Shanghai auto show

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Pininfarina Isn’t Messing Around, Unveils Two More Concept Models With HKG

The K550 and K750 crossover concepts are bowing at the 2017 Shanghai Auto Show

Apparently, being under new ownership has breathed some new life to Pininfarina. Long regarded as one of the best auto design houses in the business, the Italian company has since ratcheted up its concept production with a pair of new concepts for its new automotive BFF, Chinese company Hybrid Kinetic Group. It wasn’t that long ago that the two companies joined together to present the H600 sedan, which debuted at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show. Now we’re seeing two more concepts, the K550 and the K750.

Presented at the 2017 Shanghai Auto Show, both the K550 and the K750 join the H600 in what could turn into an impressive electric vehicle lineup for the fledgling HKG brand. The two-row, five-seater K550, in particular, is presented as a five-seat crossover concept powered by an electric powertrain that itself is being developed by HKG. The same goes for the much larger K750, which rides taller and longer than its counterpart, thanks in part to having three rows of seating that can accommodate up to seven people. Both models aren’t expected to arrive anytime soon, but like the H600, there appears to be some optimism coming from both Pininfarina and HKG that we’ll end up seeing these models hit the road in production guise soon.

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Jeep Joining The Hybrid Bandwagon Is Proof That The Hybrid Revolution Is In Full Swing

It’s been talked about in the past, but a Jeep hybrid still takes some getting used to

Some automakers are synonyms with specific characteristics. Ferrari and Lamborghini are synonymous with Italian power and performance. Rolls-Royce and Bentley are quintessential marquees known for their opulence and luxury. Then there’s Jeep, which is known for its ruggedness and off-road capabilities. It figures then that when news first broke in 2015 that Jeep was going hybrid with some of its models, it was, to say the least, jarring to the senses. Fast forward to the 2017 Shanghai Auto Show and we finally get to see what a Jeep hybrid looks like in the form of the Yuntu, a three-row, seven-seater, full-sized SUV concept that’s laying the groundwork for a new era in the company’s long and illustrious history.

To be clear, there’s no official word yet from Jeep about the production prospects of the Yuntu Concept. There is, however, a strong possibility that we’re headed in that direction anyway. Remember, Jeep CEO Mike Manley has been a strong advocate of dipping the company in the hybrid market, most recently confirming at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show the arrival of a hybrid version of the Wrangler. The Yuntu, of course, is far different from the Wrangler, both in aesthetics and purpose. But the mere sight of the concept in Shanghai is an indication that the brand has a more elaborate hybrid plan that will involve numerous models receiving this specific powertrain. Just goes to show how brand images are now giving way to addressing the future of the auto industry.

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LEDs Dominate The Conversation On The Audi E-Tron Sportback Concept

There’s a lot of them on the coupe-crossover concept

Most concept vehicles are largely created because the automaker wants to promote something for future production vehicles. That formula has been tried and tested so many years that it’s become normal for people like us to expect them. Such is the case with Audi’s new E-Tron Sportback Concept, which is actually promoting a lot of things, not the least of which is the company’s overarching electric crossover agenda. But there is one aspect about the E-Tron Sportback Concept that Audi really wants us to pay attention to. It’s the LED lights, and for what they’re all worth, there are a lot of them.

Audi hasn’t said exactly how many light emitting diodes the concept has at its disposal, but the front bumper alone has around 250 LEDs that extend from one end of the bumper to the other. More LEDs are located on either side of the grille, including Audi’s actual four rings logo. Yes, the Audi logo is made from LEDs, and that’s not even counting the number of LEDs that have been packed on both the headlights and taillights.

According to Audi, the LEDs were added to the concept to showcase different lighting patterns that we may or may not see in future production models. These patterns work to communicate with other cars on the road, which itself is a novelty that could find its way on a production model of the coupe-crossover concept should it get that far.

The smart money is to wait and see how the technology evolves from here on out. These many LEDs may look good on a concept, but the costs of packing all of them on a production model could determine whether they’re feasible or not. Make no mistake though, the visual appeal of all these lights on a concept is evident; the only question is whether Audi deems them reasonable enough to become fixtures – no pun intended – on its future models.

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Toyota’s Fun Concept Is What Our Camry Should Have Looked Like

Sure, it’s a concept, but it still looks amazing

I’ll get this out of the way: I’m not a fan of the new Toyota Camry’s design. I know it runs counter to what most have said about the sedan, but I’m not sold on it. The new Camry may look more alive than its ho-hum predecessors, but it feels like Toyota just threw in design pieces from a lot of its other models and decided to adopt it for the new Camry. The result is a little messy and lacks the kind of aesthetic consistency that, say, the Honda Accord has in sprinkles. Fast forward to the 2017 Shanghai Auto Show and there’s a model from Toyota called the Fun Concept. I say that’s what the Camry should have looked like from the very beginning.

