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21 Apr 2017 | Text and Photos by Julian Kho, Direct from Shanghai, China

Walking through eight halls of countless booths at Shanghai's majestic motor show is a heady mix of thrill and fantasy.

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According to China's statistics, the passenger car market here is the biggest in the world. It became the largest in 2009, and has remained the largest ever since. In 2015, automakers sold 21.1 million passenger cars, up 7.3 percent from 2014. Following that, the first half of 2016 showed an upward growth again with 12 percent, thanks to the tax reduction for cars that have an engine capacity of up to 1.6-litres - a regulation that was introduced in October 2015.

This explains why carmakers from all over the world are taking part in the Shanghai Motor Show, one of the largest automotive exhibition in the world. Founded in 1985, the Shanghai Automobile Industry Exhibition (Auto Shanghai) takes place only once in every two years. This year, themed 'Committed to Better Life', the Shanghai show sports over 2,000 exhibitors from over 18 countries.

Here are some of the highlights from the show:

Audi e-tron Sportback Concept

Unlike the Sportback models from Audi, this concept rides higher and is an all-electric model. According to Audi, the e-tron Sportback concept is designed to spearhead a production model that's due some time in 2019.

Powered by three electric motors, the e-tron Sportback is good for 429bhp. If that's not enough, it has a boost mode that will up that figure to a 496bhp.
This allows the concept car to finish the 0-100km/h sprint in just 4.5 seconds.

In contrast, the smaller Audi RS3 Sportback hot hatch does the same sprint in 4.3 seconds.

Bentley EXP 12 Speed 6e concept

Making its debut at the Shanghai Motor Show, the EXP 12 Speed 6e concept is a pure electric vehicle from Bentley that allows the luxury carmaker to gauge public opinion and customer feedback to shape Bentley's future luxury strategy. Bentley believes that the concept will open discussions with luxury car buyers of the future - millennials and the rising affluent in developing economies - to better understand

The luxury brand's electric car strategy includes the introduction of PHEV models across the Bentley model range over the next few years, starting with the Bentayga in 2018.

BMW 5 Series Long Wheelbase

The wheelbase of the new 5 Series has been stretched by 133mm to create the China-only 5 Series Long Wheelbase (Li), taking the overall length to 5,069mm. This is just 29mm shorter than the length of the standard wheelbase BMW 7 Series.

The 5 Series Li features a 2.0-litre in-line four as well as a 3.0-litre in-line six powerplants underneathe its bonnet.

Also at the BMW stand was the BMW X2 concept car, which will go head on with the Audi Q2 when it goes into production.

BMW M4 CS

BMW M GmbH presented an exclusive limited-run special edition model in the shape of the new BMW M4 CS.

Filling up the gap between the M4 Coupe Competition Package and the track-focused BMW M4 GTS, the M4 CS sports a 3.0-litre that's capable of 460 horses, 10bhp more than the M4 Competition Package. This effectively allows the car to finish the century sprint in just 3.9 seconds flat before hitting a top speed of 280km/h.

Details of when the car is coming to Singapore is still unknown as of press time.

Infiniti QX50 concept

Making its Asean debut in Shanghai and showcasing Infiniti's vision for the next generation mid-size premium sport utility vehicle, the QX50 concept made its global premiere in Detroit earlier this year.

According to Infiniti, the four-cylinder powerplant in the concept demonstrates the brand's advanced Variable Compression Turbo engine, which offers drivers more power and better efficiency. Performance figures are targeted at 270bhp and 390Nm of torque.

It is currently unknown when the car will progress to its production stage as yet.

Jaguar I-PACE

Going against the Tesla Model X and possibly the aforementioned Audi e-tron Sportback, the Jaguar I-PACE will be ready to go on sale as early as the second half of 2018.

The I-PACE that you see here is more than just an electric version of the handsome Jaguar F-PACE as the car will sport four-wheel drive capability as well as high-performance strength, thanks to two electric motors that are integrated into each axle.

With each motor producing 197 horses, the I-PACE will have some 400bhp and an instantaneous 700Nm of torque on tap, allowing it to take just four seconds to complete the century sprint.
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