Eyes on the East: Chinese market cars at the Guangzhou motor show

Nick Francis

23 Nov 2021

Over on the other side of the world the Guangzhou motor show is in full swing. It’s one of the most important automotive events in China, so naturally some interesting Chinese market cars are being unveiled. Here we reveal some of the models that have caught our eye.

Tank 500

It’s easy to see how they came up with the name for this one, it is as sturdy and aggressive looking as a tank. We can see the Tank 500 going down well in the US, it gives the Escalade a good run for its money in terms of sheer road presence, and the interior looks as premium as anything Mercedes could come up with. 

This is the sort of car which would appeal to those who want something as large as a Range Rover but can’t afford the Rangey’s massive price tag. Or they want a more upmarket Toyota Land Cruiser. We like the cabin’s use of traditional materials, such as the wood dash, set against modern features like the 14.6-inch infotainment system. 

Xpeng G9

We’ve been keeping a close eye on Xpeng for some time now, not least because it has started selling cars in Europe, which means it could be coming to the UK at some point in the near future. Like most of the world, the UK is currently going mad for electric cars – from 2030 all new car sales will have to be zero-emission vehicles – and Xpeng is proving itself to be something of an expert in the EV field. 

Not only is the G9 electric, it’s also an SUV, something else UK consumers can’t get enough of right now. The G9 looks powerful, with a strong silhouette and bold front end with no grille, and those sleek LEDs. Most enticing is the claim it will be able to charge 124 miles of range in just five minutes with the right charger. 

Weltmeister M7

While it doesn’t look particularly inspiring, the Weltmeister M7 is bristling in sensors, cameras and radar systems. Why? Because the race is on to become the brand that masters autonomous driving. The M7 has no less than three lidar systems that create comprehensive and detailed maps of the environment around the car.

Backing up the lidar are 32 sensors and eight-megapixel cameras. The big question is, how effective are all these systems? It will be interesting to see the autonomous driving capabilities of the M7 put to the test. It’s no one-trick pony either: the M7 is fully electric and has a claimed range of 435 miles, and rear passengers are treated to their own individual infotainment screens. 

Audi Q5 e-tron

Audi’s e-tron range is proving popular in the UK, but this is an e-tron car we definitely won’t be getting. The reason we know that is the fact it’s near-identical to the Audi Q4 e-tron in terms of design and it’s only slightly longer, and Audi wouldn’t sell two cars in the same market that are so similar. And it won’t be long until Audi unveils the Q6 e-tron in the UK.

Despite the similarities there is one key difference. The Q4 e-tron is a great electric SUV with decent cabin space but what it doesn’t offer is the option of seven seats, which the Q5 e-tron does. In the UK not even the range-topping Audi e-tron SUV offers seven seats, which means currently Audi doesn’t sell an electric SUV that can match the Tesla Model X for practicality. 

Infiniti QX60

Infiniti is a curious brand. When it tried to sell cars in the UK it fell flat on its face, it just couldn’t come close to the sales numbers of similarly premium and similarly priced cars from BMW, Mercedes and Audi. It gave up in 2020 and seeing an Infiniti on UK roads today is about as common as hearing your lottery numbers announced. Yet in countries like China and the US Infiniti sells well. 

The new QX60 doesn’t move on Infiniti’s design language, it’s recognisably part of the QX family. That’s not to say it looks bad, we like the fact it has a grille that is big and bold but not as in-your-face as something BMW would design. Even cooler is the sleek light bar across the back. We’ve driven a few Infiniti cars in the past and we weren’t blown away, so it would be interesting to see if the driving dynamics have been improved for this model.

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Nick Francis

23 Nov 2021