GMW Ora Funky Cat, a touch of class and charisma

In Electric, Electric cars, GMW by Neil Lyndon

For what it’s actually worth, the GMW Ora Funky Cat is a staggering piece of kit

Car Reviewed: GMW ORA Funky Cat Electric Car

This new all-electric five-door supermini is the first large-scale happening into Europe for China’s immense Great Wall company in a 50:50 joint venture with BMW on this one. Quite unlike the primitive and brutalist pick-up which Great Wall marketed half-heartedly in the UK between 2012-2017, the Ora Funky Cat radiates class and charisma (especially if you lop off the last two words of its cringe-making name and just call it Ora).

The lines appear to have been drawn from a European stewpot. There’s a hint of Fiat 500 here, a touch of Mini and a trace of Clio. It may not be exactly original, but it’s undeniably clever.

It contains an amazing range of accessories and equipment as standard. Awarded a five-star EuroNCAP crash safety rating, it carries as many safety warnings – like emergency braking for pedestrians or cyclists – as a top-of-the-range Mercedes. Its suite of cameras is as comprehensive as a Bentley’s. Climate controls can be operated remotely from an app on your mobile, like an Audi.

Some of this gizometry could have done with a little more perfecting. The turn indicators, for example, cannot be relied upon to cancel. This is an unusual failure of quality control in a modern car, but unless you keep your wits about you, you might still be indicating left five miles after you completed your last turn. The fatigue monitoring device bossily tells you to keep your eyes on the road when you have merely turned to your companion in the passenger seat to say what a lovely day it has turned out to be. It also allows you to set up a facial recognition system for security, but I’m not sure I would trust it. The overall impression is that this car might have been more ready to be sent out for sale after it had been given a few more turns around the test track and a bit more attention to the data on the laptops.

However, the automatic regenerative braking is so powerful and efficient that the Ora can be driven solely on the accelerator pedal most of the time on the road. A top speed of 99 mph may look like no great shakes but acceleration from 0-62 mph in 8.3 seconds is more than enough in a city car. Handling, grip, steering and ride are all at almost the level of Honda’s brilliant all-electric e, which is the embodiment of fun on wheels.

And, dismayingly, so is the price. The Honda costs a ridiculous £30000-odd and so does the Ora. In both cases, you look at these dinky little cars and say, “This would be a good buy at £15000.” At £30000+, they are simply and straightforwardly out of the question for any sane customer. I doubt if the number of these cars sold for the full price would get into four figures for a year.

So keep your eyes out for an Ora Funky Cat. It’s going to be a rare sight. In fact, if you see one on the streets, it’s likely to be a journalist’s test car.

Author Rating 3.5/5

Car reviewed: GMW Ora Funky Cat First Edition

on the road price from £31,995

  • 0-62mph 8.3secs
  • Top speed 99mph
  • Power Electric Motor / 48kWh Li-ion polymer battery
  • Electric Range WLTP 194miles
  • Max Power 171ps
  • Torque 250Nm
  • Dimensions MM 4235 L / 1825 W / 1603 H
  • CO2 emissions 0g/km
  • Transmission Single speed Automatic front-wheel drive
  • Bootspace 228 / 858 1itres (seats folded)

Neil Lyndon

Motoring Correspondent

Neil Lyndon has been a journalist, broadcaster and writer on the UK’s national stage for 40 years, writing for every “quality” newspaper on Fleet Street. He started writing about cars and motorbikes for The Sunday Times in the 1980s and was Motoring Correspondent of the Sunday Telegraph for 20 years, having previously written a column on motorbikes for Esquire. He is also recognised as a leading commentator on gender politics, having published No More Sex War in 1992 – the first ever critique of feminism from a radical, egalitarian point of view.

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