918 M Spyder at the Beijing Motor Show. Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt
TTAC Exclusive: The cars, the girls, and the news at the Beijing Motor Show
Media day at the Beijing Auto Show. Had to get up at 6am to get from downtown Beijing to the new fairgrounds. Had to experience my first Beijing rush hour. Usually, I walk to the office. One flight of stairs down. Barely got to the fair on time for the press registration before 9am. Here is Friday’s pictorial. (Read More…)
While its German rivals pour into the burgeoning four-door premium coupe segment, BMW has been busy exploring the premium five-door GT segment. With its complement of GT variants complete, the Bavarians are making up for lost time with this Gran Coupe Concept, debuting at today’s Beijing Auto Show. Basically a lower, wider, more coupe-profiled 7-series, the Gran Coupe is clearly aimed at models like the Porsche Panamera, Maserati Quattroporte and especially the forthcoming Audi A7. And though it’s technically just a styling exercise, the Gran Coupe (or something like it) could be headed for production.When asked by Autocar about the Gran Coupe’s chances of launching a revival of the 8 Series nameplate, BMW Chief Designer Adrian van Hooydonk said:
I don’t think of this car as an 8-series, but our marketing department may think differently. Either way, their work is just beginning, and I know that often it can take longer than our design work!
Several Chinese sites have caught shots of the next-generation Hyundai Accent [via autoincar.com] just prior to its reveal at the Beijing Auto Show. Styling-wise, the Accent appears to combine equal parts Y20 Sonata and Genesis Coupe, in a compact four-door package. The coupe-like profile looks to limit visibility somewhat, but no more so than other examples of the current trend towards bunker-like interiors. Otherwise, we’re looking at a fairly stylish little sedan that should help Hyundai keep its momentum building in the US market. And what of the long-available three-door Accent? Hyundai will likely be replacing both that budget hatch and the Tiburon sports coupe with the Accent-based Veloster sporty hatch.
Look everyone, it’s a Chevy Volt that can seat more than four people! Official images of the Volt MPV5 concept have leaked today [via AutoblogGreen], confirming what recently-discovered line drawings hinted at: a people-carrying version of Chevy’s Volt is under development. The extra rear seat and the 30.5 cubic feet of storage space (62.3 cubic feet with rear seats folded) does come at a price though, as GM says the MPV5 comes up 8 miles short of the Volt’s marketing-mission-critical 40 miles of electric range using the same drivetrain. On the upside, it will almost certainly be classified as a light truck (despite its compact, FWD underpinnings), making it the perfect vehicle to goose increasing CAFE standards.
Volkswagen confirmed today that reports of a facelifted Phaeton are true. Tomorrow and on Saturday, the press can admire the car at the Beijing Autoshow. From April 27 to May 2, the remaining 1.3b Chinese will be able to get a first look, and decide whether the car fits in their purchasing plans.
Eight years after the Phaeton was launched in Germany with great fanfare, and four years after it was pulled from the US market due to being a resounding sales flop, a face-lift has been long overdue. “Usually, one would expect a whole new generation after eight years in production,” complained Germany’s Focus Magazine. Not a whole lot has changed at the outside. But the on-board electronic weaponry has been escalated to a level that soon will put JSTARS to shame. (Read More…)
Like it or not, more and more car makers elect to premiere their newest creations not at the IAA in Frankfurt, or the Detroit Auto Show, but in China. What do you expect with China being the world’s largest car market, and growing like gangbusters. TTAC will cover the Beijing Auto Show on press days of April 23 and 24. With daily posts, helped by the fact that China is not only ahead in sales, it’s also 12 hours ahead of the East Coast.
Here is a short random preview, gleaned from various posts on Chinese websites. (Read More…)
Despite rumors of Maybach’s imminent demise, or, even more shocking, a sell-off to China’s BYD (a rumor that had been debunked the next day) Maybach is alive and well. Why, we don’t know. But anyway, Maybach will introduce a facelifted model at the upcoming Beijing Auto Show. The car is already in town. (Read More…)