25 Apr 18

Auto China: discover the Beijing highlights

Updated April 27 9:30 CEST: Ford Escort, Hyundai Lafesta and Toyota Corolla PHEV added.

Over the last years, Beijing has become one of the big names in motor show land, rising to the same status as Paris, Frankfurt and LA. And OEMs are not just revealing China-only models: some will make their way to other continents as well.

As expected, electric powertrains and SUVs take centre stage, next to long-wheelbase versions of European classics. Below you will find an overview of the novelties, devided into two categories: the ones that you will be seeing on the entire planet on the one hand, and those you will only cross in the streets of the People’s Republic on the other.


  1. Audi Q5 L. This is the first long-wheelbase SUV made by the Four Rings. Its body is 88 mm longer to create extra legroom for those sitting in the rear. Power comes from a 2.0 TFSI producing 190 of 252 hp. The Q5 L is produced by local FAW-VW joint-venture in Changchun.
  2. Ford Escort. The Escort nameplate was introduced in Asia back in 2004 for a saloon based on the old Focus, but this new generation rides on Ford’s latest global car platform and will be sold alongside the brand-new Focus.
  3. Honda Everus EV. This compact SUV concept is a big deal for Honda: it gives a taste of the brand’s first mass-produced electric car. It will be production-ready by the end of the year and sail under the Everus brand, which is owned by GAC Honda.
  4. Hyundai Lafesta. This compact sedan "embraces the growing younger generation", says Hyundai, offering a sporty design with an aggressive grille. The Lafesta is powered by a 1.6-liter turbocharged GDi engine mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
  5. Mercedes A-Class Sedan LWB. China has become such an important market for the Three-pointed Star that it reveals the extended wheelbase version of its all-new A-Class Sedan first. It features the advanced MBUX interface and gets its power from either a 1.33 or a 2.0 petrol mated to a 7-DCT.
  6. Nissan Sylphy Zero Emission. Based on the Chinese testing cycle, this Leaf-based four-door saloon offers a range of 338 kilometres. It is Nissan’s first electric vehicle built in China for China. The Sylphy Z.E. is scheduled to go on sale later this year.
  7. Skoda Kamiq. The Chinese are crazy about small SUVs. Skoda gives them what they want, with this VW T-Roc sized Kamiq. This urban crossover will be launched onto the market only a couple of months after the motor show.
  8. Toyota Corolla PHEV. Starting in 2019, the Chinese will get a 50-km e-range plug-in hybrid Corolla. It is the first of 10 electrified models that will be launched in the People's Republic by 2020. Next to the Corolla, the Levin, too, will get a China-built PHEV model. 
  9. VW Lavida. As it switches to VW’s MQB platform, the Lavida a.k.a. Chinse Jetta grows in every direction, except vertically. There is also a Gran Lavida, i.e. an estate version, for those in search of extra cargo space. Both models are built by the local SAIC-VW joint venture.


Global cars

  1. BMW iX3 Concept. As expected, BMW pulled the sheet off its concept car heralding the all-electric X3. It gets is power from a 200-kW electric motor fed by a 70 kWh-battery pack, which should yield some 400 kilometres of range (WLTP). The iX3 will be built in China from 2020 onwards and be exported to Europe and the Americas.
  2. Lexus ES. This luxury saloon sharpens its teeth to combat the likes of the BMW 5 Series and Jaguar XF. For the first time, the model will also come to Europe, where it replaces the GS. Major change: the ES rides on the Global Architecture-K platform, making it a front-wheel drive car.  


Authored by: Dieter Quartier