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Auto Shanghai 2015: Which Cars and Concepts Impressed Us on the Chinese Stage
Auto Shanghai wrapped-up the first two open days designated for the press and now awaits for the Chinese public to flock in and see what the automotive world has in store for them this year.

Auto Shanghai 2015: Which Cars and Concepts Impressed Us on the Chinese Stage

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We were there, covering live every inch of the car stage in Shanghai, and after the initial buzz eventually faded, we thought a sum-up of the motor show's most important, mouth-watering models and concepts would come in handy.

Peugeot 308 R HYbrid

The Frenchman came in Shanghai with one goal and one goal only: to prove Peugeot has the know-how to come up with a hot hatch capable of leaving competitors in the dust. For such a miracle to happen, even in Theory Land, Peugeot added electricity to the mix and came up with a plug-in hybrid powertrain good for 500 HP. All was wrapped-up in GTI-like cover, et voilà, there's your French hot hatch revolution.

Startech Range Rover Pickup

Rumors about Mercedes-Benz building a pickup didn't take Startech by surprise. They just got to it and came up with a red-hot Range Rover Pickup spiced-up with a lot of carbon fiber. Unlike chili peppers, it actually attracted plenty of attention. The reason: at the press of a button, the tailgate drops to create another 25 inches (64 cm) of space. It is also 0.7 seconds faster than the G63 6X6 AMG, blasting from a standstill to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 5.3 seconds.

Citroen Aircross Concept

Funky is the name of the game for Citroen in recent times. But we don't mind that at all. In fact, our only wish is they keep half as many hip styling cues on production models as we get to see on their prototypes. This time, it's the Aircross Concept: a study based on the company's C4 Cactus crazy-cute crossover, packing everything we like to see in a car. You know, 22-inch wheels, beefy proportions and a desire to impress. The concept also sports a hybrid powertrain, as many of the models showcased in Shanghai do.

Chevrolet FNR

Before talking about Chevrolet's FNR concept, keep in mind that this is not a Zerg invasion, and this is not StarCraft, it's real life. However, we're looking at Chevrolet's wildest, crazy, sci-fi, you-name-it concept created in the last decade. Despite not knowing what to start with, I'll give it a shot. The FNR prototype has crystal laser headlights and taillights, dragonfly dual swing doors and magnetic hubless wheel electric motors. Jules Verne would probably faint right now, but I guess that's a good thing.

Honda Concept D

Seeing the Dongfeng-Honda collaboration turning up so good on the Concept D, the idea of Chinese customers getting cars tailored to their needs switches on the 'hater' button in each of us. However, that's only due to the concept's boldness and eccentricity, a very bulky and manly piece of design. A humble piece of advice, Honda: if Concept D will spawn a production model, make sure you keep that front end unchanged - buyers will thank you.

Changan Raeton

Another display of how to tame electricity came from Changan, which presented one of the best Chinese vehicles that greeted us at Auto Shanghai 2015. The Raeton CC Concept could be, to some extent, China's own Tesla Model S. I mean, designers invested all the creativity they could so here we are, watching a concept with a roadster-ish long hood and Rolly-Royce resembling C-pillars. However, instead of a mighty V12 roaring under the hood, the prototype only displayed a modest electric setup delivering 122 kW (167 HP) and 247 lb-ft (335 Nm) of torque.

Mercedes GLE Coupe

BMW has the new X4; quick, come up with something to rival that. Sorry Mercedes, but the GLE Coupe prototype you displayed in Shanghai says exactly that. However, you managed to catch our eye with a sexy concept, we'll give you that. We loved how the rear end flowed down, not to mention the quad exhaust pipe system reminding us of the Lexus IS-F. It's interesting to see how much of that will go into production, so show us your best shot, Mercedes!

Audi Prologue

Ingolstadt does a lot of things right so they can't go wrong with combining stunning looks and sheer power. That's the kind of vibe the Prologue concept sent us in Shanghai. C-shaped LED lights inserted in the front air intakes, Matrix LED headlights, muscular body panels and a sloping rear end are among Prologue's strongest arguments. No, wait! The hybrid powertrain does that, thanks to a thumping 740 HP and 900 Nm (664 lb-ft) written down in the menu.

McLaren 540C

Meet McLaren's cheapest model ever created, the 'affordable' 540C. Don't get fooled by such strange words to McLaren's ambitions, as the supercar can still cause havoc in your bank accounts. The same 3.8-liter V8 twin-turbo plant McLaren uses for the 570S and 650S models was down tuned to make 540 HP and 540 Nm (398 lb-ft) of torque. McLaren wanted to make a better daily driver out of this one, but you can't buy it yet as it's not on sale for the time being.

Citroen DS5

Citroen's second car presented at Auto Shanghai is a down to Earth model compared to the Aircross prototype, but that's understandable since we're talking a production model here: the DS5. We saw it in Geneva, but it looked just as good in Shanghai. As you know, the DS5 is an attempt to boost the DS brand's identity, but the car's appearance in China suggests that Citroen has global plans for the future.

VW C Coupe GTE

Those remembering the Phaeton as a flop for VW are given the opportunity to change that impression with the Volkswagen C Coupe GTE. However, there's a twist. The car will slot under the Passat and the Phaeton, but VW didn't totally abandon the intention of having another go and build a high-end, luxury sedan. The car has been under development in China since 2013 and should reach production next year, according to VW officials.


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