These are the first pictures of the Ford Start concept, which has been unveiled at the Beijing motor show.

Don’t read too much into the styling of this neat Ford supermini; called Start, it isn’t a preview of the next Ka but instead is designed to showcase the idea of a global city car. It also acts as a demonstrator for Ford’s Ecoboost engine technology, and is fitted with a new 1.0-litre, three-cylinder engine.

Claimed to have power and torque outputs comparable to a 1.6-litre four with CO2 emissions of below 100g/km, it’s a preview of a new three-cylinder engine due to be launched in the next Focus. The engine will also find its way into the Fiesta next year.

Designed at Ford’s California studio, the Start was created under the direction of Freeman Thomas, responsible for the recent Lincolns that have clearly influenced the new concept.

The car’s exterior styling includes flush-mounted detailing to cut drag as much as possible, while the roof panel unclips to create a targa-style open-top car.

Inside, the Start uses rubber floor mats with aluminium trim on the dash and door pillars.