Shanghai Motorshow

Citroen unveiled its Sporty SUV, the C5 Aircross at the Shanghai Motorshow. The French automaker is starting to focus quite a bit of its attention on the SUV market with the introduction of the futuristic C-Aircross Concept and C3 Aircross.

For the C5 Aircross, Citroen is positioning it as a global vehicle that will take on the German and Japanese heavyweights that have dominated markets around the world. Unlike most contemporary designs, the C5 Aircross features sleek and elegant contours. The front fascia sports a thin and understated louvered grille design that extends from one side of the fender to the other. The Citroen badge has been integrated with the upper grille that also houses the thin two piece LED headlights.

From the sides, the car features a contemporary look, wide wheel arches and wide but sleek A and C-pillars that feature glass paneling, giving the vehicle a more airy look. At the rear, the look is reminiscent of the older VW Toureg. The elongated four panel LED tail lights’s lines flow with the contours of the rear bodywork. The entire design blends luxury and rugged outdoors ability into a simplified yet elegant package. The C5 Aircross features a 2,730 mm wheelbase and short overhangs that will help it tackle off road obstacles with better maneuverability and precision.

But inside is where things get interesting. Due to the vehicle’s construction and choice of materials, the cabin looks spacious and like the exterior, has an airy effect to it, thanks in part to the large panoramic roof. The dashboard features a horizontal layout to provide for a greater width, the seats are wide and feature comfortable materials which is also true for the wide centre console which has soft and elegant materials that provide a better sense of protection and comfort.

In the centre stack, there’s a 12.3-inch TFT digital cluster and a capacitive 8-inch HD touchscreen infotainment system that should feature an array of connectivity. The heated front seats have a massaging feature that will help occupants relax as they breath in the clean purified air expelled from the vehicle’s air quality treatment system.

Built on the EMP2 platform, this particular Citroen comes equipped with the Progressive Hydraulic Cushions suspension, which is said to provide exceptional levels of damping and ride comfort. Apart from that, it also comes with a slew of driving aids which include Active Safety Brake, Active Lane Departure Warning, Adaptive Cruise Control with a Stop function, Grip Control and Hill Assist Descent Control.

Citroen’s C5 Aircross will the first vehicle in its line-up to also feature a PHEV plug-in hybrid variant, which will definitely be to the liking of the environmentally conscious folks. According to the automaker, the vehicle will be launched in China in October of this year followed by Europe at the end of 2018.

At the Shanghai Motorshow, Volvo announced that it will be building its first all-electric vehicle in China. It will be based on the automaker’s Compact Modular Architecture (CMA), which is catered to smaller cars. The car is slated for release sometime in 2019 and will be exported to countries around the world.

Volvo’s decision to produce its new electric vehicle is China indicates that the automaker’s intentions to capitalize on the countries hunger for electric vehicles and those of neighboring countries. Volvo already has three manufacturing facilities in China, which are Daqing (manufactures 90 Series models), Chengdu (manufactures 60 Series models) and Luqiao (manufacturers 40 Series models).

“Volvo Cars fully supports the Chinese government’s call for cleaner air as outlined in the latest five-year plan. It is fully in-line with our own core values of environmental care, quality and safety,” said Håkan Samuelsson, chief executive of Volvo Cars. “We believe that electrification is the answer to sustainable mobility.”

At the moment, China is the world’s biggest market for electric vehicles and it might get a lot bigger due the government’s ambitious initiatives to tackle congestion and air quality issues in its cities. This might work out in Volvo’s favour as the automaker targets to sell a total of 1 million electrified vehicle which include electric and hybrid offerings by 2025.

The Swedish automaker is also developing a fully-electric car on its Scalable Product Architecture, which is a platform that is used to build a range of Volvo models. Besides this, in the near future, Volvo also plans on offering plug-in hybrid versions of every model that it makes. This might seem like a tall order for some, but Volvo has already established a beachhead in China, which should make things a little easier for it.

At the ongoing Shanghai Motorshow, Audi has unveiled its design study, the all-electric E-Tron Sportback Concept. Sporting futuristic design elements, this vehicle provides a glimpse into what the actual car might look like when it hits the road next year.

