2019 Shanghai Motor Show

  • Volkswagen SMV Concept – 5.1m-long, 7-seat SUV!

    Volkswagen SMV Concept – 5.1m-long, 7-seat SUV!

    Volkswagen has taken the veils off the new SMV Concept, a huge, seven-seat SUV developed through the FAW-Volkswagen joint venture. It measures over 5.1 metres long and boasts a lengthy wheelbase that’s close to three metres long, allowing ample space for rear occupants.

    According to VW design chief Klaus Bischoff, the SMV Concept will be a true flagship for the JV company, and it’s “the most prestigious car in the history of FAV-VW Volkswagen.” At that size, it’s obviously longer than the Atlas (Teramont in China), which measures 5,037 mm in length, 1,979 mm wide and 1,768 mm tall.

    There’s not much to go about the concept, but it’s safe to assume that the SUV will ride on the MQB platform, one that also underpins the Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport Concept. The platform enables a wide range of engines to choose from, so expect nothing less than a 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol to be fitted here. Reports suggest that the SMV will also be available with the China-exclusive EA390 2.5 litre turbocharged VR6 engine, making 299 PS and 499 Nm of torque.

    Volkswagen SMV Concept – 5.1m-long, 7-seat SUV!

    In some markets, the Atlas can be had with a 3.6 litre VR6 petrol that makes 280 PS, though this may be an unlikely choice considering the tax levied on big bore engines in China. The automaker’s 4Motion all-wheel drive should be available as well, along with a six-speed dual-clutch DSG transmission.

    As for design, there’s little about this concept that would look out of place on the production model. The front fascia is familiar, much like the smaller SUV Coupe Concept, except the SMV Concept’s headlights are surrounded with LED DRLs that meet with the twin chrome bars on the radiator grille.

    Over to the back, the SUV looks more regal with a long, continuous LED tail lights, and this is topped off with an LED-backlit badge. The latter might not make it to production, though. Other key visual features include twin trapezoidal exhaust exits, blacked-out rear spoiler, illuminated door handles, and roof rails.

  • G20 BMW 3 Series long wheelbase unveiled in China

    G20 BMW 3 Series long wheelbase unveiled in China

    China’s appetite for extended sedans continues unabated, with the latest model being the G20 BMW 3 Series long wheelbase. Exclusive to the Middle Kingdom, the car will be built in Tiexi, Shenyang in collaboration with its local partner Brilliance, alongside to the standard variant that will continue to be sold there.

    Munich says that the LWB version accounts for nearly 80% of 3 Series sales in China, so clearly this is a very important new model for the propeller brand. The extra 11 cm stretches the wheelbase to nearly three metres at 2,961 mm, and the total length has grown to 4,829 mm (+120 mm) – the car is now the largest in its segment all around, says BMW. This frees up an additional 43 mm of rear legroom for mid-tier executives to stretch out.

    Otherwise, it’s the same as any other G20 3 Series, sporting the same evolutionary design, with the only difference being the trapezoidal exhaust tips rather than the round pipes seen in other markets. Ditto the interior, which features the new range-topping Live Cockpit Professional infotainment system and the Intelligent Personal Assistant voice control making its Chinese-market debut here.

    The LWB 3er also gets the full complement of driver assistance systems, including Collision and Pedestrian Warning with City Braking function, Lane Departure Warning and Lane Change Warning, Rear Collision Prevention and Cross Traffic Alert and the Driving Assistant Professional semi-autonomous driving function with Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go and steering and lane control assistant.

    Just one variant is available, and it’s one that we’ve not seen before – the 325Li. It’s powered by the same 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine as the 330i, but here it’s detuned to 184 hp and 300 Nm, sent to the rear wheels via the usual ZF eight-speed automatic transmission.

  • Geely Preface sedan concept debuts at Auto Shanghai

    Geely Preface sedan concept debuts at Auto Shanghai

    Geely is continuing its product offensive at Auto Shanghai 2019 with the unveiling of the Preface sedan concept, which the company claims will preview “high-end, personal, sporty” vehicles coming to its lineup in the future. It’s based on the Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) that was jointly developed with Volvo, just like the upcoming coupé-cum-SUV, codenamed FY11.

