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2012 Beijing Auto Show: All the cars you need to see

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Audi Q3 Jinlong Yufeng Edition

First of all, let’s get the translation part done with. ‘Jinlong Yufeng’ translates to ‘Golden Dragon in the Wind’ and you’ll agree that it is quite a weirdly themed variant. Make that very weirdly themed. Of course, some wise-ass ‘Could well be the Golden Dragon passing wind’ jokes could be instantly heard around office. Now, we won’t poke fun at our neighbours – ok, not too much – but this variant wants to combine the kiteboarding hype in China with the fact that this is the Year of the Dragon. Those two concepts are so completely connected, it would be foolish not to combine the two, right? This kiteboarding, Manchurian-loving, golden-dragon-posing-in-the-breeze edition Q3 has two carbon-fibre kiteboards on top, some LEDs to illuminate its rack…er, roof and…tada! ‘Audi Cams’. They’re basically sports cameras that you can tie to your ‘sailbar’ with a super hi-tech technology in the form of ‘Elastic bands’ (rubber bands?), with which you can record and post your wipe outs online instantly! We heard they’re doing the ‘White Cow in the Middle of the Road’ edition for India, combining India’s favourite animal with the trending pedestrian sport of crossing the road without looking either ways.

 

Fiat brings rebadged Dodge Dart to China

The Fiat 500 is a great crowd puller for Fiat at most auto shows, but this time, in Beijing, they have something else that's attracting the crowds. Dodge, now a part of the Fiat group, brought out a new compact sedan a while ago and now a rebadged version of it called the Fiat Viaggio makes its way into China.

The Viaggio is based on one of the Fiat group's most advanced platforms, which in turn, was based off the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, so it's got some sound dynamics underneath. Engine choices for the Viaggio include the 1.4-litre turbocharged engine in two states of tune making 120 bhp and 150 bhp respectively. There's also two transmission choices, one being a 5-speed manual transmission and the other being a six-speed DCT. If the Viaggio does make its way over here, it may even come with an oil-burner under the hood.

Production of the Viaggio will commence very soon in China, making this the first locally made Fiat to be sold in China.

 

Honda unveils two new concept cars

This is what your next Honda could look like. At the Beijing Auto Show that's currently going on, Honda showcased a couple of concepts which could well make it to production.

The first of these concepts is called the Concept C, which is a mid-sized sedan model. The C, according to them, stands for cool, challenge and China, and well, they actually plan on making a production version of this later on in the year through their Chinese subsidiary. Toned down for production, this model has the makings of a good looking car for sure, though it looks like an Acura badge would look more at home on it. The other one, called the Concept S, is a large hatchback/MPV design, with some similarities between it and the current Jazz. No other datails are available, other than the fact that they plan on making a production model based on this concept later this year through their Chinese subsidiary. The models based off these concepts will first be introduced in China, with a global launch following soon afterwards.

 

Eterniti Artemis unveiled

Think it looks much like the Porsche Cayenne? Quite right, since it's based on one. London-based Eterniti, who specialise in adding that extra dose of luxury to already exquisite automobiles have taken a Porsche Cayenne and made it much more desirable, or so they say, in the form of the Artemis.

Powering the Artemis is a 4.8 litre twin-turbo V8 motor that produces over 600 bhp and 76.4 kgm of torque. As a result, the Artemis accelerates from 0-100 kph in 4.5 seconds and is capable of a top speed in excess of 290 kph – in other words, it's ridiculously fast. Oh, and those are 23 inch wheels you're looking at, so we know what Eterniti mean when they talk about 'adding that extra dose...'.

The body panels are carbon composite and are hand-built, as are the interiors which boast of the finest leather, carpeting and veneer. It's got a super high-end entertainment unit too, and needless to say, everything in the cabin is a little above top-notch. Oh, and interestingly, the car has been test-driven by Johnny Herbert (of F1 fame) who is also playing an important role in the development of the Artemis. Cars will be covered by a full two-year, 100,000-mile warranty including servicing, and UK customers will have access to finance and insurance.

