Though it seems an age away from the rainy and windswept UK, China is a fundamentally important market to tap into most car manufacturers, especially the high-end premium ones, sell more cars in the Orient than they do in any other region in the world.
As a result, all the brands that have shown up at Beijing this year have put a fair bit of effort into the plinths and the products that are on display. And below are the ones that we reckon are, for better or for worse, the talking points of this years show.
Lamborghini seems to be making a habit of unveiling outlandish show stoppers this year. At Geneva, we had the bonkers and very roofless Aventador J, and now weve got this a month later: the Lamborghini Urus concept car.
Undoubtedly the Italian firms worst kept secret there have been reports of a Lambo SUV for quite some time now the Urus does at least look promising. The styling seems to work quite well, given the cars sheer size, and is certainly a more coherent piece of design than a few other giant premium 4x4s that we can think of (*cough* that Bentley SUV *cough*).
Its also quite a hi-tech piece of kit. The companys being quite tight-lipped about the powertrain, but it have revealed the Urus is a hybrid of some sorts with up to 600bhp most likely the same twin-turbo V8/plug-in setup thats being teased by parent company Audi and theres also bound to be quite a bit of carbon-fibre in the cars construction for when it eventually goes on sale in the next few years.
Which, if youd love to have a Lamborghini off-roader, gives you a wee bit of time to save up for one, as the latest reports suggest that the production-ready Urus will cost about 150,000
Citroen Numero 9:
Citroens premium DS sub-brand has been a very successful venture for the French firm in its first year, more than 200,000 of em have been snapped up by their new owners across the globe. As a result, Citroen is planning on ways in which the subsidiary can expand and grow, with one such route being previewed by this: the gargantuan Numero 9 shooting brake concept.
Tipped to enter production virtually unchanged, albeit much smaller, as the rumoured DS9 flagship, the Numero 9 brings with it quite a few new design elements, which is a bit odd when you remember the DS sub-brand is only a year old. New noteworthy styling features include the 3D-effect front grille, the LED front light design and what Citroen calls a floating roof effect, all of which are to appear on future DS models.
Citroen hasnt confirmed whether or not the DS9 it previews will enter the UK market given that the similar-in-nature C6 had pitiful sales figures in Europe, its likely the finished car will be exclusive to the markets further east, where theres a big demand for cars such as this. However, it has been announced that styling cues from the Numero 9 will make their way onto future DS products that will definitely arrive in UK showrooms.
Range Rover Evoque by Victoria Beckham:
Its not uncommon for notable figures to become consultants on certain cars the late Ayrton Senna assisted in the chassis setup of the Honda NSX, for instance. However, quite a few die-hard Land Rover fans will be a bit frustrated with their beloved companys latest celebrity endorsed product; the Range Rover Evoque Special Edition by Victoria Beckham.
Under the skin, its mostly just the range-topping petrol version of the Evoque that you can find in your local Landie showroom. The areas where Posh Spice had the most influence over are the cosmetics inside and out theres a new design of alloy wheels, a hand-finished matt grey paint job and rose-gold trim trinkets, along with a bespoke luggage set and a log book signed by Mrs. B herself.
Sure, its more of a fashion symbol than a rough n ready off-roader and it certainly wont be everyones cup of tea! However, the fact its a limited edition of 200 thats been personally designed by a former Spice Girl-come-fashion guru will make it all the more appealing to those who think the standard Evoque just isnt stylish enough.
There is, though, one slight issue should there be enough of the limited run left by the time the order books open in the UK, its expected to cost about 80,000!
In Britain at least, MG isnt exactly the company youd refer as a prime example of successful business, especially as the current range consists of only the MG6. However, there are a few new models in the pipeline an MG5 hatchback should be with us fairly soon and we might end up seeing a crossover on our shores too.
The crossover in question has been previewed as the MG Icon concept, and it doesnt take too long to guess at what the chief designer was inspired by when he penned the lines of this wannabe Nissan Juke and MINI Countryman rival. The grille, the front and rear lamps and even the door handles have been inspired by the firms most successful and iconic model, the MGB GT sports car.
Well let you make your mind up to whether the Icon manages to pull off the whole retro homage approach or not, but theres no denying that such a car would be quite useful for MGs future, especially as the crossover market is quite a prosperous one at the moment. However, unless theres enough overseas interest to warrant exporting to a global market, the Icon may end up remaining an exclusive product for the Chinese market.
Long term readers of our blog may remember that we did a few pieces a while back on a new British SUV, the Eterniti Hemera. We were initially intrigued when we first caught whiff of it, but were soon disappointed when we found out it wasnt quite what we were expecting it to be.
Now, though, this new premium offering is finally ready to go on sale, but with a new name: Artemis.
Under the unique styling, its essentially a Porsche Cayenne underneath, but with everything turned up to eleven. Power from the twin-turbo V8 is rated at 591bhp, and Eterniti claims the top speed of the worlds first super-SUV is 180mph. The interior has also been lavishly uprated, almost beyond recognition from the donor car.
Its all mightily impressive, but there is one rather large catch (or two if youre not a huge fan of the styling): Eterniti is charging over 250,000 for it. Thats certainly a lot of wonga, especially for what is essentially a tuned Porsche.
Whether itll be a success or not, we dont really know according to Eterniti, theres big demand for cars like this, and it reckons at least 50 will find homes this year. All we can say is that its definitely a talking point of this years show, but not necessarily for all the right reasons
Theres been quite a big focus on large and expensive cars this year, so its refreshing to see something far smaller attracting the attention of the media. Dubbed the Concept Style Coupe, or CSC for short, this rather attractive show car is the first physical interpretation of what Benz has been toying with for a while now a baby CLS.
Though its longer and wider than the current C-Class, the CSC actually shares a fair bit under the skin with the latest A and B-Class variants. Whilst this does mean that therell be no rear-wheel drive variant, the chassis design does permit a 4WD system to be fitted, along with a range of turbocharged petrol and diesel engines.
But what most of the critics are harping on about is the price that M-B is expected to sell it at though obviously to be taken with a pinch of salt, Benz officials have claimed that the production car it previews will go on sale next year for a base price of just under 20,000.
If the German firm can keep the price that low, and not tone down the looks of the concept too much, then the finished product may just be enough to give even the all-conquering and mightily popular BMW 3 Series a run for its money!
And that rounds up our list of noteworthy cars at the 2012 Beijing Auto Show. Do you agree with our selection? Or would you rather have seen other motors on our list? If so, let us know in the comments section.