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2013 Shanghai motor show preview

  • World premiere for Mercedes GLA and BMW X4
  • SUV debuts from BMW, Citroen, Mercedes, MG and VW
  • Hot Audi S3 Saloon revealed
Words ByEd Callow

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The Mercedes GLA and BMW Concept X4 are expected to be the highlights of the 2013 Shanghai motor show, which opens this weekend. They will officially be shown as concept cars, but both preview confirmed production cars that are due in 2014.

Concept cars from Citroen, Ford, Honda, MG, Mitsubishi, Nissan and Volkswagen will also make an appearance, underlining the importance of the Chinese market. Other cars making their global debuts include the Audi A3 and S3 Saloons, Maserati Ghibli and the face-lifted Skoda Superb.

Mercedes will reveal the GLA crossover as a concept car. It is based on the A-Class and will compete with the BMW X1 and Audi Q3. Prices are yet to be set, but the GLA is likely to cost at least 5000 more than the equivalent A-Class, with a starting price of around 25,000. The final production-ready car will be unveiled at the Frankfurt motor show in September.

The BMW Concept X4 will be a smaller version of the company's X6. Engines are expected to be brought across from the X3 range and it will rival the likes of the Audi Q5 and the forthcoming Porsche Macan.

The new Maserati Ghibli is one of five new cars that the company hopes will help increase its sales tenfold to 50,000 vehicles by 2015. It will be the first Maserati to be powered by a diesel engine.

Audi's S3 Saloon will use the same 296bhp turbocharged 2.0-litre engine as the S3 hatchback that we drove last week and is expected to go on sale in the UK in 2014. It already has competition in the Mercedes CLA 45 AMG, which was unveiled at the New York motor show last month. The production version of the A3 Saloon will also make its debut at the Shanghai show. It will be available from launch with one diesel engine and two petrols, with fuel economy of up to 60.1mpg.

The face-lifted Skoda Superb has styling revisions to the front and rear as well as updates to equipment and trim. All diesel models will have a stop-start system and battery recuperation as standard, meaning that the most economical 1.6-litre Greenline improves to average economy of 67.3mpg with CO2 emissions of 109g/km.

Another revised model on show will be the Porsche Panamera, which has cosmetic changes to the front and rear, more fuel-efficient drivetrains across the range and a new long-wheelbase variant.

The current Panamera Hybrid is replaced by a new plug-in hybrid badged as the S E-Hybrid. Powered by a 94bhp electric motor and a new 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine, the S E-Hybrid does average economy of 91mpg with CO2 emissions of 71g/km. The same engine is twin-turbocharged in the S and 4S, replacing the naturally aspirated V8 with improvements in both power and fuel economy. New 'Executive' models will be added to the range in both 4S and Turbo guises, gaining 150mm in the wheelbase, although these won't be coming to the UK.

Honda - and sister brand Acura - have teased profile images of new MPV and crossover concepts that will have debuts in Shanghai. We understand that neither of the models are currently destined for non-Chinese markets.

The CS concept was designed by a UK-based team lead by global design director Anthony Williams-Kenny. The five-door CS concept car is said to preview a production version of an MG SUV, which is expected to go on sale in 2014.

VW has released design sketches of a new five-seat SUV concept that will be unveiled at the show - the latest in a long line of show cars going back to the Cross Coupe first seen in 2011. The sketches show an exterior with sportier styling than any current VW SUVs, on a chassis that we're told is slightly larger than the Touareg.

The Mitsubishi Concept G4 saloon previews a car claiming to have best-in-class fuel efficiency, which the company plans to sell globally. The G4 features a short nose and sharp waistline, and points towards Mitsubishi's future design language.

Nissan will unveil the Friend-ME concept car, featuring technology that will allow occupants to 'share information equally' using a special centre console. Nissan has said that the concept is targeted at the youngest generation of car buyers in China.

The Suzuki Authentics concept car will preview future styling across the brand's range and is shown in Shanghai as a four-door small family saloon with a low roofline.

Ford will showcase a new turbocharged 1.5-litre Ecoboost petrol engine, which will appear in the next-generation Mondeo in 2014. The debut in Shanghai is appropriate becuase the main reason for the downsized engine is to squeeze under a tax threshold in the Chinese market.

Ford will also unveil a new 'global concept car'. There are no details yet on what type of vehicle will be shown, but a Shanghai launch suggests it is predominantly targeted at the Asian market.

Chinese car maker Qoros makes its domestic debut in Shanghai, after revealing the 3 Saloon at the Geneva motor show earlier this year. Models go on sale in September, although the UK will have to wait considerably longer because right-hand-drive versions are not expected to be signed off for another two years.

General Motors will reveal an all-new concept car under its Buick brand. There are no details on specification yet, but the car was developed in China and is likely to indicate a future model exclusive to that market.

A new electric car manufactured by Detroit Electric will also be on show. The carbonfibre bodied SP:01 is based on a Lotus Elise chassis, but promises a top speed higher than the Tesla Roadster, which shares the same 'electric Elise' format. Just 999 will be built and it is expected to go on sale in August.

The Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse has secured its position as the world's fastest open-top car with a top speed of 254mph amd the World Record Car (WRC) Edition marking the achievement will be revealed in Shanghai. It has a planned production run of eight cars.

The covers will also come off the Vulcano, a V12 supercar from new manufacturer Icona. It features a V12 engine developing 900bhp and has been designed in China, but would be built in Italy.

The Shanghai motor show opens to the press on Saturday - whatcar.com will have the latest news as launches take place.