Vietnam’s first automaker VinFast has revealed the official names of its first two vehicles – the sedan is called LUX A2.0, whereas the SUV is called LUX SA2.0. Both models have just made their world debuts at the Paris Motor Show (in the presence of football legend David Beckham, no less), and deliveries will begin in June 2019 before the start of export in 2020.

Apparently, the word LUX references the “premium and sophisticated qualities” of the cars, although it doesn’t sound quite as luxurious when uttered verbally (the SUV’s name will probably whet your appetite). The letter ‘A’, which stands for Ambition, represents the “very high standards of product quality” that will be met, an important part of VinFast’s goal to become the leading automobile manufacturer in South East Asia, and grow it into a global car brand. The ‘S’ in the LUX SA2.0 stands for SUV.

The idea behind the names is that they are to be short, easy to read, memorable and suitable for most languages around the world. Following the LUX nameplate, VinFast will introduce additional models with names that represent each of its positioning in the car market.

LUX A2.0

Now, the LUX A2.0, which is based on the F10 BMW 5 Series, features a rather dynamic stance and a good mix of curved and concave surfaces. The long bonnet adds a touch of sportiness, and the sleek LED daytime running lights are joined by the asymmetric ‘VF’ motif. The badge in the centre of the grille is a straightforward V, and radiates upwards to form the bold crease lines that run over the bonnet.

It has quite a silhouette as well, with a roofline that stretches rearward and further accentuated by the elongated C-pillars. This tapers off to a steeply-raked rear glass, although the end result is not quite that of a fastback.

At the back, the sedan gets a similarly slim pair of tail lights which run through the tailgate, giving it a sense of luxury and identity. Below that are reflectors with vertical air outlets as well as twin hexagonal exhaust exits. Overall, it measures 4,973 mm long, 1,900 mm wide, 1,464 mm tall and has a wheelbase of 2,968 mm.

LUX SA2.0

The LUX SA2.0 on the other hand, is based on the F15 BMW X5 and features a chunky front apron with a similar design motif as the sedan – the product of Pininfarina’s involvement in the project. The same slim LED DRLs are used as well. Meanwhile, the headlights, fog lights and air intakes are finished in contrasting matte black, which VinFast claims to “heighten the sense of solidity and structure.”

Don’t let its outer appearance fool you, because this three-row SUV seats seven! Part of the magic comes from using smaller windscreens for the front and rear, as well as adding a contrasting silver finish to the lower side of the doors. The ‘elating’ roof at the D-pillar adds a touch of athleticism, further removing visual bulk.

Behind, the SUV gets the same slim LED tail lights with individual, vertical block-style LED units. Finishing off the rear end are the matte black lower bumper, silver diffuser and integrated hexagonal exhaust tips. It measures 4,940 mm in length, 1,960 in width, 1,773 mm in height and a shorter 2,933 mm wheelbase compared to the sedan. Mind you, that’s even bigger than the F15 BMW X5.

LUX A2.0 cabin (left), LUX SA2.0 cabin (right)

Inside, the driver is greeted with a thick three-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel, paddle shifters and traditional analogue gauges that sandwich a seven-inch digital multi-info display screen. Over to the centre is a 10.4-inch tablet-style infotainment display and features a newly-developed user interface.

The homepage, for example, has just three icons for top level access, including a display that shows the climate control status in the car. There are also sub-menus for phone, audio and GPS navigation system, and the system even has swipe down gesture for shortcuts, just like you would with a smartphone.

Besides the use of LED ambient lighting, another factor which enhances the perceived quality is the use of authentic trim materials. VinFast says if it looks like aluminium, it is aluminium, and if it looks like wood, it is wood. A single supplier – Faurecia – has been appointed to supply all interior parts, which helps ensure consistency and quality.

LUX A2.0

For those who are wondering, the ‘2.0’ suffix refers the capacity of the engine, which in this case is a BMW-sourced N20 2.0 litre four-cylinder petrol engine. It features a twin-scroll turbocharger and a new variable valvetrain system to produce two outputs – 176 PS at 4,500 to 6,000 rpm and 300 Nm from 1,750 to 4,000 rpm, and a hotter 231 PS at 5,000 to 6,000 rpm and 350 Nm from 1,750 to 4,500 rpm.

The LUX A2.0 sedan will get both tunes, while the LUX SA2.0 SUV will only get the 231 PS unit. Both models share the same eight-speed ZF automatic transmission, featuring a modified bell housing and crank case. Drive is sent to the rear wheels as standard, although the SUV comes with optional AWD (torque transfer case from BorgWarner).

For performance, the lower 176 PS output in the sedan achieves a zero to 100 km/h sprint in 8.9 seconds, whereas the 231 PS version gets there in 7.1 seconds. The RWD LUX SA2.0 manages the century sprint in 8.9 seconds, and the heavier AWD model is 0.2 seconds slower at 9.1 seconds. VinFast cars will meet Euro 5 emissions standards in a market and region that is currently regulated under Euro 4.

LUX SA2.0

The engines have been further developed by Austrian engineering firm AVL for the Vietnamese market, using a new assessment technology called AVL-Drive. It found that Vietnamese drivers lean towards the driving styles of Europeans, though preferring a smoother, more powerful torque response from the car without needing to downshift.

Platform-wise, a team of 400 engineers from Austrian specialist consultancy Magna Steyr are putting together a newly-developed vehicle systems, complete with the latest-generation ECU technologies from Bosch, and a new cutting-edge electrical architecture. The new platforms incorporate extensive use of hot-stamped ultra-high strength steels. Testing is being undertaken using nearly 300 prototype development cars in Vietnam and in Europe.

Underpinning both cars is an ultra-rigid monocoque structure. Each structure has been honed to have high natural frequencies, which provide resistance to vibrations and have been engineered to manage torsion and bending forces. The result is greater control over vehicle dynamics, and VinFast claims the cars will offer European levels of driving quality and refinement.

For suspension, both models feature independent double-wishbone up front, with double-pivot lower arms, aluminium shock towers and coil springs. The rear is managed by a five-joint multi-link axle with track rod and a tubular anti-roll bar.

High emphasis has been put on crash protection as well. The car’s strong and rigid passenger cell provides excellent crash protection, and crumple zones at the front and rear help absorb the transfer of energy in the event of a collision. There are six airbags as standard (dual front, side and curtain airbags) on all models, whereas Active Rollover Mitigation technology is also included.

Both the LUX A2.0 and LUX SA2.0 will be built in 2019 at the company’s all-new, purpose-built, 335-hectare plant in Haiphong, northern Vietnam. It is one of Vietnam’s biggest industrial projects ever, and is claimed to be one of the most advanced automotive production complexes in the world.

The automaker is also developing an city car based on the Chevrolet Spark, a battery electric car developed by EDAG, and an electric bus with the support of Siemens. All three will be rolled out by 2020.



GALLERY: VinFast LUX A2.0

GALLERY: VinFast LUX SA2.0

GALLERY: VinFast at the 2018 Paris Motor Show

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