Chinese motor shows tend to attract more interest (and amusement) for the cheap tacky rip-offs of quality, legitimate models than new cars we’d seriously consider driving over here (remember Evoque-esque LandWind X7?)
That has changed in recent years and 2018’s Auto China – aka the Beijing Motor Show – is parading some brilliant new cars. Here are some of our favourites:
Mercedes-Benz A-Class Saloon
It’s basically the fourth-gen hatchback but with a boot tacked on the back and more legroom for rear passengers. You could accuse us of being reductive, but that’s all there is to this shrimpy C-Class.
A spacious cabin in the rear is highly valued in China, hence why Mercedes has opted to reveal the ‘A-Class L Saloon’ there. It’ll launch in China before the end of the year before arriving in the UK early 2019.
It’s the X3 you know and love but this time, it’s electric. The iX3 will have some daunting ready-made rivals to face down when it arrives in 2020 because waiting for it will be the Tesla Model X and Jaguar I-Pace.
Audi’s e-tron electric SUV is also due to arrive before the end of 2018 and Mercedes’ EQC won’t be too far behind it. So that’s four major competitors it’ll have to beat right off the bat.
As this is only a concept for now, figures are loose, but a 249-mile range is being touted around and it’ll have to deliver some swift charging times to rival the Audi e-tron.
Following the iX3’s introduction, BMW says it’ll be able to fit an all-electric powertrain into any new series model, effectively electrifying its entire range.
A second electric Mini
We already know the electric three-door Mini E is coming in 2019, but a second electric Mini is being developed just for the Chinese market.
Mini has effectively been forced to do this because tight regulations on electric vehicles in China mean that the Mini E can’t be exported to the region. In most cases, a brand would just write it off but China is Mini’s fourth-largest market and buys more electric vehicles than any other country; put simply, it can’t be ignored.
Time will tell what this second electric Mini will look like…
McLaren 570GT MSO Cabbeen Collection
Chinese fashion designer Ziming Yang, known as Mr Cabbeen, has teamed up with McLaren to produce a super-limited run of five cars.
The McLaren 570GT MSO Cabbeen Collection will boast “distinctive Chinese classic design elements” such as gold-painted dragon motifs dotted around the car. You’ll find them on the doors, embroidered into the Alcantara centre console beneath the infotainment system and on the rear luggage deck.
It’s all styling though, no changes have been made to the engine or how it’ll run – so just the same old 562bhp 3.8-litre twin-turbocharged unit then…
DS X E-Tense
This is what DS thinks its cars will look like in 2035 and Blade Runner fans are sure to approve.
Unlike some futuristic concepts, it still has a steering wheel and pedals, but conventional head and tail lights have been replaced by an intricate LED structure embedded into the X E-Tense’s bodywork.
In normal mode, the car will pump out a maximum power output of 533bhp, but flicking to ‘circuit mode’ more than double that to 1,341bhp.
BMW M2 Competition
M2 not quick enough for you? This version delivers a 39bhp power upgrade, to 404bhp and shaving its 0-62mph sprint to 4.2 seconds, while including the M Driver package removes the electronically limited 155mph speed cap to allow speeds of up to 170mph.
Brakes are upgraded to handle this extra grunt and the chassis has been revised too.