    The styling features a redevelopment of Geely’s Expanding Cosmos design language, with Geely Design Shanghai vice president Guy Burgoyne saying, “This is a continuation of Geely’s expanding cosmos design identity, reflecting that we have completed an orbit, but we are not simply going around again, we are sling-shotting ourselves forward, onwards to the next great challenge.”

    It all starts with strong proportions, with a wide track, large wheels and muscular haunches giving the Preface a powerful stance. At the front, the grille is larger and more prominent, now completely separated from the slim headlights. And while the concentric design remains, there’s now a scalloped section with vertical bars that Geely says provides extra visual bite and the illusion of a floating logo.

    Moving to the side, the signature bulging front fenders are now gone – instead, there’s a prominent shoulder crease that flows into the window line. A separate character line leads into the rear end that features broad tail lights joined by a chrome bar. The low-slung roofline lends a four-door coupé vibe.

    Open the suicide doors and you’ll find a minimalistic cabin with a simple horizontal dashboard and a tall, floating centre console that bisects the bench seats. There are twin floating displays, a hexagonal steering wheel, engraved metal buttons and what Geely calls “geometrically-lined speakers”.

    The Preface presages the arrival of several globally-oriented products within the next two years as part of its “global refined car development strategy”. So what do you think – would you like to see a production version with a Proton badge?

  • Aston Martin Rapide E debuts in Shanghai – hot EV makes 610 PS and 950 Nm, limited to just 155 units

    Aston Martin Rapide E debuts in Shanghai – hot EV makes  610 PS and 950 Nm, limited to just 155 units

    Aston Martin has unveiled its first ever all-electric car, the Rapide E, at the 2019 Auto Shanghai. The Rapide E is also the first car to be built at the automaker’s state-of-the-art St Athan production plant, otherwise known as its Home of Electrification centre. Customers can already place their orders, but prices are only available on application.

    Production of the luxury model is limited to 155 units and was developed in collaboration with Williams Advanced Engineering. Powering the Rapide E is an 800-volt electrical architecture system that’s encased in carbon-fibre and kevlar.

    The 65 kWh lithium-ion battery pack is made using over 5,600 18650 format battery cells, and is positioned where the original 6.0 litre V12, gearbox and fuel tank were located. This configuration, according to Aston Martin, lets the 800-volt system to operate more efficiently, featuring better charging and thermal characteristics compared to existing electrical architectures. The battery also powers two rear-mounted electric motors that deliver a combined output of 610 PS and 950 Nm of torque.

    A full charge yields a driving range of 320 km (based on stricter WLTP standards), and it’s capable of DC fast-charging at a rate of 298 km per hour using a typical 400-volt 50 kW charger. Fast charging is also available, with the automaker claiming a rate of 500 km per hour using an 800-volt/100 kW outlet. For destination charging, the car also features an industry-leading high-power AC on-board charger capable of recharging the battery in as little as three hours.

    Aston Martin Rapide E debuts in Shanghai – hot EV makes  610 PS and 950 Nm, limited to just 155 units

    Now, for performance, the Rapide E has a zero to 100 km/h sprint time of 4.2 seconds, and sprints from 80 km/h to 112 km/h in 1.5 seconds. Top speed is rated at 250 km/h. Apparently, the Rapide E is designed to deliver performance in a consistent and repeatable way, including the ability to lap the Nürburgring with no performance derating of the battery or the motors.

    In fact, it will also emulate the feel, character and delivery of the V12-engined Rapide AMR, and features three drive modes – GT, Sport and Sport+. Rear-wheel drive is standard here, including a mechanical limited-slip differential. Together with revised spring and damper rates, the Rapide E is said to deliver the pure handling characteristics of the Rapide AMR. Bold claims indeed.

    In terms of looks, there’s no mistaking this for a Rapide. New to it are the honeycomb front grille, as well as larger intakes to help cool the EV powertrain. Since there’s no exhaust system, the underfloor has been optimised for aero efficiency, and it sits on 21-inch forged aluminium wheels (shod with low rolling-resistance Pirelli P-Zero tyres) that are also designed to direct airflow. In total, the Rapide E’s new aero pack marks an 8% improvement over the previous internal combustion model.

    Inside, a new 10-inch digital display replaces the conventional analogue instrumentation, providing information such as the battery’s state of charge, current motor power levels, regenerative performance and a real-time energy consumption metre. There’s more use of carbon-fibre in the cabin, primarily to offset the weight gained with the electric powertrain. The Rapide E weighs in at 2,140 kg, which is about 150 kg more than the Rapide S.

