If I ask you to imagine an Italian-style performance car, you would probably think of something with a mid-engine, and sexy design; and if I ask you to imagine an American-style performance car, you would probably think of something that has a V8 engine and rear-wheel-drive. American, German, Italian, Japanese, even the Korean have their own version of a performance car, but what about a Chinese sport car? If I asked you to describe a Chinese performance car, would you have any idea what to say?
Selecting the Lynk & Co 03+
Growing up I remembered within the family we had owned various kinds of cars. So, when the time comes when it’s my turn to choose my own car, I wanted to try something different. We have never had a sports car in the family; therefore, my focus was locked on searching for a sports car. The first two cars that came into my line of sight was the Audi S3 Sedan and the newly redesigned BMW 3-Series. Both cars have a strong sports DNA.
We first went to see the Audi S3. It was praised by various people in the car enthusiast community in China for its potential. But after seeing the S3 in real life, I couldn’t get past its ageing interior design from 7 years ago; plus, the next generation is coming just around the corner. I don’t want to buy a car that gets replaced just 1 year later.
My focus was then shifted to the BMW 3-Series. We went to the dealer and saw a 325Li (long-wheel based model that is exclusively offered in China) with M-package in blue colour. But since it just came out not long ago, getting the 3-Series would mean stretching my budget too far.
Walking out of the BMW dealer with no clear objective of what to buy, we saw a Lynk & Co dealer right outside and thought why not take a walk inside since we have nothing to do. I knew this brand as being the boutique local Chinese brand owned by Geely. It produces cars like the 03+ that generated a lot of hype on the Internet in China; therefore, I was curious to see what it’s all about. Luckily, there was a 03+ at the showroom for us to see. After seeing the Lynk & Co 03+ up close and listening to the salesperson’s pitch, I was kind of fascinated by it. Without even test driving it, I decided on the spot to make a booking for the car.
The day I’ve been waiting for
Since this is the performance variant, production was limited. Luckily, unlike other hyped up models in China, there wasn’t a mark-up in the price for the 03+, nor there were any discounts of course. But this wasn’t an issue for me as the price of the 03+ is equivalent to a Volkswagen Golf GTI at just 228,000 RMB, roughly RM140,000, sitting comfortably below my original budget.
On paper, you get a Volvo T5 2.0 engine paired with an 8-speed auto with an output of 254hp at 5500rpm, and 350Nm at 1800-4800rpm. Besides engine performance, there is an all-wheel-drive system that helps the 03+ sprint from 0-100km/h in 5.9 seconds.
A few days had gone by and I finally received a phone call telling me that my Lynk & Co 03+ had finally arrived. That afternoon when I received the phone call, my mind was not at work anymore. I wasted 0 seconds after work, going straight to the dealer to pick up my car.
Driving the Lynk & Co 03+ for quite a while now, I have a few thoughts about this car. If you imagine the 03+ to be like a Mercedes-AMG A45, then you are wrong. The 03+ is in no place trying to be a full-on performance car. Driving the 03+ on city roads gives you a calm and peaceful feel. The suspension handles potholes on the road like iron smoothing out the wrinkles of your shirt. The only hint of harshness you can feel comes from the 19-inch wheels. You gotta be careful with the wheels because replacing the 245/35/R19 tires could cost you a fortune if you damage them. In terms of suspension setup, I think the 03+ is much more refined and surprisingly more comfortable than my family’s Honda Odyssey.
I think with Lynk & Co’s technical skills, and with the help from Cyan Racing and Polestar from Volvo, they are absolutely capable of making a full-on performance car that competes with the likes of Mercedes-AMG A45. They just chose not to do it.
The Lynk & Co 03+ is a split minded car. On one side it’s refined and comfortable to drive on a daily basis; but on the other hand, if you set the car to Track Mode, the valve of the exhaust opens up and you will hear the angry roars spitting out from the back with some occasional crackles when you lift off the throttle. Between the Audi S3, the Volkswagen Golf GTI, and the Lynk & Co 03+, the 03+ is definitely the best sounding and the loudest out of the three.
The one shortcoming of the 03+ I found not able to look away is its gearbox, a merely 8-speed automatic from Aisin. How can a performance car equip such gearbox that is found in typical uncle’s cars? I think Lynk & Co should have gone with a dual-clutch gearbox. You sacrifice some smoothness, but you can potentially gain much quicker and much more responsive gear shifts. Come on Geely!
Stepping foot inside the car, you will find premium material covering various surfaces. 80% of the interior is covered with Alcantara along with the use of leather, premium plastic, and yellow accent all over the interior. Even the roofline is covered by Alcantara! You pay extra in a Lamborghini to get Alcantara roofline, and yet somehow Lynk & Co was able to offer such premium extra as standard in a car a fraction the cost of a Lamborghini. Interior quality is on par if not better than a BMW M4 or a Mercedes-AMG C63 from what I can feel. Good job Geely for providing such a great quality interior at this price range!
Pros & Cons
Total Score: 4.8/5
Quality & Features: 5/5
Ride Comfort: 5/5
Fuel Economy: 4/5
Price & Cost: 5/5
In conclusion, I don't regret buying the Lynk & Co 03+. It offers a smooth and refined ride for my daily commute. My family members have zero complaints being chauffeured around in the Lynk & Co 03+. Despite some drawbacks, the Lynk & Co 03+ is truly an all-around performance sedan that is both comfortable and has the performance when you needed it.