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Revived by China’s Foton, Germany’s Borgward introduces its first car in 54 years

Fans of obscure, defunct European automakers have a lot to celebrate this year. Germany’s Borgward is making a surprising comeback after spending no less than 54 years in the history books.

Borgward has published the first official images of the crossover that it will show next week at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Called BX7, it takes the form of a 185-inch long soft-roader that wears a sharp-looking front fascia characterized by LED headlights and a 17-slat grille with a modern rendition of Borgward’s historic diamond-shaped emblem.

Chromed roof rails and a tall belt line emphasize the BX7’s height, while the rear end gets horizontal tail lamps, twin oval exhaust outlets and a roof-mounted spoiler. Borgward has not revealed if it built the BX7 on a brand new platform or if it simply re-skinned an existing model, though it boasts the crossover was penned by former Saab design boss Einar Hareide.

Although interior pictures have not been published yet, the born-again car maker promises the BX7’s cockpit can be set up to offer space for five, six, or seven passengers. Additionally, it can be ordered with tech features such as a huge 12.3-inch touch screen built into the center console, a Wi-Fi hotspot and adaptive cruise control.

At launch, the BX7 will exclusively be available with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine tuned to make 225 horsepower. Power is sent to all four wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and an all-wheel drive transmission designed with input from BorgWarner. A more expensive model with a 401-hp plug-in hybrid drivetrain and a 34-mile electric range will tentatively join the lineup a little later in the production run.

The BX7 sounds promising on paper, but there’s a catch. Borgward is being revived by Beiqi Foton Motor, one of China’s biggest commercial vehicle manufacturers. The BX7 that will be shown in Frankfurt is essentially ready for production, but German magazine Auto Bild claims that it will only go on sale in China, where it will be built, and in a small number of emerging markets, at least for the time being.

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Borgward hopes to eventually break into — or, technically speaking, return to — the European market, but a more specific time frame has not been given. Until the company opens up a dealer network on the Old Continent, its comeback plan sounds a lot like Qoros’.