Auto Shanghai 2017 got underway this week, bringing with it a look at the near future of the world's largest single auto market and the market of that world at large. It looks like auto buyers are in for a much more attractive selection of electric cars, even more SUVs and crossovers (if that's even possible), and some vehicles from brands that didn't even exist a few years ago.
Volkswagen continues its electric surge
Volkswagen is absolutely dead set on getting the world to forget all about the diesel fuel and emissions testing debacle, and it's using flashy electric concept cars to do it. A major auto show rarely passes these days without the introduction of a new VW Group electric concept car, and what better place to release an all-new trio than the world's largest EV market. Shanghai hosted the world premieres of the Audi e-tron Sportback, Volkswagen I.D. Crozz and Skoda Vision E.
We've seen electric Volkswagen and Audi visions before, but the Vision E is the first electric Skoda. It looked a bit sleeker and more swept in the initial sketches, but it's still an attractive e-UV, and its 301-hp AWD electric powertrain and 311 miles (500 km) of range only make it more so. The concept is a nice first step into electric power and autonomy for Skoda. If this is what the future of electrification has in store at the Czech marque, we look forward to it.
MG lets its E-motion out
The Vision E is attractive enough, but it's not the most attractive electric concept in Shanghai. We'd say the MG E-motion easily takes that crown, though its styling runs a little too close to Mazda and a few others to be too enamored with. A lack of specs and details doesn't help foster excitement. We know it's electric, runs about 311 miles per charge, accelerates from 0 to 62 mph in under four seconds, and has an infotainment system. And that's about all. Still, when you're that pretty, you can charm without saying a word.
From hyper to iconic
And now for something totally different: a boxy electric MPV with close ties to two of the world's most expensive and ludicrous supercars. It's the Seven from Iconiq, a China-based brand that launched last year in close partnership with W Motors, the brand whose work includes the insane Lykan Hypersport and equally insane Fenyr Supersport.
The funky, urban-inspired Seven comes in two trims, and the VIP edition is dressed up like it just rolled out of an ultra-luxury conversion shop. Carbon fiber, Italian leather, business class captain's chairs, a driver cab/cabin partition, a 40-in TV, surround sound, a touchscreen command center, a passenger HUD and other amenities keep this van as comfy, high-tech and productive as it is fresh at the tailpipe. Extra points because we're not sure we've ever seen a more defined contrast at an auto show than the Seven-Fenyr split.
Those are some of our favorite highlights of the show, but you can pick out your own in our full photo gallery. There are more electric cars, more intriguing concepts, and some makes and models you may never have heard of if you don't do any car shopping in China.