    Aston Martin Rapide E debuts in Shanghai – hot EV makes  610 PS and 950 Nm, limited to just 155 units

    Lastly, there’s a dedicated app for owners, allowing key info from the car to be remotely monitored. This includes remaining range, battery status, and time to charge, as well as allowing navigation destinations to be sent from the app to the car for easy route planning. The health and status of Rapide E can also be tracked from the app, providing reminders such as when service is due.

    President and Group CEO of Aston Martin Lagonda said: “Unveiling the Rapide E will be a huge moment for Aston Martin. As our first all-electric production car, it is a truly historic step. One that signals Aston Martin is prepared for the huge challenge of an environmentally responsible and sustainable future.”

    “As a car company we cannot afford to passively allow that future to come to us; we have to actively chase it. Only by doing this can we learn and prepare, but also preserve those things we love as drivers and car enthusiasts. That’s why it was so important to me that in embracing EV technology we should not let go of those unique qualities that define an Aston Martin. I believe Rapide E embodies that desire and paves the way for a hugely exciting future.”

  • All-new Nissan Sylphy unveiled at 2019 Auto Shanghai

    All-new Nissan Sylphy unveiled at 2019 Auto Shanghai

    Did the next-generation Nissan Almera from a few days ago wow you? Well, it appears Nissan isn’t planning to slow down with its shock and awe approach, as it has presented the all-new, fourth-generation Sylphy at this year’s Auto Shanghai. Intrigued?

    Visually, the new Sylphy sports a more aggressive front end bearing the brand’s signature V-motion grille. This is joined by angular headlamps with a distinctive “boomerang” lighting signature within them, as well as concaved sections in the lower apron that accommodate the L-shaped trim surrounding the fog lamps.

    Strong creases on the bonnet leading from the grille to the A-pillars project a sense of strength, and the overall stance of the car is wider as well. Along the sides, the result of the sculpted bonnet is made more obvious, as are the prominent shoulder lines across the wheel arches.

    A carryover from the outgoing Sylphy is the kinked beltline close to the C-pillar, although this has been further worked on to incorporate a blacked-out area for a “floating roof” look. This trend was first presented on the IMQ Concept, and is present among recent Nissan models like the Almera, Altima, Leaf, March and Maxima.

    All-new Nissan Sylphy unveiled at 2019 Auto Shanghai

    At the rear, the sleek, wraparound taillights feature the same “boomerang” look reminiscent of the headlamps. Meanwhile the boot lid blends in neatly with the rest of the bodywork, with the black C-pillars providing further visual drama. Down in the lower apron, a faux diffuser contributes to the sporty look that Nissan is going for.

    Nissan says this new shape also allows for a lower centre of gravity than before, as well as decreased wind resistance, with a drag coefficient of just 0.26. Barring any official dimensions, there’s also claims of a roomy and luxurious interior.

    On the inside, a completely new dashboard greets passengers, and is dominated by an 8-inch central display placed just above the triple air-con vents and climate control switchgear. If you’ll notice, the “Gliding Wing” that Nissan talks about is evident here, and incorporates slim air vents at the edges.

    A flatter centre console is where the gear lever, USB/AUX inputs, cupholders and engine start button are located, but strangely, the car seen in these photos still comes with a foot-operated handbrake although this could be specific to certain markets like China – there looks to be a place for an electronic handbrake.

    All-new Nissan Sylphy unveiled at 2019 Auto Shanghai

    For the driver, there’s a new steering wheel design similar to those on other Nissans, and the instrument cluster sports both analogue dials and a middle seven-inch screen. Soft 3D Multilayer ergonomic seats are available with black, light gray or tan upholstery, with the last option benefiting from a diamond-cut quilting pattern as you see here.

    Safety technologies that are available include Intelligent Forward Collision Warning, Blind Spot Warning, Lane Departure Warning, Cross Traffic Alert and Intelligent Driving Alert, which support the driver in anticipating and avoiding hazardous situations.

    Engine-wise, the Sylphy gets a HR16DE Gen3 1.6 litre naturally-aspirated four-cylinder petrol engine, which is paired with an Xtronic CVT. Specific output figures have yet to be revealed, but Nissan promises a boost to engine stability and fuel efficiency. Further possible engine options have yet to be revealed for now.

