The star cars at the Beijing Auto Show 2016

01_BeijingMore cars are sold in China than any other market, which makes the country’s biggest motor show a pretty big deal.

Beijing opens its doors on April 25, and many new cars will make their debuts inside its vast halls. Here are the highlights so far – some brands are more familiar than others…

Volkswagen Touareg concept


This teaser photo shows Volkswagen’s new SUV concept, due to be unveiled in Beijing. It’s widely expected to preview the next Touareg, which arrives in 2017.

The concept uses a 386hp plug-in hybrid drivetrain, with claimed fuel economy of 94mpg – not bad for a large SUV. It also boasts an electric range of 50 miles.

Audi TT RS


Audi’s flagship TT is likely to pack a tuned version of the 367hp five-cylinder engine from the RS3 Sportback. It may borrow styling cues from this aggressive-looking 2014 TT Quattro Sport concept car. Let’s hope so.

Another extreme TT – this Clubsport Turbo concept also offers clues to how the next TT RS could look. Both coupe and roadster versions will be built. Don’t expect that rear wing to make production, though…

Zotye SR8


No, this isn’t a Porsche Macan. But the Chinese-made Zotye SR8 does looks suspiciously similar. Powered by a 2.0-litre Mitsubishi engine, it’s unlikely to offer Porsche performance…

Zotye has previous when it comes to copycat cars. The Zotye 2008 resembles a Daihatsu Terios, the Z700 resembles a Volkswagen Passat and the E200 is remarkably like a Smart ForTwo. Blame China’s lack of copyright legislation.

Porsche 718 Cayman


Now for an actual genuine Porsche. The 718 Cayman – seen here in an official sketch – follows in the wake of its 718 Boxster sister. It’s powered by 300hp 2.0-litre or 350hp 2.5-litre turbocharged engines.

For the first time, the Cayman will actually be cheaper than the equivalent Boxster (pictured). With quicker steering from the 911 Turbo and rear suspension based on the hardcore Cayman GT4, the new 718 Cayman should retain its status as a dynamic benchmark.

Mazda CX-4


Mazda hasn’t published photos of its CX-4 crossover yet, but it’s likely to resemble this Koeru concept from 2015. Sitting between the compact CX-3 and family-sized CX-5, the CX-4 will have sleeker, coupe-like styling.

Sadly – given how much we like its SUV siblings – the CX-4 won’t be sold in the UK. Its main market will be China, hence its Beijing Motor Show debut.

Volkswagen Phideon


Here’s another car that won’t be sold in the UK. In fact, Volkswagen’s luxurious Phideon will only be sold in China. The car’s long wheelbase reflects the fact the many of its lucky buyers will have a chauffeur.

The conservatively-styled Phideon provides some hints about how the next Phaeton – Volkswagen’s flagship car outside China – could look. However, the Phaeton will be fully-electric, whereas the Phideon uses a range of turbocharged petrol engines.

BAIC supercar


You may not have heard of Chinese carmaker BAIC, but that’s set to change. At least, it will if Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co. keeps producing sleek supercars like the as-yet-unnamed model seen here.

Pictures of the BAIC supercar leaked onto the internet and not much is known about it yet. One thing is certain: the car will be fully-electric. Rumours suggest a 0-62mph time of less than 3.0 seconds, which should have Tesla worried.

Infiniti QX Sport Inspiration Concept


Infiniti has teased its forthcoming SUV concept. The photo reveals sharply-creased bodywork, jewel-like headlights and a bold, upright grille. The production QX Sport is set to rival the Range Rover Sport and Volkswagen Tiguan.

The existing Infiniti QX70 SUV – seen here – has been a slow-seller in the UK. A sportier QX would help capitalise on Infiniti’s success in Formula One with Red Bull Racing.

Chery FV2030


Crossover SUV-coupes are all the rage, and Chinese carmaker Chery wants in on the action. We have no details about how the FV2030 is powered, but don’t be surprised to see hybrid or even fully-electric tech when the wraps come off in Beijing.

The FV2030 is a bit of a departure for Chery. It’s more accustomed to building budget runabouts such as the QQ – a city car that spawned its own sub-brand.

Lexus IS facelift

Lexus IS 2016

Lexus is taking a facelifted version of its IS midsize sedan to the 2016 Beijing Auto Show. It’s only teased it at the moment, but this is enough to reveal it’s getting smart new LED headlights, a more sculptural front bumper but will retain the distinctive ‘swoosh’ daytime running light LEDs. Is Lexus to make the hybrid running gear even more fuel efficient too? We’ll find out in China.

Mercedes-Benz E-Class LWB


We mentioned that most Chinese luxury-car buyers prefer to be driven, rather than drive. So it’s fitting that Mercedes-Benz will launch the long-wheelbase version of its new E-class in China. These spy photos were first published by Chinese website PCauto.

If you’d like some extra rear legroom in your E-class, prepare to be disappointed. The LWB E is built in China (in Beijing, no less) and will be sold exclusively in its home market.

Honda UR-V


Americans caught the SUV bug first, then Europeans – and now the Chinese have followed suit. The China-only Honda UR-V will be based on the Concept D show car, unveiled in Shanghai last year.

Diesel is unpopular in China, so the production UR-V will use 2.4-litre or 2.0 turbo petrol engines. We expect the UR-V to be available with a choice of five or seven seats.

Infiniti QX Sport Inspiration

Infiniti to tease new mid-size SUV at 2016 Beijing Auto Show

Infiniti QX Sport InspirationInfiniti will show the new QX Sport Inspiration concept car at the 2016 Beijing Auto Show, confirming it is set to finally replace its ageing QX50 mid-size SUV.

Said to be a ‘daring’ design that’s part of Infiniti’s latest Powerful Elegance design language, the QX Sport Inspiration suggests the brand’s future SUVs are going to be rather bolder and more distinctive than its current ones.

The teaser shows curvaceous lines in the style of the Q60 concept, ample Q30-style creasing, large air intakes and an even larger Infiniti-ID grille. The firm reckons it “stands out thanks to its striking design details and sophisticated craftsmanship”.

Design director Alfonos Albaisa added: “The QX Sport Inspiration expresses a power and purpose that is uniquely Infiniti. With a flowing, natural aesthetic, this concept demonstrates how Infiniti can offer something new and exciting with future QX SUV models.”

The new Infiniti SUV, that will compete with cars such as the Audi Q5 and Jaguar F-Pace, will be shown at the 2016 Beijing Auto Show from 25 April; the show is open to the public between 29 April – 4 May.