I know it’s a concept, so there’s more design leeway there to be forward-thinking, but if you look at it, there’s little that’s overbearingly futuristic about the Fun Concept’s design that Toyota couldn’t have adopted on the production version of the Camry. The sharp, slanted headlight configuration already has similarities to the Toyota Mirai and the sharp bumper, grille, and intakes all provide the kind of aggressive design nods that elevate the concept’s sporty and refined look. As a whole, the Fun Concept already looks like it’s ready to hit production anytime soon. There are even some whispers in Shanghai that indicate it’s in the auto show to provide a small glimpse into the future of the Camry in the Chinese market. If it does end up that way, it’s going to feel like a missed opportunity for Toyota as far as the U.S. market is concerned.

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Citroen C5 Aircross Bows in China, Comes to Europe in 2018

Meet the company’s first hybrid vehicle!

SUVs and crossovers are still gaining traction on the market, and it’s no surprise that more and more automakers are rolling out such products. Citroen is one of them, and it just launched the C5 Aircross at the 2017 Shanghai Auto Show. Bigger than the upcoming C3 crossover (as the name itself suggest), the C5 Aircross is based on the same EMP2 architecture as the Peugeot 3008, DS 7 Crossback, and Vauxhall Grandland X. Set to go on sale in China this year and in Europe in 2018, the C5 Aircross is aimed at products such as the Nissan Qashqai, Kia Sportage, and Mazda CX-5. The Aircross’ styling is based on Citroen’s latest design language.

Up front, we have the traditional Chevron grille and two distinct pairs of headlamps. There are thin daytime running lights above, and the more conventional headlamps below, both using LED technology. The sides are as traditional as they get with crossovers, while the rear section showcases large LED taillights and a rather steep tailgate. Inside, the Aircross aims at the premium market. There’s a 12.3-inch screen instead of the conventional instrument cluster dials, while the eight-inch screen in the center stack provides access to the infotainment and navigation systems. The crossover also comes with a comprehensive safety package, the Progressive Hydraulic Cushions suspension, and adaptive cruise control. Motivation comes from four-cylinder engines rated at anywhere between 165 and 200 horsepower, but a hybrid drivetrain with a total output of 300 horses will be introduced later on. This gasoline-electric combo will make the C5 Aircross the first Citroen to feature plug-in hybrid technology.

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2017 Volkswagen I.D. CROZZ Concept

Volkswagen buckles down on an EV future

With mud still on its face from the Dieselgate scandal, Volkswagen is dead set on cleaning up its image. Gone is its focus on diesel and gasoline powerplants, now replaced by an all-electric future. While the internal combustion engine still has many years left with the German automaker, its executives have set a goal of 1 million EV sales a year. That’s a massive undertaking, but Volkswagen seems properly poised for the sprint. The latest in VW’s charge is the I.D. CROZZ, an all-electric crossover designed for mass appeal. The I.D. CROSS just debuted at the 2017 Shanghai Auto Show and is said to be entering production by 2020.

While the name will likely change, the I.D. CROZZ will hopefully keep its futuristic design. The chance is pretty good it will, in fact, thanks to comments made by Klaus Bischoff, VW’s head of design. He said at Shanghai "If it was ever possible to make a 100-percent certain prediction of what the future will look like, here it is. In 2017, we are showing how Volkswagen will be transforming the roadscape from 2020.”

While Bischoff might be a bit overly optimistic, his words give a sense of optimizing that Volkswagen will adopt this new design language across its lineup. It’s impossible to be disappointed, thanks to a greater degree of shape, style, and attitude than anything currently flowing from VW’s factories. The I.D. CROZZ doesn’t look like an appliance, but rather a sculpted piece of art. Sure, the production version will look a bit more conventional, but we’ve got high hopes that Volkswagen’s future looks much more sensual – not to mention emissions-free.

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One of England’s most iconic carmakers, MG has had a rather tumultuous history in recent decades. Owned by no fewer than six companies since the late 1980s, including BMW, the brand was revived by China-based SAIC Motor in 2006 and renamed MG Motor UK Limited. Several models followed, including a couple of SUVs, a first for the automaker. But SAIC also developed some daring concept cars, the latest of which is the E-Motion. Launched at the 2017 Shanghai Motor Show, the E-Motion is MG’s "vision of the future" (oh boy, if I had a penny for each time I heard this phrase) and comes in the shape of a slender, sportback-style two-door coupe. Arguably the most appealing modern MG design to date, the E-Mission combines some of the company’s recent styling cues with several new features. There’s a big "starlight matrix" grille up front, a carbon-fiber splitter, and round headlamps "bringing inspiration from the London Eye," the giant Ferris wheel on the South Bank of the River Thames. I dig the new face of MG, but I have to admit that I see some Mazda inspiration in there.