    The car also comes with something called Integrated Dynamic Control Module that uses targeted brake applications after the vehicle encounters a bump or undulation to immediately improve the level of the body, enhancing ride quality. Other drive-related technologies include Intelligent Trace Control, Intelligent Ride Control and Emergency Brake for Pedal Misapplication.

  • Volkswagen SUV Coupe Concept debuts in Shanghai

    Volkswagen SUV Coupe Concept debuts in Shanghai

    Volkswagen is premiering a number of new SUVs at the ongoing 2019 Auto Shanghai, one of which is the all-new SUV Coupe Concept. It represents FAW-Volkswagen’s first coupe-styled SUV, and its imminent introduction falls in line with the automaker’s plan to aggressively populate its SUV range. VW has also recently introduced the T-Roc, Tharu and Tayron models in China.

    As the name suggests, the SUV Coupe Concept combines “avantgarde design, sporty proportions and outstanding performance.” It sits on the familiar MQB platform, which means the car could potentially share the same powertrain and driveline as other SUVs in the group. If so, expect a high-performance R model to crown the line-up as well.

    Design-wise, its front face appears to take after the T-Roc, featuring a huge radiator grille that blends together with the LED headlights. The front apron is also bold-looking, complete with a long chrome strip that adds drama to the lower extremities.

    Volkswagen SUV Coupe Concept debuts in Shanghai

    Moving to the side, the automaker’s prominent shoulder line is featured here, which graduates from the edges of the headlights to the muscular haunch, before finally meeting the steep roofline. Behind, a pair of LED tail lamps with triple X graphics are seen, as well as integrated dual exhaust exits and a diffuser. A closer look at the car’s rump reveals the 380 TSI badge, which means a 2.0 litre TSI variant is likely to be offered.

    During its unveiling, Volkswagen China CEO, Stephan Wollenstein said: “By 2020, we will double our SUV family from six to at least 12 SUV model series. In each of our joint ventures (FAW Volkswagen and SAIC Volkswagen) we will offer a complete palette of SUV models for every taste, from compact to extra roomy, highly stylish to highly functional, from powerful design to premium equipment.”

    According to a press statement, Volkswagen expects the share of SUV in China to double up to 40% until 2020. This projected growth comes on the back of lowered sales tax, Wollenstein said. VW Group China will launch a total of eight SUVs in China this year.

  • Honda X-NV Concept debuts in Shanghai – EV HR-V

    Honda X-NV Concept debuts in Shanghai – EV HR-V

    Honda unveiled the X-NV Concept at the 2019 Auto Shanghai, which previews an upcoming mass-production electric vehicle from Dongfeng Honda scheduled to go on sale in the second half of 2019.

    If you think you’re looking at a restyled HR-V, you’re not wrong. However, the X-NV does get its own unique front and rear more akin to the China-only XR-V (the HR-V version sold by Dongfeng Honda), with a “tusk-like” look for the front bumper, joined by a large trim piece running through the middle of the lower apron.

    Other notable cues at the front include blue accents on various parts of the bumper, including on the not-Honda logo placed within the single-louvre grille, which likely hides the car’s charging port.

    Honda X-NV Concept debuts in Shanghai – EV HR-V

    Meanwhile, the XR-V-based rear is enough to convince you that this isn’t a HR-V, with the kinked taillights completely absent here. In their place are smaller clusters linked by a central trim piece on the reshaped tailgate, with reflectors tucked away in the corners.

    Honda previously announced its mid-term vision for electrification in China, which is to introduce more than 20 electrified models to the market by 2025. Last year, the company, together with its other Chinese partner Guangzhou Automobile Group (GAC), introduced the Everus VE-1.

    Honda’s official release for the X-NV didn’t include any details about the car’s powertrain, but it should be similar to the VE-1, which features a 161 hp (120 kW) and 280 Nm electric motor paired with a 53.6 kWh battery.

  • Z177 Mercedes-AMG A35 L 4Matic – only for China

    Z177 Mercedes-AMG A35 L 4Matic – only for China

    This is the Mercedes-AMG A 35 L 4Matic, which is essentially the long-wheelbase version of the performance sedan that the company revealed in March 2019. Like the regular A-Class L Sedan, the A 35 L will be built by Beijing Benz Automotive, a joint venture between Daimler and its Chinese partner BAIC Motor.

