The six hours of too-ing and fro-ing around town to get a pass for the Beijing motor show, which begins tomorrow, made dodging volcanic ash and government indecision to get here in the first place seem like child's play.

The irony was that in the course of our travels we actually ended up in the show halls, and got to watch a mixture of mayhem as the finishing touches were put to stands and magic, as some of the show cars sat on stages and even out in the rain without so much as a cover on.

Latest news from the Beijing motor show

You can get a sneak peak of the show by clicking on our Beijing motor show preview and looking in the gallery section, but the real beauty of our sneak advanced look around was that we got an idea of the scale and importance of the show - quite simply it's enormous, the heavy - hitting launches from European manufacturers underlining the importance of the Chinese market and the variety of homegrown machinery absolutely intriguing. Already it's clear that this is going to be another motor show with a green theme (new Maybach models and a seeming obsession with modified Hummers not withstanding...), but there's plenty of twists on that to grasp the attention, from the clever little Ford supermini concept and the Chevy Volt MPV through to endless supply of good and not-so-good cars from the Chinese makers. If the rumours are true the latest news is that there will be a surprise concept from BMW to throw into the mix, although the all the talk is of it being a four-dour coupe with broad hints at BMW's future design direction rather than another eco warrior.