Leaked shots have revealed a BMW that's reported to be called the Vision Future Luxury Concept.
The concept, pictures of which were published on automotive website Autonews, is thought to show what the next BMW 7-series might look like.
Visible is an enlarged version of BMW's classic kidney grille design, slender bucket seats and coach-style rear doors. The B-pillar is also at least partially absent, improving accessibility to the cabin.
The concept may also feature BMW's new laser headlights, which offer improved illumination.
It's thought that the concept will be revealed in full at the Beijing motor show tomorrow.
Read more Beijing motor show news.
Even though the local newspapers are full of stories about the Chinese economy slowing down, it?s by far and away the world?s biggest luxury car market.
It?s fair to say too that Jaguar has been slower than some to take full advantage. But it?s now coming out all guns blazing: selling a lot more cars, recruiting dealers and, crucially, it will be making XFs here by the end of the year ? a must to get round the punitive import taxes.
This evening in a venue in the Chaoyang district of Beijing I witnessed part of the sales assault. The room was packed with dealers, prospective customers and the Chinese media. What we all watched was a 90-minute show designed to showcase the Jaguar brand.
So we got a Jaguar history lesson from chief designer Ian Callum (heritage really sells here) and then each model was brought on in turn, accompanied by a well-known local act. A trendy boy band singer with the F-type, a ballerina with the XF and an opera singer for the XJ saloon. It was the sort of thing that would seem a mite toe-curling in the UK, but tastes are extremely different here and the crowd lapped it up.
They went wild when the real star of the show turned up though. Jaguar?s new brand ambassador for China, David Beckham, appeared at the end in an F-type coupé. Like everywhere else he?s a mega-star here too and the association with brand Beckham is designed to give F-type coupé sales a major fillip.
Celebrity endorsements and these sort of events can seem trite, but they really work in China. And everything is pointing towards the Chinese-built Jaguars coming onto the market, when it should go gangbusters.
Currently China is Jaguar's biggest market, but only just. I?d be willing to bet that by this time next year it will be way out in front.
Read more Beijing motor show news.
Audi has revealed its new Audi TT offroad concept car in China, prior to the Beijing motor show.
"The Audi TT offroad concept provides a glimpse of how we might imagine a new model in the future TT family," said Audi technical chief Ulrich Hackenberg. "It will be the peak sporting SUV in its class.
"We chose to present the Audi TT offroad concept in China, our second domestic market, because it represents the urban mobility of tomorrow: It is sustainable, dynamic, intelligent and connected".
A production version could reach the market in some two years' time but Hackenberg says that it will take six months for Audi to reach a decision on whether to give the model a green light.
The new concept is a four-door compact SUV that utilises a plug-in hybrid drive system. It's likely that the car, if it were to go into production, would directly rival the Range Rover Evoque, Porsche Macan and BMW X4.
At the front is a turbocharged 2.0-litre TFSI petrol engine that produces 288bhp and 280lb ft. It sends power to the front wheels via a six-speed dual-clutch transmission that features an integrated electric motor, rated at 40kw and 162lb ft.
Mounted on the back axle is a second electric motor that outputs 85kW and 199lb ft. An all-electric range of 31.1 miles is possible, with the total range for the new concept claimed to be 546.8 miles. Electric power comes from a 12kWh battery mounted in front of the rear axle.
It's claimed that the system, which produces 402bhp and 479.2lb ft, allows for an average economy of 148.7mpg. The concept is reputed to be capable of 0-62mph in 5.2sec and has a limited top speed of 155.3mph. CO2 emissions are rated at 45g/km.
Audi's concept additionally features wireless charging, allowing the car to simply be parked over a plate to receive a charge. The manufacturer states that it takes "about as long as charging via a cable" and that the technology is around 90 per cent efficient.
In pure EV mode only the rear electric motor functions, propelling the concept up to 80.8mph. In hybrid mode all three drives work together, while a 'Sport' mode is offered for maximum system output. With both front and rear drives operational, the concept effectively functions as an 'e-tron quattro'.
Underpinning the TT offroad concept is the Volkswagen Audi Group's versatile MQB platform, and the car has similar dimensions to the recently revealed third-gen Audi TT.
Externally the TT offroad concept features 21-inch alloy wheels, Audi's new 'Singleframe' grille and 'Matrix' LED headlights. Many cues are also taken from the previous Allroad Shooting Brake concept, seen in January at the Detroit motor show.