    Compared to the A 35 Sedan, the A 35 L comes with a 60 mm gain in terms of wheelbase, with the final figure at 2,789 mm compared to 2,729 mm. Beyond that, the car is almost identical from every single aspect, as it still gets the AMG styling treatment at the front with a twin-louvre grille, AMG Line front apron with canards, and a front splitter.

    Around the sides, there are 19-inch, side skirts and dedicated AMG badging on the C-pillars, while the rear gets a diffuser insert and a spoiler lip on the boot lid, complemented by two round tailpipe trims. Some of these items are part of the standard AMG Aerodynamics package, while the AMG Night adds on black design details.

    Z177 Mercedes-AMG A35 L 4Matic – only for China

    Inside, you’ll still get a widescreen display linked to the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) with dedicated AMG display styles. Other highlights of the interior include a choice of a standard AMG steering wheel or a Performance version – the latter comes with a rotary control with an integrated display. Buyers will also get to choose between two interior themes – classic red/black and titan grey/black.

    Performance-wise, the uprated M260 2.0 litre turbo four-pot serves up 302 hp (306 PS) at 5,800 rpm and 400 Nm of torque from 3,000-4,000 rpm. A seven-speed AMG Speedshift DCT 7G dual-clutch transmission sends power to all four wheels through an AMG Performance 4Matic variable all-wheel drive system.

    The increased sheet metal for the longer wheelbase does affect the zero to 100 km/h time, which is 4.9 seconds. That is one tenth slower than the standard-wheelbase model, or negligible for most people. The A 35 L is electronically limited to a top speed of 250 km/h. The five AMG Dynamic Select drive programmes – Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport + and Individual – are identical to the A 35.

  • Lotus Evora GT4 Concept – 450 hp, 510 Nm machine!

    Lotus Evora GT4 Concept – 450 hp, 510 Nm machine!

    Lotus has taken the wraps off the Evora GT4 Concept at the Shanghai Auto Show, showcasing the most hardcore version of the model, complete with the Anglo-Sino (Union Jack and Five-starred Red Flag) livery.

    The car utilises the same anodised, lightweight aluminium, extruded, epoxy bonded and rivetted high-stiffness chassis as the road car, but equipped with carbon-fibre body panels. The glass windows are now made of plexiglass as well. Despite the addition of enhanced structural and motorsport safety systems, this Lotus racer weighs 1,200 kg (subject to ballast), while reaching a top speed of 274 km/h.

    It also features advanced aerodynamics for improved downforce and high-speed stability, with a competition-biased balance. It employs the same front clam layout as the Evora GT430 road car, but is slightly modified to allow for the cooling requirements of a race car. This includes removable canards and in-mouth brake ducts, as well as louvres positioned on top of each front wheel arch to reduce pressure above the wheel.

    Lotus Evora GT4 Concept – 450 hp, 510 Nm machine!

    The car’s rear also uses the same setup as the road car, with sculpted ducts behind each wheel to vent airflow as quickly as possible from the wheel arches. However, here it gets a composite, four-vein diffuser and an adjustable, carbon-fibre, flat-plan motorsport wing. Other notable additions include centre lock wheels.

    Besides that, the GT4 Concept employs an eight-point T45 roll cage, a six-point FIA HANS approved harnesses and HANS compliant seat, FIA compliant electrical kill switch and fire extinguisher. The car’s instrument panel has also been upgraded to a six-inch TFT colour screen for vital data logging.

    For performance, the car uses the same aluminium 3.5 litre V6 engine with Harrop supercharger, delivering 456 PS and 510 Nm of torque. No 0-100 km/h timing here, though it’s worth noting that the car boasts a power-to-weight ratio of 375 hp per tonne. It also gets a bespoke motorsport exhaust system with FIA approved catalytic converter.

    Lotus Evora GT4 Concept – 450 hp, 510 Nm machine!

    Power is channeled to the rear wheels through a sequential six-speed motorsports transmission, with semi-dry sump, force feed lubrication and external cooler. There’s also a beefier AP Racing Cerametallic twin plate clutch to manage power delivery, motorsports ECU, as well as a Numatics paddle shift system and Torsen-type limited slip differential.

