Wednesday, May 22, 2024

From China to India: These hot wheels are heading India from Beijing Auto Show

The Beijing Auto Show, officially known as the Beijing International Automotive Exhibition, is one of the largest and most important auto shows in the world. It has been held biennially since 1990 in Beijing, China’s capital city. The show has become increasingly significant as China has emerged as the world’s largest automotive market.

Over the years, the Beijing Auto Show has grown in scale and prominence, attracting major automakers from around the globe. The show serves as a platform for automakers to showcase their latest models, concepts, and technologies, as well as to announce important strategic developments.

Enthusiasts can expect a plethora of new cars and SUVs to debut at the show, with some models set to make their way to India as well. European automakers will make a strong presence, with highlights including Mercedes unveiling the new electric G-Class, the long-awaited public debut of the Mini Aceman, and the introduction of the Volkswagen Tiguan-rivalling Smart #5.

BMW’s circle: Neue Klasse SUV and Mini Aceman

BMW will unveil the Neue Klasse SUV concept at the Beijing Auto Show that previews the design direction for its upcoming electric SUVs, including the next-generation iX3. This concept incorporates retro styling cues from BMW’s classic cars, such as the kidney grille inspired by its 1960s sedans. Built on BMW’s new EV-specific architecture, it boasts cutting-edge battery technology and a sophisticated software stack powered by four high-performance computers.

The BMW Vision Neue Klasse X SUV Concept previews a new electric SUV from the automaker, particularly the next-generation iX3

Meanwhile, Mini which is a part of BMW Group companies, will showcase its new electric vehicle, the Aceman. The replacement for the Mini Clubman is an electric SUV that’s 192 mm longer, 23 mm wider, and 130 mm taller than the Cooper hatchback. Power will be delivered by a single motor at the front axle, offering an output of either 184 bhp or 218 bhp. Additionally, a John Cooper Works (JCW) range-topper is expected, featuring a performance-inspired makeover and chassis tweaks.

Mercedes-AMG’s ally: From EVs to supercars, GT 63 S E Performance

One of the key unveilings at the Beijing Auto Show would be the much anticipated Mercedes-Benz EQG, which is the electrified version of the G-Class. Mercedes-Benz is gearing up to start production of the quad-motor EQG concept, first showcased at the Munich Motor Show in 2021. This electric version of the iconic G-Class retains its recognizable two-box shape but is equipped with a motor on each wheel, allowing for unique manoeuvrability such as tank turns, similar to BYD’s luxury SUV, the Yangwang U8.

The EQG concept utilises a modified version of the steel ladder-frame chassis used in combustion models of the G-Class. Production of the EQG will take place at Magna Steyr’s facility in Graz, Austria, continuing Mercedes-Benz’s long-standing partnership with the manufacturing company.

This move signals Mercedes-Benz’s commitment to expanding its electric vehicle portfolio and transforming its iconic models into sustainable, electric counterparts.

The EQG concept from the automaker comes with an iconic boxy design. It gets the same 4×4 off-roading capability as the fossil-fuel-powered G-Class but features a silent and zero-emission powertrain. It will ride on on 22-inch polished aluminium alloy wheels. Mercedes-Benz said that the design advantages of the electric drive of the EV makes it ideal for off-road vehicles and ambitious off-road operations.

Mercedes’ motorsport division, AMG meanwhile, is set to introduce the plug-in hybrid version of its new four-seater super-coupe, adding to Affalterbach’s lineup of powerful PHEVs. The Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S E Performance will be the sixth PHEV from Mercedes-AMG and promises to deliver impressive power and performance.

Equipped with the same engine found in the top-spec SL roadster, the plug-in hybrid variant combines a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 with a rear-mounted electric motor. The result is a combined output of 815hp and 1,420Nm of torque, propelling the car from 0-100kph in just 2.9 seconds.

While the brand currently offers the 4-door version of this performance car in India, priced at 3.3 crore (ex-showroom), the plug-in hybrid variant is expected to further enhance the lineup’s appeal with its electrified powertrain and impressive performance figures.

The sixth-generation Mercedes-Benz E-Class, unveiled globally last year, is also set to make its debut at the Beijing Motor Show 2024. This new sedan has increased in size, promising a more spacious interior. It will be available with a revamped range of drivetrains, including updated petrol plug-in hybrid systems in select markets.

Sources indicate that the new E-Class is expected to arrive in India around the festive season this year. The model’s launch in India is anticipated to bring a range of enhancements and updates, aligning with Mercedes-Benz’s commitment to offering advanced and luxurious vehicles in the Indian market.

Other models at the Beijing Motor Show 2024

While European automakers are set to unveil some intriguing models, Chinese firms are expected to make a strong showing with a wave of electric and hybrid cars in the pipeline. BYD plans to launch a new electric pickup truck, while Great Wall Motors (GWM) will showcase the Ora 07, a sleek, sedan-shaped sibling to the 03 hatchback.

BYD aims to challenge the Toyota Hilux EV and Isuzu D-Max EV with its upcoming electric pickup truck. (Image: Bloomberg)

BYD electric pickup

BYD, already one of the world’s largest carmakers, is set to enter the light commercial vehicle market with a new mid-size truck to compete with the Toyota Hilux. Camouflaged prototypes of the truck have been spotted in China, featuring a dual-cab design and a slab-sided profile. It is expected to be offered as a hybrid and plug-in hybrid in various global markets.

Smart #5

Smart’s upcoming model, its largest yet, will be a crossover comparable in size to the Volkswagen Tiguan. It will feature a chunky, square profile and utilize the same SEA (Scalable Electric Architecture) platform as its smaller counterparts, the #1 and #3. While specific details are currently undisclosed, it is anticipated to be equipped with a 66kWh battery, similar to the #1 and #3 models. This battery is expected to power a front-mounted motor producing 272 bhp, providing an estimated range of around 483 km. Additionally, there are rumours of a Brabus version with an additional 156hp being developed.

Audi’ China specific EVs Q6L e-tron Audi Q5 e-tron RS

The launch of the Q6L e-tron in China will introduce Audi’s all-electric PPE (Premium Platform Electric) architecture to the country. China is unique in offering a long-wheelbase version of the Q6, unlike other markets worldwide. While specific details on the differences between the Q6L and the standard Q6 sold elsewhere are scarce, it is expected that key features such as the 100kWh battery, providing a WLTP range of 625km, and the 387hp electric motors will remain unchanged.

The 2025 Audi Q6 e-tron arrives with new tech, sharper design, and a range of 625 km

Audi is also set to unveil the Q5 e-tron RS at the Beijing Auto Show 2024. In its standard configuration, the Audi Q5 e-tron RS will be exclusive to China and will be the first three-row e-tron SUV, built on VW’s MEB platform.

It’s important to note that the Q5 e-tron is not mechanically related to the Q5 available in India, as the Indian Q5 uses the VW Group’s MLB platform. In China, the Q5 e-tron is offered in two variants – the Q5 40 e-tron and the Q5 50 e-tron Quattro, featuring a single 204 hp motor and a 305 hp dual-motor setup, respectively. Both variants are equipped with an 83.4 kWh battery pack. It’s reasonable to assume that the Q5 e-tron RS will feature an even more powerful motor, while potentially retaining the same battery pack.

First Published Date: 23 Apr 2024, 06:30 AM IST


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