Inside the cabin shares the majority of its architecture with that of the new Audi TT. There is seating for four, heavily bolstered front seats with integrated head restraints and myriad practical touches including a multifunction steering wheel and numerous storage points.
One of the highlights is the addition of Audi's new virtual cockpit, a 12.3-inch TFT display that is customisable to display information desired by the driver, such as navigation instructions.
Rear passengers are catered for with Audi's new 'Smart Displays', which can stream live TV, access route planning and other media functions.
Additional new features include a junction merging assistant and a traffic light system that can display the remaining light time at upcoming lights.
Audi had previously previewed the new concept in a series of design sketches.
Read more Beijing motor show news.
Additional reporting by Hilton Holloway, 19 April 2014
Ford has officially launched its Lincoln premium brand in China.
Speaking to media ahead of the Beijing motor show, Ford boss Alan Mulally said he believed that Lincoln was "absolutely ready to take on the world?s largest car market". He also stated that Lincoln aimed to give better value and better service than other imported luxury brands.
The brand will start sales with two US-built models: the MKZ saloon, based on the next-generation Ford Mondeo, and the MKC SUV. The range will grow to include larger SUVs and the all-new Lincoln Navigator in 2016.
Mulally wouldn?t reveal sales targets for Lincoln in China, though Ford is expected to sell more than one million cars in the market in 2014.
Ford?s sales and marketing boss, Jim Farley, refused to give sales targets for Lincoln, but revealed that the cars would be sold in a different, "more personalised" way than other luxury brands.
Lincoln took the unprecedented step of building a prototype dealership in Shanghai three years ago in order to research and test customer preferences.
I listened with something between awe, astonishment and resignation to US billionaire Gene Haas as he gave details about his plans to enter Formula 1 with a new team in either 2015 or 2016.
Given that the existing F1 teams are already working on their 2015 cars and Haas does not even have a factory, let alone staff with any serious F1 experience, the whole thing sounded, quite frankly, ludicrous.
It might have made sense if Haas had decided to buy a team such as Marussia, which would give him a decent starting point, but the machine tool magnate made it quite clear that he is not going to go down that path?
?We?re not going to be a European?led team,? he said. ?We're going to be an American?led team and we'll do it the way we think is the most efficient. We're going to spend our money wisely. We're going to do it with an American flair for design and efficiencies, and that's how we're going to control our costs."
Haas admitted that it would be impossible to build a chassis themselves. ?It would be insurmountable to say that we're going to build a chassis by ourselves and engineer it, figure out how to do it and hire all the people in nine months,? he said. ?We?re going to have to compromise on what we do as far as the construction of the car, and we're going to have to try to acquire whatever we can.?
Haas said that the team would be based in Kannapolis, a small town famous for NASCAR, in North Carolina and would involve unnamed ?partners? who would supply much of the technology. A new building is going up now, but it will not be finished for a few months yet. He owns a wind tunnel of his own ? although this will need to be downsized because of the F1 rules.
While F1 teams can buy some of the technology required, they still need to manufacture their own chassis, or find someone to do it for them. Haas talked of doing a deal with Dallara in Italy, although that company?s recent record in Formula 1 has hardly been glowing.
The last foray was with the now-defunct Hispania Racing Team in 2010 and the relationship broke down after only a few months with the team?s engineers complaining about the quality of the car and the way it had been built. The team had its 2011 cars built in Germany.
Haas is right about the drivetrains in F1. Force India, for example, uses the entire engine and transmission built by Mercedes; Sauber and Marussia have similar deals with Ferrari, while Scuderia Toro Rosso and Caterham have contracts with Red Bull for their transmission systems, mated to Renault engines.
McLaren, Williams and Lotus use customer engines but design and manufacture their own transmissions. Some of the teams have arrangements to use facilities and equipment belonging to other teams.
?It's going to take us a while to learn,? Haas said. ?We'll lean heavily on a technical partner to help us. The main office will be here in Kannapolis, and maybe a smaller office somewhere in either Germany or Italy for assembly and disassembly of cars.
?It also would depend upon who our technology partner ultimately is. We're going to have our own way of doing things. Too many teams I think just go out there and throw money at it where we won't be doing that. We're not going to be throwing money at it.?
If it is that easy, I thought, why on earth have all these F1 teams been making such a pig?s ear of it?