    Braking power is managed by huge 380 mm rotors up front and 355 mm units for the rear, complete with four-piston callipers and motorsport compound brake pads. A Bosch M5 motorsport ABS is deployed too, whilst the suspension setup comprises a Lotus-tuned, two-way adjustable dampers with forged aluminium, high lateral stiffness double wishbones, and tubular front and rear anti-roll bars.

    Factory drivers Cui Yue (29-years old) and Gaoxiang Fan (25-years old) will be tasked with demonstrating the car’s potential, and they will do so through the newly established Lotus Driving Academy in China. The facility will see drive events be held for team and members of the public, which include driver training sessions and hot lap experiences.

  • Mercedes-Benz Concept GLB unveiled in Shanghai

    Mercedes-Benz Concept GLB unveiled in Shanghai

    Have you ever stayed up late at night staring at Mercedes-Benz’s line-up of SUVs, wondering if there’s room for another model between the GLA and GLC? Well, the German carmaker has asked itself that exact question, and has come up with this, the Concept GLB.

    The SUV concept is making its debut at the ongoing Auto Shanghai, and serves as a preview for a series production model that will come later on. However, while it may be labelled a “concept,” a good percentage of the vehicle certainly looks pretty much production ready, at least to our eyes.

    According to Mercedes-Benz, the Concept GLB places emphasis on spaciousness and robustness, and the figures certainly seem to suggest that. Dimension-wise, the GLB measures 4,634 mm long, 1,890 mm wide, 1,900 mm tall (including the roof box) and features a 2,829 mm wheelbase.

    The GLA is obviously a lot smaller (4,417 mm length, 1,804 mm width, 1,494 mm height, 2,699 mm wheelbase) by comparison, but when matched up against the GLC (4,656 mm length, 1,890 mm width, 1,638 mm height, 2,873 mm wheelbase), Mercedes-Benz’s claims of the GLB having “compact dimensions” are a little curious.

    Mercedes-Benz Concept GLB unveiled in Shanghai

    These dimensions are factored into the vehicle’s styling, which certainly provides it with quite some presence. At the front, the upright grille sports double louvres in a design that isn’t unlike what you’ll see on the GLA. Flanking the grille are Multibeam LED headlamps with light bar signatures in the corners of clusters.

    Moving down the sides, the GLB’s muscular shoulder meets up with a rising beltline, the latter with a slight raise near the C-pillar. From the side, you’ll note the vehicle’s short overhangs, generous wheelbase and large window areas. Those 17-inch two-tone wheels are meant to illustrate the SUV’s rugged nature, along with LED spotlights and black roof rails.

    At the rear, you get more of the sense that this is just a GLC with the corners pushed out, as the vertical rear window suggests. Even the taillights bear some resemblance to those on the latest GLC, with similar graphics and a two-piece setup that is part of tailgate. A “cute” touch on the concept is the four baby exhausts hiding within each of larger outlets.

    Focusing on the GLB’s meat and potatoes, the interior, we find a dashboard layout that’s rather similar to other Mercedes-Benz compact cars like the A-Class, CLA and B-Class. The Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) with its large widescreen is ever familiar, as are three central air-con vents.

    Unique GLB touches include the off-road-type tubular elements in milled aluminium can be found on the lower part of the dash, door handles and sides of the centre console. On the concept, chestnut brown is the predominant colour tone, with open-pored walnut used in other areas.

    Of course, Mercedes-Benz’s application of materials isn’t in question here. What’s more important is the practicality that it’ll offer, and things appear to be promising. For instance, the company says the GLB will be its first compact model with third-row seating, so up to seven people can get in.

    Those rearmost seats can be folded following a 60:40 split, and can be recessed flush into the load compartment. As for the middle seat row, it’s 40:20:40 split-folding, and is fore-and-aft adjustable by 140 mm – 90 mm to the front and 50 mm to the rear. Additionally, a total of four child seats can be attached in the second and third seat rows.

    In terms of what’s going on under the bonnet, the GLB is powered by a M260 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which offers 221 hp (224 PS) and 350 Nm of torque. The engine is paired to an eight-speed 8G-DCT dual-clutch transmission (also used in the B-Class), with 4Matic all-wheel drive in tow.

