Mercedes, BMW & Co.
The world’s largest auto show has been postponed. But even if the motor show in Beijing could not take place, the industry is celebrating its spring premieres – and unveiling the new products digitally.
While Germany is getting used to new freedoms again, the motor show in Beijing was initially postponed due to the pandemic. But even if there is no stage at the world’s largest motor show, the manufacturers don’t want to forgo presenting their innovations.
“The dates are far too interlocked for us to simply leave such cars in China for a few weeks longer,” says Audi spokesman Josef Schloßmacher.
Audi, BMW and Mercedes had new luxury models planned for Beijing, which were to set new standards in form and format or in terms of technology. Now the three German premium manufacturers are presenting what will determine their program in 2022 at hybrid premieres.
BMW introduces the next generation of the 7 Series
BMW presents the next generation of the 7 Series – and wants to sort the upper class again. Instead of just squinting at the newcomers from Tesla or Lucid or comparing themselves with established competitors such as the Audi A8 or the Mercedes S-Class, the Bavarians want to score points in both worlds: They are starting with classic combustion engines and a purely electric variant at the same time.
Since, according to the developers, a good two-thirds of the sedans are to be sold in Asia, they have stretched the long 7 Series by another 13 centimeters to almost 5.40 meters. The short version, previously ignored in Asia, was immediately canceled worldwide.
They also follow Asian tastes when it comes to design: They stage the grown kidney with LED strips and have installed radically new headlights. Inside there are many screens.
According to BMW, the seven will go on sale at the end of the year. The prices should be around 100,000 euros for the burners. The i7 should start at around 140,000 euros. The all-electric luxury sedan has a range of more than 600 kilometers.
Mercedes relies on EQS SUV
Mercedes is also targeting the electric elite – especially in the USA and Asia: the Swabians have jacked up the EQS SUV by around 20 centimetres. This creates the option of installing a third row of seats in the trunk, which can hold up to 2,100 liters.
Mercedes has programmed an off-road mode for leisure trips on easy terrain. There is also up to 400 kW/544 hp and a battery with almost 110 kWh. It is enough for up to 660 kilometers. Mercedes has not yet named a price. However, the electric SUV is unlikely to be available for less than 100,000 euros.
Since 5.13 meters does not correspond to the German standard, there will soon be a little brother – the EQE will also get an SUV offshoot at the end of the year. Hopefully it will be able to celebrate its premiere at a real trade fair, a Mercedes spokesman promises.
Audi is flirting with a MPV
Audi also has Asia in focus: In order to reach luxury customers in the metropolises of China, Japan or Korea, the Bavarians are flirting with a people carrier for the first time. “Where people live tightly packed, space is the real luxury and vans are at least as popular as limousines,” says interior designer Norbert Weber.
It draws attention to the Urban Sphere Concept. With a length of 5.51 meters, a wheelbase of 3.40 meters and a height of almost 1.80 meters, the study offers more space than any Audi to date. Behind the portal doors, which are hinged in opposite directions, it is enough for two lounge chairs in the second row and a format-filling screen to fold out.
The technology, on the other hand, hardly takes up any space: the drive with two motors with a combined output of 295 kW/401 hp is electric. Like the 120 kWh battery, it disappears into the new PPE platform that serves as the basis for the study. The range is over 700 kilometers.
If desired, the steering wheel or pedals can hum from the front console – they should only be used occasionally. Because by the time the car goes into series production in four or five years, it should be able to drive largely autonomously.
VW shows the first sketches of the ID Aero Concept
VW is also planning a study. The manufacturer has postponed the premiere for the time being – also because he does not want to dupe his largest customer group, according to Wolfsburg.
The new China boss Ralf Brandstätter recently showed a few sketches of the ID Aero Concept. Thanks to its aerodynamic design, it promises a range of over 700 kilometers.
On the other hand, little has been heard from the Chinese manufacturers. They probably continue to speculate on their big home game and save the premieres for so long.
More attention for motor show in New York
While Beijing plays a supporting role, at least for this year, the focus is on the motor show in New York, which is otherwise only of regional importance.
Genesis just unveiled the study of an electric luxury coupe there. BMW and Alpina also showed innovations with a facelift for the X7 and Lamborghini with the Tecnica as a variant for the Huracan.
Due to the postponement in Beijing, the experts from “World Car of the Year” also received more attention. Around 100 journalists from over 20 countries traditionally choose the world car of the year in New York City.
Cars such as the Hyundai Ioniq 5 as overall winner World Green and World Design Car, the Toyota Auris Cross as World City Car, the Audi e-tron GT as Best New Sports Car and the Mercedes EQS as World Luxury Car of the Year received undivided attention this time.