Smorgasbord of Powertrains at Beijing Auto Show

The 2024 Beijing auto show comes just a week after figures revealed electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids and range-extender vehicles now make up over 50% of all vehicle sales in the world’s largest auto market.

Greg Kable

April 29, 2024

8 Min Read
Mazda EZ-6 (2)
EZ-6 first in series of electrified vehicles from Mazda-Changan Automobile JV.

China’s largest auto show, Auto China, opens in Beijing, with many of the world’s largest automakers revealing some 117 new production models and/or concepts of future models. Electric vehicles immediately steal the spotlight, but plug-in hybrids and range-extender vehicles with internal-combustion engines are also out in force, underlining the diversity of the Chinese auto market.

The 2024 edition of the Beijing auto show runs until May 5 and comes just a week after figures revealed electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids and range-extender vehicles now make up over 50% of all vehicle sales in the world’s largest auto market.

Here are some of the more noteworthy reveals.

BMW Neue Klasse X

BMW previews the distinctive exterior design and modern interior appointments it plans to adopt on future electric-powered SUV models with the unveiling of the Vision Neue Klasse X. It is the second concept car to be created under the Neue Klasse name, following the Vision Neue Klasse sedan displayed at the Munich auto show in September 2023. BMW has not revealed much about the drivetrain of the Vision Neue Klasse X, repeating only what it said about the Vision Neue Klasse sedan: its sixth-generation electric-drive system will offer a 30% improvement in range.

Smart #5

Smart reveals the Concept #5. The SUV previews the third electric-powered Smart production model to be jointly developed by Mercedes-Benz and Chinese automaker Geely, following the smaller #1 and #3. As well as being Smart’s largest, it is also its most advanced. It uses an 800V electric-drive system supporting both single-motor rear-wheel drive and dual-motor four-wheel drive. In production, the #5 will have a battery with an energy capacity of over 100kWh – sufficient, says Smart, for a range of over 342 miles (551 km) on the WLTP test cycle. The rugged styling will be toned down somewhat before it reaches showrooms.

Smart 5 sketches.jpg

Mazda EZ-6

Changan Mazda introduces the Mazda EZ-6, the first in a series of electrified vehicles

developed and produced by a joint venture between Mazda and Chinese government-owned Changan Automobile. The coupe will launch in China by the end of 2024. The battery-electric model has an estimated range of about 373 miles (600 km), while the plug-in hybrid model is expected to achieve over 620 miles (1,000 km) of range on a single tank of fuel. Intelligent parking technology allows the EZ-6 to be controlled by voice, even when the driver is outside the vehicle, Mazda says. Voice control also is part of smart cabin technology that includes touch and gesture control.


Denza Z9 GT

Denza, an electric vehicle brand operated in a joint venture between BYD and Mercedes-Benz since 2010, unveils its Z9 GT. The Shenzhen-based company’s new flagship model is heavily influenced by the Porsche Taycan Sport Turismo, with which it shares its station-wagon silhouette and 4-door layout. Power comes from an advanced electric-drive system featuring three motors – one up front and two at the rear. Together, they develop up to 952 hp – sufficient, says Denza, to provide the 6,338-lb. (3,426-kg) 4-seater with a top speed limited to 149 mph (240 km/h). 

Mini Aceman

The Aceman completes the renewal of the Mini range, slotting into the BMW brand’s lineup between the Cooper and Countryman. The indirect replacement for the Clubman will be sold exclusively with an electric drivetrain. It is produced in a partnership with Chinese automaker Great Wall Motor alongside the electric version of the Cooper in China – a move that initially rules out North American sales. Two single-motor front-wheel-drive Aceman models are unveiled in Beijing: the Aceman E with 181 hp and the Aceman SE with 215 hp.

Mini Aceman_25.jpg

Volkswagen ID. Code

Volkswagen reveals a radical shift in design for its future electric models with the unveiling of the ID Code concept. Sporting a sleek design language conceived exclusively for Chinese-market models, the SUV-coupe concept previews a new range of electric models being developed in partnership with VW’s various joint venture partners in China as part of a newly announced ID.UX sub-brand. The ideas, technology and processes behind the new concept have been developed to bring future VW models into closer competition with those from both established Chinese automakers and newer EV start-ups such as Nio, Xpeng, Aito and Li Auto. 


MG celebrates its 100th anniversary with the unveiling of the electric-powered EXE181. The striking 1-seat concept harkens back to the iconic MG land speed record breakers built between the 1930s and 1960s with an ultra-low drag coefficient of 0.18. MG, which has been owned by Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. since 2007, is yet to quote the power of the EXE181’s electric drivetrain, though it says it is theoretically capable of accelerating from 0-62 mph (100 km/h) in just 1.9 seconds.