Eterniti's cars will be covered by a full two-year, 1,00,000-mile warranty including servicing, and customers in the United Kingdrom will have access to finance and insurance too. Currently, Eternity is setting up its showrooms in preparation for the Artemis, which is expected to go into production a few months from now.

 

Production version of Ford EcoSport unveiled at Beijing auto show

After showcasing the EcoSport concept at the New Delhi Auto Expo eariler this year, Ford finally unveiled the production version at the Beijing Auto show this week. Thankfully, the radical looking concept hasn't been toned down to much to make it production ready, so you're left with an edgy looking, stylish, compact SUV.

The EcoSport is the smallest of four new models that Ford will be introducing to the Chinese market this year and will come powered by a 1.0-litre, 3-cylinder EcoBoost engine. This engine manages a more than decent power figure of 118 bhp of peak power and 17.3 kgm of torque. Thanks to this engine, the EcoSport has the power of a 1.6-litre engine with the fuel efficiency of a much smaller one. Apart from that, the 1.5-litre diesel engine currently found in the Fiesta will also make it's way under the hood of the EcoSport.

Not surprisingly, the interior of the EcoSport is very similar to the new Fiesta that it's based on. The same kinetic design elements can be seen clearly here. On the top level Titanium model shown, it came with all the bells and whistles including keyless entry, push-button start and the voice control system found in the Fiesta. The abundance of storage spaces inside the cabin and the fact that you can liberate a lot more space by folding the rear seats means that for its size, the EcoSport can take along quite a bit of luggage.

It's not all show and no go either, this. The new EcoSport comes with a ground clearance of 200 mm and is capable of wading through water that's .55 metres deep. The short ovehangs also afford it some nice approach and departure angles as well, so you're looking at something that's decently capable off the road. Production of the EcoSport will soon commence in India, Brazil and Thailand, with the model being exported to over 100 markets worldwide. 

 

Audi Q5 face-lift unveiled

The Beijing Auto show just kicked off today and one of the first unveilings there happens to be the facelifted Audi Q5 SUV. The changes seem to be relatively minor, but the update is appreciated nonetheless. With the Q7 getting its update and the new Q3 showing up on the scene, it's about time the Q5 got its share of the attention.

On the outside, the front end comes with an all-new bumper and grille with new headlights rounding out the package. At the rear, the changes are very minimal, with the bumper being the only noticeable change. On the inside, aside from a few minor material changes, there's nothing new there. Internationally, the engine choices see some revision, with the 3.2-litre V6 engine being replaced by a 3.0-litre supercharged V6 and a new hybrid variant will go on sale in the US. The engine choices here will most likely remain the same though. The real kicker is that, come Le Mans, Audi will unveil an S Q5 model!

 

Jaguar announces new engines

Jaguar Land Rover is driving up Tata Motors fortunes. Month after month the numbers seem to suggest that JLR is helping driving the parent company's fortunes up. Though Land Rover is helping up the stakes even further, Jaguar seems to be the one that needs a bit of catching up. And what better than to spice it up with a couple of new motors.

The 3.0-litre supercharged V6 is just one of them. The upcoming F-Type won't be the only one to get it, in fact you can expect it on the XF, XJ and the upcoming BMW 3-Series baiting, next-gen X-Type as well, if our prophesying ability is bang on. Developed off the 5.0-litre V8, the motor is available in two states of tune – 340 bhp and 380 bhp.   The V6 uses many key technologies from the V8 engine including direct injection, variable valve timing, quad cams and aluminum construction. Jaguar claims that it will offer comparable levels of power and refinement to the naturally-aspirated version of the V8 engine, but with greater specific output and efficiency courtesy of supercharging. Another motor, a 2.0-litre turbocharged four is what's next on offer. While the motor does power the Range Rover Evoque, you can expect it on other cars as well, which includes, as you've rightly guessed, the next X-Type and XF (again our prophecies, mind you). The 240 bhp motor, like the supercharged V6 is mated to an 8-speed automatic gearbox, courtesy ZF. Here are the specs of the motors for your viewing.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

340 bhp Supercharged 3.0-litre V6
Engine type: V6, supercharged
Capacity (cc): 2,995
Bore/stroke (mm): 84.5/89
Peak power (HP@rpm): 340@6,500