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Mercedes-AMG S 63 And S 65 Updated In Shanghai; Still Silly Fast

Comfort, style, and a boot full of velocity

Merc’s flagship four-door just got a buncha upgrades at this year’s Shanghai Auto Show, and while the German automaker puts fuel efficiency and a cylinder deactivation system at the top of its list, fear not – both models are still crazy fast. Tweaks were applied to the engine, transmission, and AWD system, not to mention the exterior styling and interior design, and the result is a mighty slab of Teutonic speed and luxury that’s every inch worthy of bearing the Mercedes torch.

Let’s jump straight into the greasy bits, starting with the S 63 4Matic+. This thing gets a new 4.0-liter turbo V-8, ditching the old 5.5-liter turbo V-8 and replacing the lost displacement with more boost. Final output figures come to 612 horsepower, which is 27 horses more than the old 5.5-liter lump. The 4.0-liter also makes an impressive 554 pound-feet of torque starting at just 2,750 rpm. Apply all that power, and you’ll go 0-to-62 mph in 3.5 seconds.

Cog swaps are handled by a 9-seed automatic gearbox, which replaces the old 7-speed box. Top speed is limited to 155 mph, although the optional Driver’s Package raises the limit to 186 mph.

Meanwhile, the even-faster S 65 gets the same 6.0-liter turbo V-12 as before, producing a very mighty 630 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque. The transmission is also a carryover, with a 7–speed automatic onboard to route the muscle.

Looking for more info? Continue reading for further specs and numbers.

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Meet the Qoros K-EV – A Concept Set to Enter Production by 2019

It’s bold and crazy, and exactly what the brand needs to propel it into the future

In the midst of a massive automotive revolution in China, a small company known as Chery Quantum Automotive Corporation was birthed out of the blue. By 2011, the name was changed to Qoros Auto Co. Ltd, with responsibility split between Chery and Kenon Holdings. During it’s time in existence, the Chinese brand has put just two names into production – the Qoros 3 and Qoros 5 SUV. In fairness, the 3 can be had in SUV, sedan, hatchback, and GT, but they all look nearly identical outside of a few structural changes. So, one could say they have 5 models on the market, if you really want to get technical about things. Now, in what one could only call an excessively bold move for a new-ish company, the brand has debuted a new concept called the K-EV. It’s an electric vehicle that is said to be able to hit 62 mph in 2.6 seconds and has a range of around 310 miles. Full details on the electric drivetrain are scarce, but the that doesn’t matter because there’s something crazy going on with its exterior design.

I mean, seriously, what is going on here? This thing has four doors, three of which are wildly different. The rear passenger door slides open, the front passenger door is front-hinged and opens like a regular car door, while the driver’s door is a gullwing door. I mean it’s certainly interesting, but very out-of-the-box. What’s even crazier, however, is that this concept supposedly previews a model that will go into production in 2019. That I really want to see, but for now, keep reading to learn a little more about this unique and bold concept.

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Posted on by Robert Moore  

The Acura TLX fights for dominance in a tough segment with models like the BMW 3 Series, Alfa Romeo Giulia, and Mercedes C-Class, among others. It’s a war-torn battlefield where models must be updated frequently to keep up, and things are always changing. As such, Acura has stayed on top of its game with the TLX, and just a few years after being introduced, it has gone through a facelift that brought about a new look to the front and rear, including the new Precision grille, lots of LED lights, and some updated technology inside to help it stay relevant. The updated TLX debuted at the New York Auto show, and just days later, Acura pulled the sheet off of another TLX – this time in prototype form with a longer wheelbase.

Obviously, Acura is trying to judge public interest in a LWB TLX in the one market that glorifies long vehicles with excessive room in the rear. It’s a status symbol, really, and the TLX in longer form should be more than sufficient for the wealthy Chinese businessman who would rather be driven. Acura hasn’t said much about this prototype and has only released a couple of images. The exterior is identical to the model we saw here in the U.S., with the exception of it having an extra-long roof, kick panels, and rear door. How much longer is it? Well, Acura didn’t say, but judging its length by the pictures provided, I’m guessing it’s somewhere around 4.5-inches longer. That should boost rear legroom up to around 38.5-inches, up from 34.5-inches in the standard model. There’s no word on any interior changes outside of the potential for extra legroom, but I suspect Acura would cater to the Chinese market well and offer plenty of rear-seat amenities like reclining seats, leg rests, rear infotainment, etc…

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