Automotive

China rising: Highlights from the 2016 Beijing Auto Show

All the best from the Beijing Motor Show
All the best from the Beijing Motor Show
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BMW added some legroom to its X1 in Beijing
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BMW added some legroom to its X1 in Beijing
The X1 L is an example of China-specific cars designed to win favor with chauffeur-driven customers
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The X1 L is an example of China-specific cars designed to win favor with chauffeur-driven customers
There's something slightly odd about the X1's proportions in LWB form
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There's something slightly odd about the X1's proportions in LWB form
Jaguar is also chasing the Chinese market with a long-wheelbase XF
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Jaguar is also chasing the Chinese market with a long-wheelbase XF
The BMW X1 L won't be sold anywhere but China
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The BMW X1 L won't be sold anywhere but China
Rear passenger comfort is foremost in the minds of manufacturers making a move into China, including Jaguar
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Rear passenger comfort is foremost in the minds of manufacturers making a move into China, including Jaguar
The long-wheelbase XF is designed for chauffeur-driven customers who want a bit more room to recline
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The long-wheelbase XF is designed for chauffeur-driven customers who want a bit more room to recline
We're wondering why you'd want a longer XF when the XJ exists, but there's clearly a market for cars like this
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We're wondering why you'd want a longer XF when the XJ exists, but there's clearly a market for cars like this
The XF is well known as being a sharp handler, whether or not the LWB version upholds this reputation remains to be seen
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The XF is well known as being a sharp handler, whether or not the LWB version upholds this reputation remains to be seen
There's a definite business jet feel to the XF's rear
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There's a definite business jet feel to the XF's rear
There's something a bit odd about the XF's proportions in LWB form
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There's something a bit odd about the XF's proportions in LWB form
Jaguar's LWB XF looks suspiciously like a Lincoln Continental
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Jaguar's LWB XF looks suspiciously like a Lincoln Continental
The LeEco LeSee's interior has some odd concept car touches
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The LeEco LeSee's interior has some odd concept car touches
The LeSee is meant to show off China's semi-autonomous driving future
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The LeSee is meant to show off China's semi-autonomous driving future
The LeSee at launch in Beijing
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The LeSee at launch in Beijing
VW's T-Prime GTE shows us what a future VW SUV might look like
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VW's T-Prime GTE shows us what a future VW SUV might look like
The T-Prime GTE is bigger than a Touareg, putting it into the same territory as the Mercedes GLS
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The T-Prime GTE is bigger than a Touareg, putting it into the same territory as the Mercedes GLS
The T-Prime GTE's power comes from a hybrid setup
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The T-Prime GTE's power comes from a hybrid setup
The T-Prime GTE will hit 100 km/h in 6 seconds
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The T-Prime GTE will hit 100 km/h in 6 seconds
The T-Prime GTE's interior is designed to curve around the driver
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The T-Prime GTE's interior is designed to curve around the driver
The new Renault Koleos was launched in Beijing
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The new Renault Koleos was launched in Beijing
The Koleos joins the Megane in sporting Renault's new face
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The Koleos joins the Megane in sporting Renault's new face
There are elements of Lincoln Navigator in the Koleos
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There are elements of Lincoln Navigator in the Koleos
The Renault Koleos interior uses a vertically oriented touchscreen to control infotainment
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The Renault Koleos interior uses a vertically oriented touchscreen to control infotainment
The new Lexus IS' interior looks nicely finished
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The new Lexus IS' interior looks nicely finished
The Lexus IS' divisive styling isn't for everyone
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The Lexus IS' divisive styling isn't for everyone
Lexus has given the IS a new light treatment
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Lexus has given the IS a new light treatment
Lexus is determined to stick with its new spindle grille on the new IS
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Lexus is determined to stick with its new spindle grille on the new IS
Citroen mightn't have much of an impact in America, but it's trying to take on China with the C6
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Citroen mightn't have much of an impact in America, but it's trying to take on China with the C6
Mazda's CX-4 is another China-only special
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Mazda's CX-4 is another China-only special
The CX-4's interior looks significantly nicer than the CX-3's cabin
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The CX-4's interior looks significantly nicer than the CX-3's cabin
The CX-4 is a coupe-SUV in the same mould as the BMW X4
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The CX-4 is a coupe-SUV in the same mould as the BMW X4
The CX-4 is unlikely to go off road, but that hasn't stopped Mazda's press department
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The CX-4 is unlikely to go off road, but that hasn't stopped Mazda's press department
The Infiniti's cabin is full of concept flourishes
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The Infiniti's cabin is full of concept flourishes
There's more than a hint of Lexus to the Infiniti's styling
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There's more than a hint of Lexus to the Infiniti's styling
The Infiniti has an X4-style coupe profile
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The Infiniti has an X4-style coupe profile
Infiniti is making a global push, and an SUV will help to grab buyers
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Infiniti is making a global push, and an SUV will help to grab buyers
Infiniti's concept debuted in Beijing
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Infiniti's concept debuted in Beijing
Volvo revealed a production version of its Lounge Console
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Volvo revealed a production version of its Lounge Console
We'd love road trip if the rear seats look like Volvo's Lounge Console
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We'd love road trip if the rear seats look like Volvo's Lounge Console
Volvo's Lounge Console lets you work on the move, without having a pesky passenger in your way
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Volvo's Lounge Console lets you work on the move, without having a pesky passenger in your way
Sorry, the butler's not included with the Volvo Lounge Console
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Sorry, the butler's not included with the Volvo Lounge Console
Volvo showed the Lounge Console concept off with a topless, bodyless S90
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Volvo showed the Lounge Console concept off with a topless, bodyless S90
Honda's new China-only Avancier SUV debuted in Beijing
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Honda's new China-only Avancier SUV debuted in Beijing
Acura's CDX looks suspiciously like a Honda HR-V
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Acura's CDX looks suspiciously like a Honda HR-V
Buick is growing in China, and the Hybrid Lacrosse should draw some more eco-conscious buyers in
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Buick is growing in China, and the Hybrid Lacrosse should draw some more eco-conscious buyers in
The Lacrosse is still the same average-looking sedan on the outside
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The Lacrosse is still the same average-looking sedan on the outside
The Lacrosse's interior is full of beige leather and soft touch surfaces
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The Lacrosse's interior is full of beige leather and soft touch surfaces
The LeSee has a slightly bland face
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The LeSee has a slightly bland face
Mercedes' E-Class has been described as a mini S-Class, but that's never been more true than with the LWB version launched in Beijing
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Mercedes' E-Class has been described as a mini S-Class, but that's never been more true than with the LWB version launched in Beijing
The E-Class L was launched at the Beijing Motor Show
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The E-Class L was launched at the Beijing Motor Show
Mercedes says this car has been inspired by Maybach models
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Mercedes says this car has been inspired by Maybach models
The LWB E-Class has an extra 140 mm between the wheels
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The LWB E-Class has an extra 140 mm between the wheels
All the best from the Beijing Motor Show
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All the best from the Beijing Motor Show