380 bhp Supercharged 3.0-litre V6
Engine type: V6, supercharged
Capacity (cc): 2,995
Bore/stroke (mm): 84.5/89
Peak power (HP@rpm): 380@6,500

240 bhp Turbocharged 2.0-litre I4
Engine type: four-cylinder, in-line, turbocharged
Capacity (cc): 1999
Bore/stroke (mm): 87.5/83.1
Peak power (HP@rpm): 240@5500


Seat Ibiza Cupra Concept unveiled

How to make an already exciting hatchback more desirable? Ask Seat, who've unveiled the Ibizia Cupra Concept at Beijing. According to Seat, the Ibiza Cupra Concept (Cupra, hereafter) is a sports car for everyday use. Think 'sports car' is a bit ambitious? Wait till you hear the numbers.

At the heart of the matter is a 1.4 litre TSI motor (here's where VW India should start taking a hint) that is both, turbocharged and supercharged (!) and as a result, produces 177 bhp and 25.4 kgm of torque, which, as you would know, is a lot for a three-door hatchback. All that power is made accessible to you via a paddle-shift equipped seven-speed DSG transmission unit and if that didn't give you a big enough lump in your throat, how about we tell you it's also got an electronic differential lock? And you thought you had a hot hatch, eh? Apart from the go, the Cupra's got the show too. Its typically Seat exteriors – by that we mean smart, if slightly unusual – are a good blend of sporty and functional. The edgy, angular headlamps are bi-xenon numbers with LED daytime running lamps. The 17-inch wheels look athletic but not outrageous and that matte black diffuser at the rear really does highlight the Cupra's absolutely sporty mindset. Like it? The production version of the Cupra should be out by the end of 2012, so you'll do better (not applicable if you're in the Indian market) to keep that cheque book on hold until then. By the way, VW, when did you say we're getting that similarly specced Polo?

Plug-in hybrid A6, called the A6 L e-tron makes debut at Beijing

Of the three concepts that Audi showcased at the Beijing auto show this year, the most important one for Audi's operations in China is the A6 L e-tron concept. The long-wheelbase version of the A6 is one of Audi's best selling models in China and this concept is basically the long-wheelbase version of the current car along with a few tweaks to give it that e-tron badge. These tweaks include, apart from the electric addition to the drivetrain, a different grille up front, a new rear diffuser and 20-inch wheels.

The A6 L e-tron was specially designed keeping the needs of the Chinese customer in mind. The wheelbase of the new A6 L is longer than the normal A6 by about 100mm and so, too, is the overall length. Rear seat occupants certainly won't be complaining about lack of space in this one.

Under the hood sits the 2.0-litre TFSI petrol engine with a 94 bhp electric motor providing some added juice. The new electric propulsion system allows the A6 L to travel up to 80 km on pure electric power. The battery pack for the electric motor sits in the trunk and can be charged off normal household outlets or a special quick charge outlet. After you run out of battery power, you can go back to burning fossil fuels of course, so there's no need to worry about range.

 

Lamborghini reveals Urus SUV concept

Finally, rumours, soothsaying and hypotheses can lay to rest. Lamborghini's third line of cars will be an SUV and not a four-door supersport car. The Urus SUV concept is Lamborghini's return to the SUV formula. If it gets the go-ahead for production, this could double the volumes for what is essentially a small automotive firm, with Lamborghini targetting sales of 3,000-3,500 units of the vehicle annually. China, Russia, West Asia and India - this is the Lamborghini you've always desired!

Stephan Winkelmann, Lamborghini's suave president & CEO says 'It is the perfect complement to our supersport cars. Thus was born the Urus concept and Lamborghini's second attempt at an SUV since the famous LM002. The Urus name is derived from Aurochs, the ancestor of most Spanish fighting bulls. BS Motoring was privileged enough to get some, if not all of the inside dope on the Urus, sometime late-March and even had a one-on-one interaction with Stephan, as he went ahead and explained the philosophy of the Urus and what future holds for Lamborghini. A more detailed preview can be found in the May 2012 issue of BS Motoring, out on stands now.

