The new Mercedes A-Class is on show at the 2011 Shanghai Motor Show in the form of the Concept A, and has since gone on display in New York at Daimler showrooms. The sexy little A-Class is a far cry from the compact people mover and minus a few show car features, this car is going all the way to production. Could it be what the US needed to be convinced of sporty hatches? We don’t know, but here in Europe at what will be a higher price point, we can see this really taking off.
What’s more, Mercedes got serious about its presence in Shanghai and showed off not only this world debut, but also the entire recent range including the C-Class restyling, and the new CLS and SLK models. Do we need to mention again just how important a love affair is right now with the Chinese car market for European car manufacturers? If things go according to plan, China will be Mercedes’ number one market by 2015.
The Concept A Class has a new four-cylinder, 2.0-litre engine with direct injection producing 210 hp. A new seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox debuts as does the MFA front-wheel drive architecture. The lower end of the Mercedes line-up will now get Brake Assist and Collision Prevention Assist, set to appear on the next A-Class and B-Class models.
The Volvo Concept Universe is at the 2011 Shanghai Motor Show as a prototype of Volvo’s new top-model sedan. The recognition of the Chinese car market comes not just in its debut in Shanghai, but also the Concept Universe design which has a totally new front end which should create some discussion. The sloping roof line and rear keeps the concept in the coupé-sedan trend.
The Concept Universe is based on a totally new SPA structure - Scalable Platform Arhictecture. As its name suggests, it will be used on other mid-size models in the models, and the production version of the Universe (hoping it changes its name…), will be the first to use the new SPA.
Despite that small detail, no powertrain information has been released so we can’t be sure what kind of set-up this will use. The Volvo Concept Universe uses the minimalist interior of Volvos of late, with extra high-tech features including iPad integration for rear passengers. It looks like Volvo is also trying to develop its interior to be more competitive with new colours and materials to wear the luxury label. Despite exterior design developments and changes, the interior is really where luxury is at in cars these days.
The new Volkswagen Beetle is at the 2011 Shanghai Motor Show and we can see the updated 2012 Beetle pics here. Since revival and retro models are fashionable in the new millennium, it’s easy to underestimate what it means from a historic and nostalgic point of view to see a new Beetle arrive. It’s a model which has for decades marked the story of the Volkswagen brand and while the “cute” model previously exploded onto the market, this time round it has been a harder business case for VW with more competition.
Which is why the new 2012 Volkswagen Beetle is more “driver oriented” and “dynamic and masculine”. We can see more of the sports coupé inspiration in this updated model, which is 15cm longer than the previous one. It is lower, more aggressive and sportier and that will all come in handy when it hits the market.
According to Autoblog, the live New York Beetle presentation had Luca de Meo indicating that this model has to bring back the spirit of the original, which we assume means it got lost along the way with the first revival. It is designed to be “affordable, tough, and easy to use” but needs to be relevant to the 21st century. The interior looks pretty snazzy and we’re quite taken with the Beetle in red, too.
We should see the Volkswagen Beetle in Europe in autumn and will get a thoroughly modern engine range compared to the previous line-up from the Golf IV. The Beetle engines, petrol options, are: TSI 1.2 litre with 105 hp, 1.4 with 160 hp and the 2.0 with 200 hp. The diesels are: 1.6 TDI with 105 hp and a 2.0 with 140 hp. Packing a little more technology into the thing, is also the DSG dual-clutch transmission and an XDS electronic front differential.
Here is the first look at the Peugeot SXC concept to be revealed at the 2011 Shanghai Motor Show. The petrol hybrid concept model has been designed at Peugeot design studios in Shanghai and is proof again of how important the Chinese car market is to European manufacturers. At the same time, this SXC recognises that European cars can’t be all things to all people, and after one comment on Eurocarblog about whether “Asian buyers will consider buying a french hybrid car”, we’ll be interested to see the production future of the SXC and whether it sticks to its local market origins as truly dedicated to the Chinese market.
The Peugeot SXC comes with a four-cylinder 1.6 petrol engine with 220 hp, combined with a rear electric motor making the Hybrid4 system. Total power is 315 hp. The Shanghai Cross Concept (hence SXC), has an average fuel consumption of 20.7 l/km with CO2 emissions of 143 g/km.
The style develops previous design language used on the SR1, BB1 and HR1, and is placed in the currently popular crossover segment. It measures 4.87 metres long, 2.03 metres wide and 1.6 metres tall and we think is a nice fit for the Chinese market, while still playing on its French origins. That’s for the concept model, though, and whether PSA will take it to production in this style or not is anyone’s guess. One to watch to see if the group can’t improve its fortunes outside of Europe.
Audi has released all the pics and some of the details of its new Q3 model before it debuts this week at the 2011 Shanghai Motor Show. The new Audi Q3 is based on the Volkswagen Tiguan, but is designed to be an entry-level access to a luxury SUV in the Volkswagen line-up. While still an Audi up front, the Q3 has a cuter look than even the A1, which puts us in mind of what Mini did with its Countryman compact SUV.
