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Previewing the 2016 Beijing Motor Show

By raccars Published

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The Beijing Motor Show is on, with hot new metal from Chinese and international manufacturers.

Cars by Chinese manufacturers tend not to be of particular interest to a European audience but there are always plenty of international launches in Beijing too. A number of major manufacturers are showcasing versions of their cars which are aimed specifically at the Chinese market, such as stretched out long wheelbase editions of the Audi A4, the BMW X1, the Mercedes E-Class and the Jaguar XF.

Among the most interesting news so far is that Chinese manufacturer Geely, the owner of Volvo, is planning to introduce a new European car brand, based upon Volvo components but sitting at a slightly lower price point and allowing the Swedish firm to concentrate on its premium ambitions.

The key cars at the Beijing Motor Show

Audi TT RS

This barnstorming version of the TT comes with a five cylinder 2.5 litre petrol unit producing 395bhp. Coupe and roadster versions will reach UK showrooms in October this year with beefy styling and seriously sporty performance. At 3.7 seconds to 62mph, it's also a shade faster than the Porsche 718 Boxster S.

Infiniti QX Sport Inspiration

This SUV concept gives us a good idea as to what to expect from the next QX70, with space age styling, sporty performance and a luxury interior. It should compete with the Porsche Macan. While it's very sophisticated looking, the QX is apparently pretty capable in the rough too, as at home off-road as it is on. Infiniti claims that the QX has been designed with production status in mind so don't expect too much to change when and if it does hit the road.

Mazda CX-4

Mazda has yet to confirm that the CX-4 will be sold in Europe but it's easy to imagine a business case for this smart looking SUV coupe - provided that it's constructed with Mazda's usual dedication to quality and pitched at the right price point. However the company is apparently struggling to find an appropriate powertrain to match European expectations of a sporty SUV.

Porsche 718 Cayman

Like its sibling the Boxster, the Cayman has been updated and renamed. It has gained a four cylinder engine and a turbocharger in place of the flat six, which makes it cleaner yet more powerful than ever. Admittedly its characteristic throaty growl has been somewhat muted with the cylinder reduction but Porsche hasn't put a foot wrong lately so it's reasonable to assume the 718 Cayman will be rather brilliant.

Volkswagen T-Prime Concept GTE

This preview of the third generation comes with a plug-in petrol electric hybrid powertrain and a futuristic, gesture controlled cabin. It will be the halo model in a planned five model SUV family at VW and is larger, rather sharper and more modern looking than the current Touareg. Using Audi's MLB platform means that the SUV could share a number of components and features with the latest Audi Q7, the Bentley Bentayga, the forthcoming Lamborghini Urus and possibly future generations of the Porsche Cayenne.

Smart ForTwo and ForFour Brabus

Brabus has tuned the Daimler-owned city cars to produce 108bhp and tweaked the suspension for a sportier drive. The ForTwo can reach 62mph in less than ten seconds and the ForFour in 10.5, which is three quarters of a second faster than the standard model. Some sporty body kit has been added and a panoramic sunroof comes as standard. Smart has yet to announce prices but expect upwards of £17,000 when the cars reach the UK in September.

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