This week’s Shanghai motor show has seen the unveiling of a variety of new models that will shortly be on sale in China – and a few of them are destined for British shores too.
From luxury MPV limousines to sporty two-seat sports cars, the variety of new metal revealed has been vast and varied.
We’ve picked out ten of the headline-grabbing new models that are most important to UK drivers, as you will shortly see examples of these motors on our roads.
1. BMW i7 M70
This is the enormous new BMW i7 M70, the German car giant’s most powerful electric car to date with a massive 650bhp
The premium limo oozes as much luxury as it does performance, with a glorious interior and high-end materials and fabrics
When BMW sticks its performance ‘M’ badge of a model, you know it needs to have something special about it.
And this i7 M70 launched in Shanghai has just that, as it’s the most powerful electric car the German outfit has ever produced for the road – packing an eye-water 650bhp.
A massive 101.7kWh lithium-ion battery feeds an electric motor at the front with 255bhp and another at the rear delivering 483bhp.
We don’t yet know how heavy this barge of an EV is, but BMW says it can hit 62mph from a standstill in 3.7 seconds – that’s faster than a Porsche Cayman GT4 sports car – and has a limited top speed of 155mph. Official range is up to 348 miles between charges.
The luxury limo won’t come cheap. The existing top of the range i7 costs a jaw-dropping £141,000, and this will sit above it in the line-up and likely be priced in excess of £160,000.
2. Lexus LM
A limo with a difference: This is the new Lexus LM, which stands for Luxury Mover. The Japanese marque has confirmed it will be sold in Britain
It comes in seven or four-seat layout, the latter being the ideal choice for A-list clientele. The private jet-style chairs are made from memory foam, fully recline and have seven massage functions. It even has a glass divider so you don’t have to see your chauffeur
With MPVs becoming increasingly unpopular in the UK – as more people look for SUVs instead – it might come as a shock to some Britons to see that Lexus has just unveiled a new people carrier. And it’s certainly no looker, featuring one of the biggest grille designs you’ll ever see on a vehicle.
It’s not electric, either. Powering the LM is a 3.5-litre petrol V6 engine with 291bhp. It should hit 62mph from a standing start in just 7 seconds.
‘LM’ stands for Luxury Mover, and this is exactly what the new Lexus is – a spacious, high-end people carrier designed to transport the most important people in supreme comfort. There’s even the option of a glass divider between the passengers and the chauffeur.
It will be sold as a seven seater or – for ultimate opulence – a four-seater with huge private jet-like chairs. The seats are made from Adaptipedic memory foam, fully recline and have seven different massage functions.
The Japanese premium brand confirms it will be sold in the UK. For the all-singing range topper, expect prices to exceed £100,000.
3. Mercedes-Maybach EQS SUV
Another luxury limo launched in Shanghai that will cost well in excess of £100,000 is this Mercedes-Maybach EQS SUV
As you can tell by the champagne flutes, reclining rear seats and top-of-the-range speakers, this is a motor aimed at eco-conscious A-listers and business owners
We continue with luxury cars for a moment, with Maybach taking the wraps off its new EQS SUV, based on the Mercedes model of the same name.
It is powered by a pair of electric motors that produce 659bhp – so more than the BMW i70 M70 above – and should have enough range to travel 373 miles between charges.
Given that the range-topping Merc version costs over £153,000, expect the opulent Maybach additions to push the price close to – if not over – the £200,000 mark.
It is looking to steal sales from rival SUV limos on the market, notably the long wheelbase Bentley Bentayga and Rolls-Royce’s Cullinan.
As is tradition, it comes with two-tone coach paintwork, bespoke interior features and a raft of extras you’d expect to see in a first class airliner.
4. MG Cyberster
Arguably the biggest unveiling at the Shanghai motor show in 2023 was the MG Cyberster – the reborn brand’s vision for an MGB for the 21st century. And it will come with scissor doors
While Chinese owners of the MG Motor brand remained tight-lipped about its new two-seat roadster, much of the information has been leaked in patent documentation
The iconic MGB roadster has been reborn for the 21st century in the shape of the new MG Cyberster – a two-seat electric soft-top that will be sold in Britain next year.
MG Motor – the relaunched brand now under Chinese ownership – debuted its stunning sports cars at the show, which features battery power, a power-folding fabric roof and scissor doors.
It should be on sale in the UK next summer, though prices haven’t yet been disclosed. One thing’s for sure, though – it will cost more than the legendary original, which was priced at just £950 new in the early sixties.
It is expected to be sold with the choice of a single and twin-electric motor setup using one compact battery pack: an entry level single motor version will produce 309bhp and a dual-motor variant will pack up to 536bhp.
Top speed is expected to be limited to 124mph.
> READ MORE: Our in-detail report on the MG Cyberster
5. Ora Lightning Cat
This is the Ora Lightning Cat, which will likely be the second electric model from the Great Wall Motor company to go on sale in the UK
Also unveiled in Shanghai was the Ora Ballet Cat, which looks exceptionally similar to the VW Beetle. If the vehicle’s name and looks weren’t controversial enough, it was also showcased as a wedding car, accompanied by models in wedding gowns. There are currently no plans for it to be sold in Britain
Ora – the brand under the Great Wall Motor banner – is already selling one electric car in Britain today. The – hilariously-named – Funky Cat supermini hit the market late last year with a price tag of more than £30,000.
And British customers will soon be able to get their claws into its new larger sibling, the Lightning Cat, which was shown in Shanghai for the first time this week.
It is expected to go on sale, with the large electric executive saloon leaving a big gap in the line-up for models to fill in between.