This vehicle measures 4,900mm long, 1,980mm wide and 1,530mm high. It has a wheelbase of 2,930mm and according to Audi is positioned in the C segment which is close to the Audi A7. The front end features an octogonal single frame grille with a wide horizontal cut but unlike conventional models, it forgoes the large opening at the front due to the fact that electric motors require far less cooling than petrol engines.

The edges of the central surface are drawn back which help channel airflow. The sharp creases, angular headlights and blacked-out grille provide for a futuristic yet menacing stance.

The contours are angular yet simple and provide the vehicle with a coupe-like look. The wing mirrors have been replaced with cameras that provide a better field of view and almost eliminating blind spots that come with conventional mirrors. The LED lighting features digital matrix projectors that help illuminate the road ahead during the day or night. Below the DRLs are 250 LEDs that display engaging graphics and communicate signs while on the move.

Inside, the E-Tron features a signature white Audi interior with a digital instrument cluster and switchgear that wouldn’t look our of place on a commercial airliner. Unlike conventional Audis, this one has two rear seats instead of the stretched three seat set up. The dash up front features a sports steering wheel that resembles that of the R8 but overall, has a very minimalistic look as opposed to its competitors that feel very busy and complicated.

The E-Tron also has 23-inch wheels that feature a 6-spoke design and add to the sporty look but also give the car a wider track. But Audi may choose drop the rim size for the production version in the name of power conservation later on.

Since this is an all-electric vehicle, it features three motors, one on the front axle and two on the rear one. Working in tandem they provide it with an-all-wheel-drive system. Power is rated at 320kW (429bhp) which increases to 370kW (496bhp) when in boost mode. The 0-100km/h sprint is accomplished in 4.5 seconds, which isn’t supercar quick but impressive considering this Audi’s dimensions. Juice is supplied via a 95kWh lithium-ion battery pack that also provides the vehicle with a range of 450km.

The liquid cooled Lithium-ion battery pack is positioned between the front and rear axles and placed below the passenger compartment. Due to this, the vehicle has a lower centre of gravity and a balanced axle load distribution of 52:48 (front/rear). The battery can be charged by the Combined Charging System which accepts Alternating or Direct Current (AC or DC) charging outlets.

Regarding the reveal, Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG, said, “Our Audi e‑tron will be starting out in 2018 – the first electric car in its competitive field that is fit for everyday use. With a range of over 450km and the special electric driving experience, we will make this sporty SUV the must-have product of the next decade. Following close on its heels, in 2019, comes the production version of the Audi e‑tron Sportback – an emotional coupe version that is thrillingly identifiable as an electric car at the very first glance.”

Though it has been labeled as a design study, the production ready car is slated for launch in 2018, which means several elements will be carried over from the concept vehicle.

Mercedes-Benz has unveiled what maybe its future A-Class, at the ongoing Shanghai Motorshow. Dubbed the Mercedes-Benz Concept A Sedan, the car forgoes the German automaker’s current design language for one that features more elegant and curvy contours.

“Our Concept A Sedan shows, that the time of creases is over”, say Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer Daimler AG. “With its perfect proportions and a sensual treatment of surfaces with reduced lines, it is the next milestone of Sensual Purity and has the potential to introduce a new design era.”

The Concept A Sedan measures 4570mm long, 1870mm wide and 1462mm high and features proportions that are similar in some ways to the current CLA but graced with a whole new front end. Unlike the current car, the concept has a prominent ‘Panamericana’ grille that is tilted towards the front and features vertical chrome inserts with the iconic star dominating the front. The bonnet is a little flatter and features two dome like structures that add to the muscular appearance. The door handles sit flush with the body which should aid aero efficiency.

The headlamps are sleeker than the ones on the current generation cars as it starts from each end of the grille and tappers off towards the wheel arches reminiscent of the GT Gran Turismo. The car’s grid structure in the headlamps are coated with UV paint and exposed to ultraviolet light. As such, the headlamps “glow” in different colours, depending on the light medium – the daytime running lamps, for instance, are white. This same lighting technology is also used for the rear. The large lower air inlet has a diamond grid structure and trim strip finished in dark chrome.