  • Audi AI:ME debuts in Shanghai – built for megacities

    Audi AI:ME debuts in Shanghai – built for megacities

    Audi has unveiled the AI:ME at this year’s Auto Shanghai, which serves as a preview for an autonomous mobility concept for the megacities of the future. The AI:ME is the third vision vehicle from the brand for use in clearly defined areas, with others being the AIcon and PB18, with a fourth concept arriving in September 2019.

    While the AIcon is geared towards long-distance drives, and the PB18 is designed for use on race tracks, the AI:ME was developed with urban mobility in mind. As such, it’s a rather “compact” car, measuring 4.3 metres long, 1.9 metres wide, 1.52 metres and with a 2.77-metre wheelbase.

    Motivation is provided by a 168 hp (170 PS or 125 kW) electric motor driving the rear wheels, but extreme acceleration values and top highway speeds aren’t the focal points of the car. Instead, Audi believes the AI:ME will be driven predominantly between speeds of 20 and 70 km/h, so the full e-motor output won’t be necessary to keep up with the flow of city traffic.

    As such, the aim is to ensure the vehicle is capable of remaining mobile for long periods of time; hence the battery has a modest capacity of 65 kWh. The vehicle’s low weight and brake energy recuperation also help lower the energy consumption even in city traffic.

    Audi AI:ME debuts in Shanghai – built for megacities

    The AI:ME is also capable of level 4 autonomous driving, allowing the driver to completely transfer the task of driving to the system in areas defined for autonomous driving. As the vehicle lacks level 5 functionality like the AIcon, a traditional steering wheel and pedals are still present, so manual driving is possible when needed.

    This level of autonomy has an impact on the exterior design of the concept, with lighting playing an important role to not just light the path ahead, but also to communicate with other road users.

    On most of the surfaces featuring a diamond-like pattern, there are LED elements or micro matrix projectors that use easily identifiable symbols to signal to pedestrians when the AI:ME is letting them cross the road, for example. Additionally, they can als project graphics onto the road, provide additional illumination to other road users, and interpret signals (like hazards) from other vehicles to inform other motorists.

    The overall shape of the concept is rather pleasing to the eyes, and deviates away from the typical boxy show cars of the past. The sleek body and generous use of glass are complemented by rear suicide doors, as well as large 23-inch wheels.

    With not a lot of driving to do, the AI:ME’s interior is meant to promote a “third living space” beyond our homes and workplaces. Copious amounts of stowage space can be found inside, while magnetised surfaces allow you to keep metal cups and plates in place.

    Other highlights include lounge-like chairs, a multi-function 3D OLED monitor, eye-tracking technology, virtual reality, active noise control, artificial intelligence, electrochromatic glass and a mix of premium and recyclable materials. The goal is to create an ambience within the cabin that promotes the wellbeing of passengers when commuting within the city, where traffic jams are common.

  • Audi AI:ME concept tipped for Auto Shanghai debut

    Audi AI:ME concept tipped for Auto Shanghai debut

    Audi is set to present a new concept at this year’s Auto Shanghai, which it describes as an “automated driving compact car for the megacities of tomorrow.” To go along with the announcement, the German carmaker has released a number of sketches to preview the concept, along with a name: AI:ME.

    There’s not much in the way of details for now, but based on what we’re being shown, the concept will have plenty of room on the inside for up to four passengers. Even though the car will be heavily associated with autonomous driving, the cabin still features a steering wheel, albeit one that is rather space age in design.

    Other highlights of the interior include a selection of smaller displays, some of which will likely have touch accessibility, as well as a primary widescreen located just ahead of the driver.

    As for the exterior, the AI:ME appears to be a hybrid of the Elaine and Aicon autonomous driving concepts from the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show, with influences from more recent show cars like the Q4 e-tron and e-tron GT. A boxy but compact people mover is one way we’d described it best.

    Aside from being a showcase of Audi’s autonomous driving technology, the AI:ME should also demonstrate the company’s latest artificial intelligence developments, and adopt an all-electric powertrain. We’ll only find out more when it is unveiled in Shanghai later this month.

  • Infiniti Qs Inspiration – sports sedan concept teased

    Infiniti Qs Inspiration – sports sedan concept teased

    For this year’s Auto Shanghai, Infiniti will introduce a new sports sedan concept that previews an upcoming production model. Called the Qs Inspiration, the vehicle is built on a modular platform that is meant to accommodate electrified powertrains.

