A new SUV concept from Infiniti, Audi's hottest TT and an updated Porsche Cayman - this is our pick of the best cars on display in Beijing
25 April 2016

The 2016 Beijing motor show is understandably an important event for China's home-market manufacturers, but this show had international significance as well. Western brands, Audi, Infiniti, Porsche, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen all chose Beijing to unveil their latest new metal.

With so many new cars to choose from, it's tough to decide which models deserve to take the spotlight, but these are the top picks from the Autocar team.

Beijing motor show 2016 - our star cars

Mazda CX-4 - Jim Holder

It’s not coming to the UK, but it is a good looker that you have to suspect could find buyers beyond the confines of China and Russia if it was priced appropriately and built to global standards. The rise of the coupé-styled SUV is an interesting one, and while it’s certainly true that some manufacturers (most notably Jaguar, with the F-Pace) have managed to combine SUV practicality with coupé looks in a single car, there’s no rulebook that says that must be the case.

Our Verdict

The third generation Audi TT
The first generation Audi TT was launched in 1998

Can the juggernaut sports coupé roll on to even greater success, or has Audi's icon lost its edge against more purpose-built machines?

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Infiniti QX Sport Inspiration - Steve Cropley

My star is Infiniti’s Porsche Macan-sized soft-road concept because I like the idea of a sports car interior in a car with decent accommodation and an elevated view of the road, and I think Infiniti’s designers are finally getting the hang of applying their often OTT body sculpting to real cars with real proportions. Hope it happens.

BAIC Arcfox-7 - Mark Tisshaw

Five years ago, most Chinese cars were dull, generic saloons. Not anymore. Nothing illustrates the progress in the Chinese car industry more than the concept of an electric supercar. Even better, the 603bhp, 162mph Arcfox-7 is no concept car; it will be going on sale later this year, looking like this and with the same tech spec.

Jaguar XF-L - Rachel Burgess

It’s fascinating that most premium European car makers, especially the relatively small Jaguar, consider it worthwhile to produce long-wheelbase versions of models for China only, demonstrating the massive significance of chauffeur-driven cars in the Red State. Another sign of Jaguar's commitment to China, the XF-L is the first Jaguar to be built in its Chery Jaguar Land Rover plant in Changshu - no doubt this helps to keep production costs down, too.

Audi TT RS - Darren Moss

This is the TT we’ve been waiting for: an aggressively styled, more powerful (395bhp, to be precise) range-topper to really secure the TT’s status as a sports car. The fact that the TT RS Coupé can sprint from 0-62mph in 3.7sec is particularly impressive because it means it completes the sprint faster than a Porsche 718 Boxster S.

Porsche 718 Cayman - Sam Sheehan

Like the 718 Boxster, the new 718 Cayman swaps its naturally aspirated flat-six engine for a turbocharged four, producing more power and less CO2 than ever. You could say without that six-cylinder wail the car has lost its unique selling point, but Porsche is on a bit of a roll, so I suspect this could still be the best-handling Cayman ever made.

Smart Fortwo and Forfour Brabus - Jimi Beckwith

Brabus has sprinkled its magic dust over the Smart range, and although the resulting cars divide opinion, it’s hard not to be charmed by the juiced-up Fortwo and Forfour. They may not be the hottest of hatches, but they’re among the most characterful. That turbocharged-triple promises quite a throaty note, too. 

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