Things are pretty neat at the rear end too, as Mercedes-Benz has chosen a more subtle approach for the design. Similar to the current CLA, the lights take on sharp prominent contours that end toward the number plate. The rear bumper’s diffuser-look lower part is trimmed in black and has a chrome trim strip and the exhaust deflectors are finished in dark chrome.

The side windows are large and darkened to improve privacy while the large panoramic glass roof provides an airy feeling to the entire cabin. The wheel arches are wide and less pronounced to accommodate the 20-inch lightweight alloy wheels. The design features a swept blade look that have structures surfaces between the spokes.

The Current A-Class is very important to the automaker as it accounts for a substantial chunk of its yearly revenue. It has sold more than two million compact vehicles to date and with the introduction of this new radical design language, Mercedes-Benz is hoping to bolster its impressive sales figures even further. As of now, models that make up MB’s compact car line-up are the A and B-Class, CLA and CLA Shooting Brake as well as the GLA, which is its SUV crossover.

Whether or not This new design language is incorporated into the next A-Class remains to be seen but if it does, we won’t complain.

Infiniti’s QX50 Concept will make its debut at the on going Shanghai Motorshow. The next-generation premium crossover is said to offer futuristic design elements that complement the modern drivetrain very well.

The company stated that the QX50 will be the first vehicle in the world to have an engine that can adjust its variable compression ratio while on the move. This Variable Compression Turbo (VC-Turbo) engine will have the ability to adjust to the needs of drivers as and when power or fuel efficiency is favoured.

Infiniti also says that the QX50 will feature autonomous drive support technologies that will allow the vehicle to operate unaided. Besides the tech, the company has designed it in such a way that the interior and exterior designs complement each other very well and lend to a muscular silhouette. It’s space-centric cabin will have decent levels of comfort while offering modern and elegant levels of craftsmanship.

“INFINITI is pleased to debut an SUV concept in the world’s fastest growing segment, here in the world’s largest market,” said Roland Krueger, president of INFINITI Motor Company. “The QX50 production vehicles will feature advanced autonomous drive capability and will be the first vehicle in the world to be powered by an engine that can adjust variable compression ratio on the fly.”

Infiniti says that its goal is to produce a vehicle that looks muscular yet elegant, has futuristic autonomous technologies but ultimately, offer high levels of driver engagement – a must for those looking for something more than just a mode of transportation.

LYNK & Co a newly formed car company has previewed two new models at the ongoing Shanghai Motorshow. Unlike most automakers, this company will offer its cars with a lifetime warranty and free data traffic for connectivity.

Speaking of the offer, Alain Visser, Senior Vice President of LYNK & CO, said: “Now with two cars in the LYNK & CO family, just five months in to our company’s life, the promises we made of having a range of vehicles ready, high quality, unrivaled technology and connectivity as standard, and a unique brand identity, are being proven. On top of this we now add a lifetime warranty on every car, and free data traffic for connectivity, to further underline our determination to challenge the traditional business model of the car industry.”

The company is looking to streamline the task of shopping and purchasing a car. it will offer online sales and home delivery services and a subscription model as well. They are planning to make it as simple as picking what you like from a smartphone app. Taking this approach a step further, LYNK & Co will also feature a a car sharing function where owners will be able to rent out their vehicles.

The automaker will have transparent fixed pricing to make purchasing and renting a whole lot easier. The exact details on how this will actually work is rather scarce at the moment, but should make for an interesting take on the ride sharing services concept.

This service is slated for launch in China this year and with it, the company hopes to bring a unique connected mobility experience with the option to share your car, all in a simple yet complete user experience. On April 19th, at the motorshow, the company will showcase a production ready version of the 01 car and a concept version of its 03 model as well. The exact details will be revealed by Peter Horbury, Excecutive Vice President Design at Geely Auto Group, which leads us to believe that LYNK & Co may actually have Chinese backing with their new business approach.


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