In Depth

Beijing Motor Show 2018: BMW iX3, Lexus ES and more

From luxurious SUVs to F1-style coupes, here’s what’s coming to China’s first major showcase of the year

China’s most important motoring event of the year so far, the Beijing Motor Show, is officially under way. 

Although a number of motor shows have already taken place this year, notably in New York and Geneva, manufacturers still have a host of new production cars and concepts to present in China.

BMW and Mercedes unveiled a range of new products on the first day of the event, which runs until 4 May, with more models from leading carmakers set to debut over the coming days.

Here are all the latest announcements:

BMW M2 Competition
The new BMW M2 competiton is presented during a press conference at the Beijing Auto Show in Beijing on April 25, 2018. - Global carmakers touted their latest electric and SUV models in Beiji

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BMW has taken the wraps off its new M2 Competition in the run-up to the Beijing show, a week after images of the sports coupe leaked online. 

The Competition looks almost identical to the existing M2 coupe, but BMW has given the new car a sportier edge by upping the power output and tweaking the exhaust system. 

The standard model’s motor has been replaced by a 3.0-litre twin-turbo straight-six engine derived from BMW’s M3 saloon, providing a 39bhp boost over the base M2, reports Auto Express. The new model also gets an additional row of air ducts on the front bumper to improve engine cooling. 

BMW says orders are due to open in mid-May, with prices starting at £49,285.

BMW iX3
Harald Krueger, chairman of the board of management of BMW AG, presents the BMW iX3 concept car during a press conference at the Beijing Auto Show in Beijing on April 25, 2018. - Industry beh

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Following a short preview video last week, BMW has finally taken the wraps off its all-electric iX3 SUV concept.  

Based on the company’s mid-size X3 crossover, the iX3 is powered by an electric motor that is connected to a 70kWh battery pack, which offers a claimed range of 250 miles-plus on a single charge, Electrek reports.  

BMW plans to launch the iX3 in 2020, the website says, but pricing has yet to be announced.

DS X E-Tense

Citroen’s premium sub-brand DS will take the wraps off a new electrified concept car in Beijing.

While the concept, dubbed the X E-Tense, has so far only appeared in shadowy preview images, Motor1 says the car will take the shape of a sporty coupe with a long bonnet and “muscular wings”. 

The preview shots suggest that DS will unveil the brand in two forms, says the site. One car will feature a fixed roof, the other a Formula 1-style single-seater layout. 

But don’t expect the X E-Tense to be in showrooms in the near future as the DS concept is only a vision of what cars could look like in 2035.

Hybrid Kinetic Group H500 and K350

The Chinese carmaker Hybrid Kinetic Group (HKG) has partnered up with the legendary Italian design firm Pininfarina to create a pair of electric concept cars: the H500 and K350.

The first of the two concepts, the H500, takes the form of a long wheelbase luxury four-door saloon, says Auto Express. Preview images of the car suggest the vehicle has been tailored to meet the demand in China for executive cars with “large rear legroom”. 

Next is the K350 SUV [pictured above], which features “bold exterior lines and sharply-sculpted light clusters”, the magazine says. Much like the H500, the K350 comes with four seats and is equipped with a multi-panel infotainment system in the centre console.

Performance details on the two models are scarce, but MotorAuthority says that both cars boast power outputs of 789bhp and can potentially achieve a range of 620 miles on a single charge.   

Lexus ES
A Lexus ES 300 car is on display at the Beijing Auto Show on April 25, 2018. - Global carmakers touted their latest electric and SUV models in Beijing as they warily welcomed China's promise

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An all-new Lexus mid-size saloon has been announced in China - and the Japanese brand has its sights firmly set on rivalling the BMW 5-Series and Mercedes E-Class.

Tasked with “drastically increasing sales in Europe”, says Autocar, the new ES takes the form of a sleek front-wheel drive saloon with a tech-filled cabin. The car is powered by a hybrid 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine with a combined fuel economy of 60.1mpg. 

The ES will go on sale in January 2019, replacing the company’s current GS saloon.

Mercedes A-Class L Saloon
The new Mercedes-Benz C-Class L is presented for its world premier during a press conference at the Beijing Auto Show in Beijing on April 25, 2018. - Global carmakers touted their latest elec

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Mercedes has unveiled its A-Class L Saloon in Beijing in a bid to tap into the growing compact sedan market in China.  

The new car is based on the recent five-door A-Class, incorporating an almost identical design and cabin layout as the premium hatchback, says Auto Express. However, the A-Class L Saloon comes with a longer wheelbase compared to the hatchback, along with a conventional sedan-style boot lid.

Orders for the A-Class Saloon will open in early 2019 for buyers in the UK, although that version will be 60mm shorter than models sold in Asia.

Mercedes-Maybach Vision Ultimate Luxury
Mercedes-Maybach

Mercedes

Along with the A-Class L Saloon, Mercedes chose the Beijing Motor Show to debut its Maybach Vision Ultimate Luxury SUV concept. 

The luxurious crossover is unlike any other car currently available in the premium SUV market, with a silhouette based on a three-box design similar to a saloon car, featuring a sedan-like boot lid and a split rear window. 

The Maybach Vision Ultimate Luxury is only a concept in its current form, however, and Mercedes has yet to announce whether it will put the lavish SUV into production.

Skoda Kamiq 

Skoda has unveiled a third model in its popular SUV line-up - and it’s set to appear in the metal for the first time at the motor show. 

Called the Kamiq, the new SUV is the smallest model in the Czech company’s crossover fleet and will only be available to buyers in China, says Autocar

The Kamiq will also feature an all-new 109bhp 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine, the motoring mag says. A hybrid model will not be released, however, as it would make the compact SUV too expensive. 

A release date and pricing is expected to be announced at the show. 

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