MG EXE181.jpg

Fangchengbao Bao 8, Super 3 and Super 9

New BYD brand Fangchengbao previews its Bao 8 off-roader alongside the Super 3, a smaller off-road concept going into production later this year as the Bao 3. Its biggest surprise, however, is the revealing of the Super 9, a low-slung roadster concept styled by BYD’s head of design, Wolfgang Egger. The 2-seat open-top concept, featuring scissor-style doors, is claimed to provide clues to an upcoming Fangchengbao flagship model with sleek lines, carbon-fiber-intensive construction and an electric drivetrain providing it with up to 1,287 hp along with all-wheel drive and a claimed 0-62 mph time of just 2.4 seconds.   

Mercedes-Benz G580

Two-and-a-half years after it was revealed as the EQG concept at the 2021 Munich auto show, Mercedes-Benz pulls the covers off the definitive production version of the electric G-Class: the G580, as the upmarket model is badged. The advanced 4-wheel drive, electric-powered off-roader retains a ladder-frame chassis but receives four electric motors, each with 145 hp for a maximum output of 580 hp and a combined 859 lb.-ft. (1,165 Nm) of torque. It is sufficient to provide the 6,636-lb. (4,175-kg) G580 with a 0-62 mph time of 4.8 seconds and a top speed limited to 112 mph (180 km/h). A 116-kW lithium-ion battery is claimed to provide the electric G-Class with a range of 270-294 miles (435-473 km) on the WLTP test cycle.

Mercedes-Benz G580 25.jpg


Mercedes-AMG GT63 E Performance

Mercedes-AMG presents its GT63 S E Performance, a gasoline-electric-powered coupe that is not only the most powerful GT model to date but also is the quickest-accelerating. Power comes from a twin-turbocharged 4.0L V-8 developing 603 hp and 627 lb.-ft. (850 Nm) of torque as well as an electric motor mounted within the rear axle adding 201 hp and 236 lb.-ft. (320 Nm), providing the GT63 S E Performance Coupe with an overall system output of 805 hp and up to 1,047 lb.-ft. (1,420 Nm) of torque. Official performance figures put the 0-62 mph time at just 2.8 seconds in Race mode. Top speed for the most powerful 2-door GT model in the AMG lineup is put at 199 mph (320 km/h).

Arcfox S7

Arcfox, a seven-year-old EV brand owned and operated by Beijing Automotive Industry Corp., unveils its latest model, the S7. The sedan is claimed to be the world’s most aerodynamic production model, with a drag coefficient of 0.1925. Power for the all-wheel-drive S7 comes from a dual-motor electric drivetrain developing 483 hp and 509 lb.-ft. (690 Nm) of torque. Arcfox claims 0-62 mph in 3.7 seconds as well as a claimed range on the CLTC test cycle of 419 miles (674 km).

Audi Q6L e-tron

The Q6L e-tron is a Chinese-market version of Audi’s newly unveiled Q6 e-tron featuring an extended wheelbase – as is typical of many European-derived models produced and sold in China. The German automaker’s electric SUV’s wheelbase stretches 4.1 ins. (10.4 cm) for added rear-seat legroom. 

Exeed E08

Chery brand Exeed reveals the E08, a new entry into China’s burgeoning MPV ranks. Styled jointly by Chery’s design studios in Germany and China, the big multi-seater is the first production model to feature Exeed’s new “Wind Aesthetics” design lineage. It is planned to be sold with both electric and range-extender drivetrains.

iCar V23 and X25

Chery brand iCar introduces its second production model, the V23. It’s a compact, 166.1-in.-long (4,219 mm) electric-powered off-roader with rugged styling aimed at younger buyers. Also shown is the X25, a more futuristic off-road MPV planned to go into production later this year.

Mengshi M-Hunter

Dongfeng Motor owned-and-operated off-road vehicle brand Mengshi reveals its 2-seat M-Hunter. The advanced electric-powered buggy is planned for limited-volume production at a price beyond 1 million Chinese Yuan, the equivalent of $138,000.

Zeekr Mix

Geely-owned EV brand Zeekr unveils the Mix, an MPV model featuring innovative curbside front-and-rear sliding doors, as well as the option of three-across seating in all three rows. As with Smart’s new #5, it’s based on Geely’s Scalable Experience Architecture platform and receives an 800V electric drivetrain.

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