it? Audi has been the victim of such “adoration” for a long time now, and it’s under the spotlight for the wrong reasons once again – Zotye has taken its tracing paper to the Audi Q3 crossover and come up with this, the Zotye S21, unveiled at the ongoing 2015 Chengdu Motor Show.

Does the name Zotye ring a bell? That’s probably because just a few months ago, the scheming enterprising Chinese carmaker had cloned a Porsche Macan almost wholesale, down to Stuttgart’s “side blades.” And now, judging by these photos from Indian website IndianAutosBlog, it’s done it again – on another car in the Volkswagen Group!

Once again, Zotye has aped almost everything – the trapezoidal projector headlights, the wing mirrors, the low-set rear fog and reverse lights, the undulating character line and even the Ingolstadt car’s slightly misshapen cab-forward proportions. The only original embellishments added are the trapezoidal exhaust exits (likely fake), silver-painted skid plates and this two-tone colour scheme.

Left: Audi Q3, right: Zotye S21. Wait, what?!

Of course, not everything has been taken from the Q3 – Zotye has just cherry picked its way through design cues from other VW Group cars! The front end is very much reminiscent of the VW Golf Sportsvan, down to the chromed horizontal grille connecting the headlights and the “whiskers” on the lower part of the bumper.

Also, the kinked tail lights are closer in look to the original Q7, and doesn’t the cursive “Zotye Auto” script on the tailgate remind you of anything (or indeed, everything) from Zuffenhausen?

The interior photos, this time from Chinese website CarNewsChina, show a cabin that’s a bit less derivative, but you can still see the influences. The centre console has obviously been nicked from the the new Volvo XC90, with the vertical air vents flanking an enormous portrait-format touchscreen that also bring to mind the Tesla Model S.

Also seen is a gearlever that’s taken from, what else, the Q3 – and the whole thing is wrapped in this rather ghastly blue and white leather upholstery. No technical details have been revealed so far (no price, either), but the S21 is reportedly powered by a 1.5 litre turbocharged engine, mated to either a five-speed manual transmission or a CVT automatic.


The real Audi Q3