Here's the best and the worst from the Shanghai Auto Show
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In many ways, last week's Shanghai Auto Show was a very interesting one. One of England's biggest names confirmed their desire to get back into sports cars. A promising Chinese brand confirmed that all of their cars will come with a lifetime warranty. Mercedes-Benz announced the 'death of creases'.
I was able to keep up with some of it, but with an extravaganza as large as Shanghai's certain cars and news tends to fall through the cracks. So with that in mind, here's the good, bad, and ugly from an interesting show.
MG is back
Well, hopefully they are. They stunned the motoring world by revealing the rather gorgeous E-Motion concept — an electric sports car with curves and proportions that sent attendees into a drool-laden daze.
There tends to be cynicism around cars like these (particularly from a brand as far removed from its roots as MG currently are), but that cynicism took a hit when MG dropped the bombshell that they're hoping to actually make the thing by 2020. It'll be quick too, capable of 0-100 in four seconds.
Elsewhere others discussed whether it looks like other cars. "Bah, it looks like a Mazda", "No mate, it's a Jaguar rip-off clear as day".
I personally don't care. It looks a million bucks, and I hope they do make it.
Lots of cars with HUUUGE grills
Has anyone ever actually stopped and asked aloud why manufacturers have all of a sudden decided that every car must have a grill bigger than Texas?
This Hongqi H5's grill loosely resembles the bread slicer from Freddy Krueger's bakery, slathered in chrome in what I imagine is an attempt to channel luxury vibes among potential buyers.
The big grill phenomena clearly has nothing to do with increasing airflow to modern engines, as evidenced by the almost completely sealed up nose of BYD's Dynasty SUV.
With every second brand out there trying to produce 'Tesla beaters' of their own, you'd think more of them would be keen to emulate their popular minimalist front-end styling. Alas.
Weird name, weird business model, optimistic cars
Lynk & Co were out in proud force, debuting their production 01 SUV and their concept 03 sedan. And I'm still struggling to find anything on either design that I don't approve of. I'd almost call the sedan cute.
Along with the cars, the company made a statement saying that every car they produce will come with a lifetime warranty and free connectivity. That's a huge statement for any car maker to make, let alone one with what appears to be the name of a law firm. The marque have also confirmed that they aim to replicate a similar sales structure to Tesla.
Where Lynk & Co will make or break is in their company structure. They're owned by Geely, and have some kind of deal with Volvo too. Could be dangerous.
The throwback we didn't ask for
The Holden Volt was popular among critics, but struggled in the marketplace before ultimately getting the axe in 2015. Vauxhall and Opel's variant, the Ampera, was also shelved in the same year.
Does that mean it's gone? Well, no. Two years later, and it's been previewed as a 'new' Buick for the Chinese market — the Velite 5.
If that name rings bells to you, that's because it was attached to a quite funky Buick concept hatch a few years ago (in 2015, funnily enough). It looked like an Astra on acid, and had a bit more character and attraction than a rebadged Volt.
Electric SUVs for everyone
Electric SUV concepts — a combination of the body style people love right now with the technology they'll love tomorrow, or something — were a common trend. Audi and Volkswagen released theirs pretty much at the same time, killing dead any hopes that they'd be whipping the proverbial covers off something 'cool' like a supercar or a fizzy hot hatch. Or a tank with lazers and kittens and neon shag-pile carpets.
In a way one has to appreciate the honest of Borgward's BXi7 EV. For one, it doesn't feature a coupe roof line, instead electing to just ... look like the SUV that it's trying to be. Borgward's non-electric BXi7 is already sold in China, with this to follow sometime after in both China and Europe. The LDV D90 and Jeep Yuntu Concept were also pretty likable beasts. The LDV in particular should shake up the large SUV market with sharp pricing and styling.
Lexus, Chevrolet, Haval, NIO, and Wey also chipped into the SUV pot with their offerings. The future of motoring ladies and gentleman.
This isn't a Ford EcoSport
I'm pretty sure it's not anyway.
Rejoice! It's not an SUV!
Global start-up NIO brought along a whopping 11 cars to the Shanghai Auto Show, including their EP9 supercar. They've begun pre-selling them as well, which means that this incredibly low slung machine could be spotted on a road near you.
Want one? Sell your kids, because they're priced at just over NZD$2 million. At least it's quick though, with lap records at the Nurburgring and Circuit of the Americas to its name.
A relic from the past: the people mover
As SUVs go from strength to strength, it's station wagons and people movers that suffer. So it's refreshing to see Geely debut their distinctly fish-like MPV Concept.
I like it. Exploded renders show a cavernous three-row interior, and the glass roof that goes from end to end would keep littlies entertained for six, maybe seven minutes at a time.
Mercedes-Benz declare war
"The time of creases is over," said Mercedes-Benz design boss Gorden Wagener, as he gestured to the new Concept A sedan — a car with at least four creases in the bonnet...
I can get what he's saying. The design of the Concept A (a preview into what the next generation A-Class will look like) is a much simpler one to many of its contemporary rivals, and even just current trends in general.
Those lights are a laugh too aren't they. Looks a little like someone's dipped their ramen noodles in Ribena and shoved it in there. They're coated in a UV paint that has been exposed to ultraviolet light, meaning that they'll shine in a range of different colours depending on what the sun's doing.
Did someone say a war on creases?
More creases than a paper crane.