From a British-made supercar whose lines were inspired by sharks to a boundlessly popular SUV, the biennial Shanghai motor show opens to the public next week in a nation where foreign and domestic automakers are fighting for a chunk of the world's largest auto market.
• MCLAREN 720
The smooth lines of this Woking, England-based company's newest supercar were inspired by great white sharks. But the most distinctive feature in its design is surely the double-hinged doors, which sweep forward and up when opening. It's not the arresting design, however, that McLaren is proudest of: sales chief Jolyon Nash says the company is all about performance.
• Hybrid Kinetic Group H600
This Hong Kong-listed carmaker has joined forces with Italian design house Pininfarina—creator of numerous Ferraris including the 458 Spider roadster—to present three environmentally-friendly concept cars at the Shanghai show, including the all-wheel-drive H600 sedan. Featuring a 1,000-kilometer range, expect a market-ready version as soon as 2019.
• NIO EP9
Billed as the world's fastest electric car, the NIO EP9 clocked a lap time of 2 minutes 40.33 seconds at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, reaching a top speed of 160 mph without a driver. It is designed to go 265 miles on a single charge, which takes 45 minutes. Formerly known as NextEV, the Chinese company lured the woman once called the queen of the electric car biz by Fortune magazine, Padmasree Warrior, away from Cisco to head its U.S. arm.
• Lynk & Co. 01
Another first offering from a Chinese premium offshoot, this Geely-owned, Volvo-engineered concept SUV is being billed as the most connected car ever. That means always-on Internet and instant ride-sharing with the push of one button. Geely plans to start sales from the end of this year.
• Citroen C5 Aircross
In a first from the French carmaker, this production version of a concept showcased in Shanghai two years ago features plug-in hybrid technology. Citroen is counting on the Chinese love affair with SUVs to turn around a two-year slump in sales here, and will be built at PSA's fourth plant in Chengdu.
• Ford F-150 Raptor
A change in Chinese regulation has opened the door to pickups, and Ford is hoping to duplicate the success it's had with another American classic, the Mustang. The company says that much of the allure is that these vehicles are 100% made in America, and high-end specs cater to a very specialized market. Asia-Pacific head Dave Schoch is confident that if Ford can just get Chinese drivers behind the wheel, the trucks will sell themselves.
• Hyundai ix35
Hyundai also wants to increase its share of China's ever-growing SUV pie, unveiling a compact, family-focused model with a more affordable price specifically for the Chinese market. It'll be on dealer lots at the end of this year.
• BYD Dynasty
After years of using only Chinese talent, BYD has roped in former Audi designer Wolfgang Egger to spearhead a revamp as China's largest electric-vehicle maker looks to shed its reputation for value-for-money cars. In launching the car, he said the concept SUV's dragon-inspired exterior design is a tribute to China's rich cultural heritage.
• Bentley EXP 12 Speed 6e Concept
The latest all-electric drop-top concept from Britain's flying B comes with a 12-speed transmission. Bentley envisions its production cars will be able to travel from London to Paris on a single charge.
• Bentley EXP 12 Speed 6e Concept
This model comes to Shanghai after debuting in Geneva, but when it actually goes into production, CEO Wolfgang Durheimer hints China is the more likely initial destination.
• Nissan Navara
Nissan is showing that pickups don't need to be American. The mid-sized Navara has low-friction components that make the engine more efficient, along with improved aerodynamics, according to the company. Expect more to come, with Carlos Ghosn banking on an alliance with Mitsubishi Motors to add new pickup models.
• WEY VV5 SUV
This is Great Wall's premium SUV brand, and sales of its first offering will coincide with the Shanghai show. Great Wall has been the top SUV seller in China for 14 years, but this will be the first from company chairman Wei Jianjun to carry features like a warning system for lane changing and cruise control that maintains a safe distance from the car ahead, usually found in pricier foreign models.
• Lexus NX 300
Toyota's premium brand is using Shanghai as the venue to unveil a new, sleeker look for its NX compact crossover. The changes are more than skin deep: Lexus says enhancements to the suspension have resulted in sharper handling and a smoother ride. The marque is reinventing itself under new branding chief Tokuo Fukuichi, and aims to sell a lifestyle instead of just a vehicle.
• VLF Automotive F1 Roadster
The boutique U.S. supercar builder part-founded by former GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz is showing off a roadster based on the Dodge Viper. That’s where it gets its naturally aspirated 8.4-liter V10 engine. And to make the car even quicker, its weight has been brought down with an all-carbon-fiber body.