The Urus is an edgy styled work of goodness. From the Y-shaped LED headlights to the large air-dam, the pinch lines on the bonnet, the large wheels and the rising waistline that's complemented by a bulging rear wheel arch, the Urus is one aggressive design that will capture the imagination of the intended customers. Designed to be a proper four-door, four-seat SUV, the Urus will be built using a cocktail of materials. Carbon fibre, a material whose expertise Lamborghini is quite famous for, will not only be used for the skin, but for the interior bits as well, making it one of the lightest SUVs in its category.  It's carried through the entire interior of the concept, including the central tunnel and even partially on the leather clad seats. The four bucket seats too are made of the same material.

Taking a leaf from the Ferrari book is the multi-function steering that also houses the controls for the indicators and wipers (yikes!), while the paddle shifters will continue to stay behind the steering (phew!). Touch screens for the front and rear passengers are part of the concept's interior package, while the conventional outside rear view mirrors are replaced with TFT screens. 

Add the low centre of gravity, some clever aero bits up front and rear and what you have is a focused sporty SUV that is aimed at the jugular that reads 'Porsche Cayenne', 'Maserati Kubang' and the 'Bentley SUV', while going a notch higher in the process.

The Urus will be powered by, what seems to be, a new generation V10 or V12 that could potentially produce over 600 bhp. Winkelmann says that the Urus, like the Gallardo and Aventador, will follow a one-model, one-engine format. And he is quick not to dismiss the possibility of hybrids, although diesel is a no-go. And for the first time, a dual-clutch transmission will be used on a Lamborghini, that should help bring down the CO2 figure by quite some margin.

While pricing will be key to the production version's success, especially since it will be targeted at markets like West Asia, China, UK, US and Europe (with a small portion heading here), Lamborghini will utilise the Volkswagen Group's purchasing power to keep the price keen. We expect the car to go into production in the next three to four years, sometime after the Bentley SUV.

New Mercedes CSC Concept shown ahead of Beijing auto show

When Mercedes launched the CLS-Class way back in 2004, they practically started the whole four-door-coupe segment. Soon after that, there were many manufacturers who followed suit and got their own models into the segment. The CLS still turns heads, no doubt, but they felt the need for a similar model at a lower price point. Enter the CSC, short for Concept Style Coupe. This is a C-class sized four-door-coupe that makes just as much a style statement as its older sibling and will be bound to be a lot cheaper to buy.

The CSC, which will be officially unveiled at the forthcoming Beijing auto show, carries the new corporate face of Mercedes which was shown on the new A-Class recently. The concept was shown with a 2.0-litre petrol engine making 211 bhp of peak power which sends power to all four wheels through a 7 speed DCT transmission. Depending on the response this receives, the production model could be based off the C-class platform and maybe even share a few powertrain options with it. Per our prediction, this could make it to showrooms by late 2014, we're certainly excited!

 

Audi lets RS Q3 Concept out of the bag before Beijing auto show

It's been mere days since we got to sample the Audi Q3 and already, there's a go-faster version on the cards. Granted, the Q3 has been on sale in Europe for a while now, so it's about time, really. The blue RS Q3 you see here is still officially a concept that will be shown at the upcoming Beijing auto show, but really, tone down the aero bits a little and you're looking at a production-ready model.

The concept features a 2.5-litre TFSI engine, the same one you can find under the hood of the Audi TT RS. The engine is good for 360 bhp of peak power, and when sending power to all four wheels through a seven-speed DSG gearbox, is capable of a claimed 0-100 kph time of 5.2 seconds.

On the outside, the front end now features slightly tinted headlights, a new, radical-looking bumper and many carbon fibre bits to justify the RS badge. The entire car also rides 25mm lower than the normal Q3, so while it may not be too much of an off-roader now, it should go around corners a lot better.

It also gets a special two-tone blue and black treatment on the inside, with the seats, steering wheel and even the pedals getting the colour scheme. Also, note the flat-bottomed steering wheel borrowed from other RS cars.

The only thing that remains now is the official announcement about its price.