More from the World’s Hottest Auto Market

V12 BAIC C90L, doors open

Rolls-Royce’s Phantom was surely not the only supersized, stretched sedan to grace the Beijing show. Chinese makers have also gotten in the game. Above is the V12 BAIC C90L (more pix and description here), from a state-owned company that has partnered with Mercedes and Hyundai.

BAIC owns rights to two Saab platforms, one of which (the 9-5’s?) may underpin the C90L. The car was designed in Italy and Hong Kong and is very sharp with suicide doors and an “opulent” interior. A truly international car.

Another stretcher came from Infiniti—the M25L, which has puny V6 power—but now (in China, at least) you can get a hybrid M35h L with 360 hp—a cheaper way to get luxo length.

And Jaguar has its XJ Ultimate (shown after the break) with the now-mandatory champagne cooler, plus built-in iPads in the front seatbacks, an 825-watt Meridian sound system (20 speakers and 2 subwoofers) and God knows what else.

Continue reading >>>

Green Update: Two Interesting Hondas at Beijing

Honda Concept S minivan

Beijing is right now the most important auto show in the world, because it links carmakers and the buying public to the most important auto market in the world. GM plans to open 600 dealerships in China this year.

The show is also significant for giving companies like Honda, whose fortunes have declined, a chance to show off concepts that may lead the way back.

The company brought an interesting Concept S hybrid minivan (above), whose name signifies, Honda says, “stylish,” “smart” and “surprise.” I guess that’s better than “slow,” “stinky” and “shoddy.”

This is a sharp-looking minivan design in which Honda finally seems to have gotten a good basic shape without screwing up the details (except for the front driving lights and some kind of jet-exhaust rear reflector things under the well-designed taillights). The car will debut in China next year, then go global.

I think it is designed to give the Prius V some real competition. Good pix can be found here.

Continue reading >>>

Cars Coming Soon: Mercedes-Benz CSC Takes Design Lesson from Hyundai

Understated luxury, ultimate elegance and pavement-peeling performance.

Those are terms I think of when I think of Mercedes-Benz. Even the outrageous SLS AMG has a certain laid-back coolness without seeming like it’s trying too hard to be awesome.

I’m not sure I can say the same thing about the vehicle you see above. That’s the M-B Concept Style Coupe, or CSC. Despite its name, the car is actually a compact sedan which will take on the likes of the Audi A3. And yes, there’s a good chance the production version will come to the States.

Continue reading >>>