Unfortunately – for some – the crazy ‘Cat’ naming structure is not likely to be retained, with reports that Ora will switch to a numerical nameplate system for the models, which will see the Funky Cat become the 03 and the Lightning Cat 07.
Another Ora model was also unveiled at the event called the Ballet Cat. The reveal of the Beetle-like EV was slightly overshadowed by its appearance as a wedding car with bride and groom in tow. There are currently no plans for it to be sold in Britain.
6. Polestar 4
The new Polestar 4 boasts an acceleration from rest to 62mph in 3.8 seconds up to a top speed of 124mph. It is the Chinese-owned brand’s fastest production model to date
Designers have done away with the traditional rear window. This is said to create a ‘new kind of immersive rear occupant experience’ and allows for the use of unique lights
The new Polestar 4 was unveiled at the Shanghai motor show and is expected to cost from £55,000 ($60,000) when it hits UK showrooms early next year, and is positioned between Polestar 2 and Polestar 3 in terms of size and price.
The five-seater electric performance SUV coupé is the second SUV in the brand’s line-up and includes design cues first seen on Polestar’s concept cars such as the Precept. This includes eliminating the traditional rear window which, says Polestar, enables a new kind of immersive rear occupant experience and unique lights.
‘Thanks to the elimination of the rear window, the glass roof stretches beyond the rear occupants’ heads, creating a truly unique interior ambience,’ it says.
The Swedish electric performance brand, a spin-off from Sweden’s Volvo, is part of China’s giant Geely group which owns both firms.
The Gothenburg-based company said: ‘Polestar 4 transforms the aerodynamics of a coupé and the space of an SUV into a new breed of SUV coupé’.
> READ MORE: Our in-depth report on the Polestar 4
7. Porsche Cayenne
Porsche used the Shanghai motor show to unveil its facelifted Cayenne. Its biggest model is hugely popular in China, which made the event the first showcase for the updated version
The plug-in hybrid Cayenne gets a bigger battery pack, meaning it can go twice as far than before in electric-only model – up to 56 miles, the German sports car maker says
Porsche used the Shanghai show to showcase its mid-life update to the Cayenne, which should keep the model fresh while the German sport car maker works on the next-generation electric version.
This includes upgrades to the looks, tech, cabin materials and engine line-up.
It will be sold only as a petrol or petrol-electric hybrid. The latter will offer up to 56 miles of range in battery-only mode, which more than doubles the distance travelled under electric power in the pre-facelift PHEV (25 miles).
This is partly thanks to a bigger battery pack, increasing to 25.9kWh in capacity.
Pricing should remain relatively consistent, meaning the entry version of the new family SUV should start at around £67,000.
8. Smart #3
Remember when Smart only made ultra-tiny city cars? That’s not the case anymore. Say hello to its new #3 SUV
The #3 is Smart’s biggest vehicle yet as the company throws its hat into the ever popular electric SUV market
When you think of Smart cars, you tend to picture ultra-dinky vehicles that are so short that instead of parallel parking, you can drive one forwards into a kerb-side bay.
But the brand has shown its latest model in Shanghai that’s far from small.
The #3 is its biggest vehicle yet as the company throws its hat into the ever popular electric SUV market.
While official technical specifications remain under wraps, information leaked out of China suggests it will be similar in size to Volkswagen’s ID 5 and be powered by a single-motor drivetrain with almost 270bhp.
We expect there to be a performance Brabus version to follow, which will pack more power.
9. VW ID.7
With a claimed range of up to 435 miles, the new Volkswagen ID.7 will become the German car giant’s longest-distance EV model between charges
The ID.7 also boasts a host of new clever tech, including an automatic parking function that learns your driveway and climate control seats that can tell if you’re sweating and blast you with cool air
Volkswagen used the Shanghai show to take the covers off its latest electric family car called the ID.7, which is set to go head-to-head with Tesla’s Model 3 later this year with a starting price tag in the region of £50,000.
The family saloon has been officially unveiled as its biggest non-SUV model and should be super spacious and have a decent-size boot.
With up to 435 miles of battery range, it’s the brand’s longest-distance electric model yet.
But it also boasts a host of new clever tech, including an automatic parking function that learns your driveway and climate control seats that can tell if you’re sweating and blasts you with cool air.
> READ MORE: 10 things you need to know about the new VW ID.7
10. Zeekr X
Zeekr is the latest EV brand in the Geely group, which also consists of Volvo, Polestar, Lotus, Lynk&Co and LEVC. The electric SUV is likely to have a range of up to 350 miles when it goes on sale in China…and then Europe
The Zeekr X and 001 – a luxury shooting brake model – will debut in Sweden and the Netherlands in late 2023 with other countries and models coming soon after. That could include the UK
Zeekr is a brand you won’t have heard of, and for good reason. It’s part of the Geely group, which means it sits alongside better-known brands including Volvo, Lotus and Polestar.
The ‘X’ is its third production model having sold two other car in China for the last two year. And it is – as you might have already guessed – an electric SUV. It will offer a full-charge driving range of around 350 miles and the fastest variant will hit 62mph from a standing start in just 4 seconds.
The big news from the Shanghai show is that it the brand will officially enter the European market this year.
The Zeekr X and 001 – a luxury ‘shooting brake’ [the term for a two-door estate car] model – will debut in Sweden and the Netherlands in late 2023 with other countries and models coming soon after.
That could include the UK, which will see yet another new EV brand from China enter Britain’s market.
> READ MORE: Do you know these 10 electric car newcomers due to hit our roads in the next two years?
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