The Audi Q3 will look good and provide plenty of that luxury touch inside and out by the time it hits the European market, and depending on what the company does with its revamped A3 next year, we’ll be interested to see whether the Q3 can’t out-sell the popular hatchback. The Audi Q3 will come equipped with two engines in four powersteps: the 2.0 TFSI and the 2.0 TDI. The petrol engine comes in 170 and 211 hp versions, while the diesel unit makes 140 and 177 hp.
Pricing for the Q3 in Europe should start at nearly €30,000 and options include the S-Line package and off-road package with Quattro all-wheel drive as part of the five packages available. On the inside we get plenty of Audi luxury with numerous accessories, wi-fi connectivity, BOSE audio system and satellite navigator. So far Audi isn’t being awarded for its originality with this design and the BMW X1 possibly wins on the luxury stakes, being based on the 3 Series platform. But this is becoming a seriously competitive segment and an Audi offering means those fans can have their own slice of Audi compact SUV-ness.
The Audi Q3 has been released in these new Q3 pics before it gets its official debut at the 2011 Shanghai Motor Show. As we already know, the Q3 sees the expansion of the Audi SUV range downwards, providing a more compact model than the previous entry-level Q5. The Audi Q3 is based on the PQ35 platform, which is the same as that used for the Volkswagen Tiguan, and is 4.39 metres long, 1.83 wide and 1.6 high.
Those measurements mean the Q3 is 24 cm shorter than the Audi Q5, 5.3 cm slimmer and five centimetres lower as well. While the Q3 design shows many similarities to the Q5, the company says it was inspired by the Cross Coupe Quattro presented at the Shanghai show back in 2007. In fact, it has a more hatchback-like, crossover look than the boxier, larger SUVs, but keeps a classic Audi grille and has an upwardly curved side panel.
The Audi Q3 comes with 2.0 TFSI and 2.0 TDI engine options. The petrol range comes in 170 hp and 211 hp for a sprint to 100 of 6.9 seconds and a top speed of 230 km/hr. The two diesel engines come in either 140 or 177 hp, keeping fuel consumption down to 5.2 litres per 100 km. The Q3 has Quattro all-wheel drive is available as an option, while the top models only have Audi’s DSG seven-speed gearbox.
The 2011 Shanghai Motor Show will see the Peugeot 508 debut on that market, and will also present a Chinese-developed Peugeot petrol-hybrid concept car. The Shanghai show is an opportunity for the European car brands to battle it out in what they see is an important world market, and Peugeot is announcing a product plan of a new model every year in China.
The Peugeot 508 has already made over 20 percent of its sales target in Europe and the company aims for sales of about 65,000 units a year in China. One out of every two Peugeot 508 models will be produced and sold in China. The Peugeot range on that market, which already includes the 3008, will also extend to the Peugeot RCZ with a launch on May 20. Overall, the French brand plans 200,000 units in the Asian market in 2011 alone.
The Peugeot hybrid-petrol concept is the most interesting. The prototype has been built by the China Tech Centre in Shanghai and will be a top-range crossover model with all-wheel drive. The first petrol-hybrid powertrain is a first for the PSA, although no production plans have been released for this model yet.
Not having seen the new Audi Q3 compact SUV yet, our next comment might seem a bit harsh: we had expected something more from a design point of view but it looks like we will definitely get a smaller Q5 based on the Volkswagen Tiguan. Not that Audi had lead us to believe anything different, but we had naively hoped for something a bit more individual all the same.
In any case the new Audi Q3 will soon be launched at the Shanghai Motor Show, and will provide the sports SUV segment to the new Audi A3 line-up. The teaser follows the first Q3 drawings released by Audi and we imagine there’ll be more to come in the next few days.
The new Mercedes A-Class, anticipated in these videos of the Mercedes Concept A, has nothing in common with the compact MPV it will replace. In fact, the only way to describe it is revolutionary - for the Mercedes brand - and we like what we see! While the current A-Class is all about adaptability and practicality, the new one will be dynamic, sporty and seductive (dare we say it).
The Concept A Class is only the first of a new generation of Mercedes cars that will be built on the MFA platform - Mercedes Front-drive Architecture. In the future we will also see a new B-Class, a small SUV and a sedan-coupé, which should be a smaller version of the CLS.
As we saw in the A-Class pics yesterday, the new concept model has very swoopy lines and inspiring the design for Gorden Wagener were the wind and waves. We’d say the star-studded grille also comes from the inspiration mentioned in the video, but we doubt it will make it to production. More after the jump.
Could Mercedes be onto a winner with its Concept A? The model previews some of what we will see on the 2012 Mercedes A-Class and so far, we like it. The fact that we never liked the original A-Class probably helps too, but Mercedes has radically redesigned the model from a compact, city MPV into a coupé-like hatch.
The Mercedes Concept A will be revealed at the Shanghai Motor Show and will appear soon after at the 2011 New York Auto Show, too. You can check out all the design details in the pics, and while many probably won’t make it to production, including the star-studded grille, it’s a faithful representation of this totally revamped model.
So far, the Mercedes A-Class concept gets a four-cylinder, two-litre turbo engine with dual clutch shift designed specifically for the front-wheel drive, transverse-engined model. The engine is a direct-injected unit and in the 2.0 version at this stage produces 210 hp. The new clutch is part of a renewed BlueEfficiency package which should keep fuel consumption and emissions down.