    According to Infiniti, the concept will illustrate the company’s new design philosophy for its future electrified vehicles, which is “inspired by the art and modern architecture of Japan.”

    Based on the provided teaser image, the concept will feature a rather rounded body, with slim taillights nestled just above the Infiniti logo. Other highlights include a large glass roof, side cameras instead of mirrors, angled outlets on the bumper, and what appears to be a diffuser.

    The carmaker also touched upon the interior, which it describes as being minimalist with two distinct areas: “a clutter-free cockpit designed to engage the driver, and a relaxed passenger zone that make the most of the generous interior space.”

    Infiniti also cited the Q45 in its release, a sedan model that was first released in 1989 and spanned three generations. At the time, it was a rather modern vehicle with a 4.5 litre V8 engine and an active suspension system being introduced later on. “Thirty years forward, the brand is delivering another groundbreaking sedan,” the company wrote in its release.

  • Nissan to debut new sedan in Shanghai – new Sylphy?

    Nissan to debut new sedan in Shanghai  – new Sylphy?

    Nissan has announced that for this year’s Auto Shanghai event, it will unveil an all-new sedan. There isn’t a whole lot in terms of details, but the carmaker did say the model “features Nissan’s latest distinctive design cues and offers an array of technologies that embody Nissan Intelligent Mobility.”

    It’s rumoured that the mysterious model will be the new Sylphy, which is also known as the Sentra in some markets. Earlier this year, leaked photos of the completely redesigned sedan surfaced on the internet, revealing a styling approach that is influenced by the latest Teana and Maxima.

    The new Sylphy features the brand’s signature V-motion grille and an aggressive front bumper with angular fog lamp sections. Also present are a pair of sleek and shapely headlamps with “boomerang” light signatures that meet up with the grille.

    Nissan to debut new sedan in Shanghai  – new Sylphy?

    Along the sides, the photos also reveal a rather rakish roofline as well as a blacked-out section on the C-pillar to provide a “floating roof” look. The “kink” also seen in this area appears to be a common theme on Nissan models, as it can also be found on the Maxima and Leaf.

    The Sylphy’s rear sports wraparound taillights and a more sculpted tailgate, the latter appearing to mimic the V-motion grille around the section that houses the number plate. There’s also a prominent diffuser further down, something that isn’t present on the current Sylphy.

    According to Autohome, the new Sylphy will be longer (4,641 mm) and wider (1,815 mm) than its predecessor (4,631 mm long and 1,760 mm wide). It also has a slightly longer wheelbase (2,712 mm versus 2,700 mm), but it isn’t as tall at just 1,450 mm instead of the current car’s 1,503 mm. The model is also said to have a 1.6 litre four-cylinder engine that produces 137 hp (139 PS).

  • BMW X1 xDrive25Le iPerformance update to debut at Auto Shanghai 2019 – 83% more range, 1.3 l/100 km

    BMW X1 xDrive25Le iPerformance update to debut at Auto Shanghai 2019 – 83% more range, 1.3 l/100 km

    BMW will unveil an updated version of its X1 xDrive25Le at this year’s Auto Shanghai, promising increased range and better efficiency. The X1 xDrive25Le is a plug-in hybrid model based on the Chinese-market X1 Long Wheelbase, and is produced at BMW Brilliance Automotive’s Tiexi plant in Shenyang, China.

    Most of powertrain components are as before, including a 1.5 litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine and six-speed Steptronic gearbox to drive the front wheels, while an electric motor handles the rear ones. The total system output is 231 PS and 382 Nm of torque, which results in a zero to 100 km/h time of 7.4 seconds.

    However, it is the drive system’s improved lithium-ion battery that helps increase the vehicle’s range by 83%, while reducing fuel consumption by some 72% to 1.3 litres per 100 km.

    According to BMW, the reworked cells in the battery now use a ratio of 8:1:1 of nickel, cobalt and manganese in the anode material. The expanded nickel share increases energy density, while the reduction in the cobalt component means that less rare earth material is required.

    The carmaker didn’t disclose extra facts and figures (or even photos for now), but the pre-updated X1 xDrive25Le’s battery has a capacity of 10.7 kWh, so the new one should see an improvement. These changes do result in a battery that remains the same size, but is heavier by 2.5 kg. As before, the battery is manufactured in Shenyang.


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Last Updated May 16, 2024