The Geely Preface has won the 2021 China Car of the Year award, presented on the eve of the Guangzhou Auto Show’s opening last week. Known as the Xing Rui in its domestic market, the production flagship Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) based sedan was only revealed in September at the Beijing Auto Show.

The annual awards is said to be China’s “fairest and most authoritative annual car award”, judged by an independent panel of 41 automotive journalists and experts. Besides the overall COTY award, the panel voted on six different awards including SUV of the Year, Green Car of the Year, Performance Car of the Year, Design of the Year and Corporate CSR.

The Preface Concept made its debut at the 2019 Shanghai Auto Show and the production sedan is rather faithful to the showcar’s design. The Xing Rui is the second CMA-based model in the Geely range after the Xing Yue coupe SUV, and will be made at the CMA Super Factory in Luqiao that also produces the Lynk & Co 01, Polestar 2 and Volvo XC40 for the Chinese market.

It measures 4,785 mm long and 1,869 mm wide, with a 2,800 mm wheelbase. For perspective, that’s 100 mm shorter than the current Toyota Camry, but 29 mm wider. The Camry’s wheelbase is 25 mm longer. Geely says that its new sedan is one of the biggest, most spacious vehicles in its segment, with emphasis on rear passenger comfort and leg room.

Under the hood is a 2.0 litre turbocharged engine mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox used throughout the Geely range.

At the Guangzhou show, the Xing Rui’s first Firmware Over the Air (FOTA) update was showcased to the public. Claimed to be an industry first for an ICE-powered vehicle, FOTA allows the sedan to be constantly improved remotely with incremental updates to its in-car software, vehicle power, driving dynamics, assisted driving features, and other integrated systems.

Geely says that through FOTA updates, customers can enjoy the benefit of having the “new car experience every time they step through the door”. China sales of the Xing Rui started in October, and there are plans of marketing the handsome sedan globally. Would you like to see the Preface here as Proton’s flagship model?