BYD’s (Build Your Dreams) Tang might look like just another chrome-heavy Chinese SUV with too much air in its outsize wheelarches, but in engineering terms the BMW X3-sized off-roader packs a real punch thanks to mating a 201bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine to a 147bhp electric motor to create what is claimed to be a 348bhp package which, with the aid of permanent four-wheel drive will take the Tang from rest to 62mph in fewer than five seconds. With Chinese government green grants, its list price is reduced from around £30,000 to £26,000, which is rather less than you’d pay for any SUV capable of packing that kind of punch in Europe.
Interest in the Hawtai A25 small SUV concept (also known as Shengdafei) goes beyond it’s rather startling grille treatment. Behind that striking appearance lies a neatly conceived small off-roader powered in the main by a 135bhp, 1.5-litre turbocharged motor. However and unlike most Chinese domestic products at the show, the A25 can also be chosen with a 150bhp 2.0-litre turbodiesel intended not just for export, but the domestic market too. "Diesel is still very small in China," Daniel Zheng, group vice president of strategic operations told Autocar, "but it is growing in popularity from about two per cent of the SUV market and we think the A25 is well placed to take advantage of that growth."
Fengshen is a brand owned by Dongfeng and its new AX7 a rebodied version of the first generation Nissan Qashqai built by the Dongfeng-Nissan joint venture in China. Hitherto referred to by its D29 codename, the AX7 is a cleanly styled, well proportioned compact SUV with none of the attention-grabbing, sometimes unfortunate visual addenda employed, usually in chrome, by other domestic SUV manufacturers to draw attention to their products. Power is provided by a 2.0-litre Nissan petrol engine with 141bhp, though the smart money will likely wait for a newly developed 1.6-litre turbo with around 160bhp scheduled for later in the year.
CH Auto Event
Proving that Chinese manufacturers have more ideas up their sleeve than boxy sedans and chrome-laden SUVs, Beijing-based styling house CH Auto brought a new, supercar to the show with a highly original appearance and an all-electric drive system. Based around an all aluminium space frame and clad in carbon-fibre body panels, the Event is powered by a 300bhp electric motor said to let it hit 62mph in less than five seconds and reach a top speed of 124mph. Its range is said to be 125 miles and it can recharge its lithium-ion battery packs in six hours. Its lightweight construction has allowed the total weight of the two seat car to be restricted to ‘less than 1685kg.’
The Z500 is the latest offering from the fast expanding stables of Zotye Auto, a car company that didn’t even exist ten years ago. And unlike most of its product to date, it’s appears not to be a licenced copy of someone else’s design, but a compact saloon in its own right, slotting in above the Z300 saloon. Power comes courtesy of a 1.5-litre turbo four-cylinder engine, reputed to produce 150bhp, with an even more powerful 1.8-litre turbo slated to arrive next year.
Two new concept cars from Jaguar Land Rover’s Chinese partner Chery made their debuts in Beijing. The Concept Beta is an SUV with radical styling and large 22-inch wheels, and previews a new SUV to be launched in 2016. The firm’s other concept, the Alpha, offers a close preview to the Arizzo 5 saloon, a four-door model with a choice of 1.5 or 1.2-litre engines.
Although not a domestic manufacturer, Ford is hoping to cash in on the booming Chinese market by bringing back the Escort name. Dropped from European markets in 2002, the new Escort has been specifically designed for China, with the concept shown in Beijing powered by a 1.5-litre Ti-VCT petrol engine.
Kia’s latest concept car has been designed specifically for China, and aims to offer a “simple” and “dignified” design choice for buyers. Measuring 4720mm long, the concept is powered by a 1.6-litre turbocharged GDI engine. The K4 will go into production later this year.
Although it’s likely to be sold elsewhere in the coming years, Hyundai’s new compact SUV is only confirmed for the Chinese market at the moment. It’s based on the Kia soul, and comes powered by a 2.0-litre ‘Nu’ petrol engine. Its design is based around a smaller ix35, and features a distinctive grille with wraparound lights.
A likely rival to Peugeot’s 2008, the C-XR previews a new car which will become Citroen’s first joint venture SUV with its Chinese partner, Dongfeng. It sits on 17-inch alloys with all-weather tyres, as well as Citroen’s Grip Control system. Reports suggest a production version of the car will be seen early next year.
Read more Beijing motor show news.
Additional reporting by Darren Moss