Anyone who doubts China's relevance to the automotive world just needs to take a wander through the China International Exhibition Center to discover just how important it is. With new cars from the likes of Volkswagen and Lexus on show, the Beijing Motor Show played host to some important launches, as well as some market-specific specials from brands keen for a slice of China's 1.35 billion-person pie.

VW T-Prime Concept GTE

The T-Prime GTE will hit 100 km/h in 6 seconds
The T-Prime GTE will hit 100 km/h in 6 seconds

Having teased us earlier this month, VW gave us a glimpse at what its upcoming premium SUV might look like. Inside, it debuts a Curved Interaction Area that melds the infotainment system and driver instruments into one cohesive display, a technology which could debut on production cars as early as next year.

Power comes from a plug-in powertrain, combining a 248 hp (185 kW) gasoline engine with a 134 hp (100 kW) electric motor for a 0-100 km/h (62 mph) sprint of just six seconds.

LeEco LeSee

The LeSee has a slightly bland face
The LeSee has a slightly bland face

The oddly named LeSee is Chinese technology company LeEco's first solo foray into the world of electric cars. Having paired with Aston Martin on its RapidE, and worked with Faraday Future on its projects, the company envisages its car as a smartphone-summoned autonomous taxi.

With a top speed of 209 km/h (130 mph), it's not going to win any autobahn drag races, but the car's unique style and interesting, infotainment-focused interior bode well for the future of Chinese car design.

Infiniti QX Sport Inspiration

Infiniti's concept debuted in Beijing
Infiniti's concept debuted in Beijing

With its angular style and squinting headlamps, the QX Sport Inspiration previews Infiniti's next high-end SUV. The car's coupe-like roofline carries echoes of the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe, and while the cabin is full of concept-car flourishes, it gives us an idea of how Infiniti expects its next alternative to the German-establishment should look.

This is just a taste of what was on show. For the full spread of odd, long-wheelbase specials and concepts, have a flick through our gallery for all the new and exciting metal on display.

1 comment
Stephen N Russell
I go for LeEco LeSee model as best one of bunch since its native Chinese vs the imports. Love to see in US & see EV price wars commence.