RAC Cars News


Concept Car Heaven At Shanghai

By raccars Published

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The Shanghai Motor Show opens the doors on its sixteenth season next week, and this year's event promises to be the biggest yet. The show grows in importance every year along with the Chinese auto market but remains significant mostly for the introduction of new ideas. For those interested in where the auto industry is heading, it's concept car heaven.

There will be new metal on display from all the major manufacturers and it seems even niche brands, such as McLaren, are waking up to the importance of China. While many of the exhibits will be aimed strictly at the domestic consumer, there are some interesting potential new models to be seen, which could be relevant for the global auto industry.

BMW X5 xDrive40e

This is the production version of the plug in hybrid X5, which has appeared at previous shows as the Concept X5 eDrive. While BMW has had great success with its 'I' sub brand, this is the first time it has applied plug-in hybrid technology to a core model. Electric power provides a 19 mile range and the combined output from a 2.0 litre petrol turbo engine, assisted by an electric motor, is 309bhp.

Citroen Aircross

After the C4 Cactus made the crossover market sit up in amazement last year, Citroen is following the same blueprint with a larger SUV model. Featuring Cactus-like styling, the hybrid Aircross is capable of 31 miles of driving under electric power alone and gets to 62mph in a very impressive 4.5 seconds. It also promises CO2 emissions of 39g/km and 166mpg.

McLaren 540C

Set to rival the Audi R8 and the Porsche 911, the 540C will be McLaren's entry level model for its new Sport Series line up. The core 570S Coupe model was introduced at the beginning of this month in New York, while the junior 540C will be making its world debut at Shanghai.

Mercedes-Benz GLC Coupe

Hoping to shake BMW's stranglehold on the premium SUV sector, Mercedes has two medium sized models in the pipeline. Progress is underway on the standard GLC and the swoopy Coupe version will be introduced in Shanghai. Expect the GLC to be ready to take on the BMW X4 from 2016.


MG has serious global ambitions, leading it to develop a compact SUV to take on the Nissan Juke from next year. A UK format GS will be introduced at next year's Geneva Motor Show but Chinese buyers are already snapping up the brand's first ever SUV. It will have its work cut out challenging Nissan's dominance in the all important crossover segment.

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