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Auto Shanghai 2023: A Glimpse Into the Future of Mobility

The future is now

Ntsako Mthethwa
April 24, 2023
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Auto Shanghai 2023: A Glimpse Into the Future of Mobility

Regarded as one of the most important automobile shows globally, the Auto Shanghai motor show has returned to the motoring calendar after a short hiatus due to global travel restrictions. 

The show ran from 18 to 27 April in Shanghai, and it's been a perfect event for manufacturers to showcase products that aren't just pretty to look at but offer excellent levels of technology. 

Since China is the world's largest market for electric vehicles, the 2023 Auto Shanghai had a strong showing of current and future EV cars. At the show, many automakers, including BMW, Toyota and Mercedes, unveiled new electric or concept cars. And while electric vehicles, autonomous driving and smart connected cars were significant themes at the 2023 show, some more conventional cars also had a prominent presence.

We've chosen to showcase a few highlights that caught our attention:

New Porsche Cayenne 

Revealed at the show, the folks at Porsche stunned the media when they took the wraps off their refreshed Cayenne in coupe and SUV guises that features a subtly upgraded design, digitised display control concept, new chassis as well as high-end technology. 

Besides the handsome looks, the new Cayenne packs up to three engine options. Kickstarting the range is an optimised 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 engine that pumps out 260 kW of power and 500 Nm of torque – 10 kW and 50 Nm more than its forebear. The same setup is found underneath the E-Hybrid model in combination with a new electric motor that's good for a total system output of 346 kW, thanks to a bigger 25.9 kWh battery pack that allows the SUV to travel up to 90 km on battery power alone. 

A 4.0-litre V8 bi-turbo unit with 349 kW and 600 Nm of torque replaces the V6 powering the outgoing model. This particular engine helps accelerate the large SUV from 0-100 km/h in 4.7 seconds before maxing out at 273 km/h. 

Headlining the range is the Turbo GT model, which is only available as a coupe and packs a 4.0-litre V8 bi-turbo engine with 485 kW – 14 kW more than the outgoing model. The behemoth hurtles from a standstill to 100 km/h in 3.3 seconds en route to a top speed of 305 km/h. 

The new Cayenne coupe and SUV models are expected to launch in Mzansi in the coming months. 

BMW i7 M70 

While we may not see a full-blown M car bearing the 7 Series nameplate locally, BMW took the stand at the Shanghai Auto Show to showcase its latest addition to the fully-electric range in the form of the i7 M70 saloon.

BMW says it can dash silently from a standstill to 100 km/h in 3.7 seconds, with its top speed kicking in at 250 km/h. That aside, the i7 M50 is powered by dual-electric motors that churn a total power output of 484 kW and 1,015 Nm of torque in Sport mode or 1,100 Nm with the M Launch Control. 

Thanks to a 101.7 kWh battery pack, the i7 can cover up to 560 km on a single charge. The battery can be recharged at up to 22 kW as standard, while DC power can be taken on board at a rate of up to 195 kW. 

Lotus Eletre

The Lotus Eletre is a new all-electric SUV from the British marque shown at the 2023 Auto Shanghai show. It is the first SUV from Lotus, designed to offer the same level of performance and handling that Lotus is known for, while also providing the space and comfort that SUV buyers demand.

Available in three derivatives – the standard Eletre, Eletre S and Eletre R –it's powered by a pair of electric motors that produce a combined output of 450 kW for the Eletre and Eletre S versions and an electric-grid-restarting 675 kW for R. It can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.5 seconds for the standard and S and while the R completes the sprint in 2.95 secs.  

Furthermore, the Lotus SUV has a claimed driving range of 600 kilometres for the lower and middle-spec models, while driving range is a compromise of sorts for the R, rated to go the distance at 490 km. All models ship with a 112 kWh battery capacity. 

It's built on a new platform that Lotus has developed specifically for electric vehicles. The platform is designed to be lightweight and stiff, which helps to give the Eletre its excellent handling capabilities – something Lotus is best known for. 

Mini Aceman 

On the smaller side, the Mini Aceman was revealed for the public to see at the Shanghai Auto Show in full-concept garb. When it launches sometime in 2025, it will slot between the hatchback and Countryman models.

Details surrounding the model are still scarce at this stage, but BMW says it will look similar to the concept model on display at the show. In that case, it gets our approval. 

BMW iX5 Hydrogen 

Though fuel cell technology may be expensive and supported by inadequate infrastructure, it makes a viable alternative to EVs. BMW is the latest manufacturer that seeks to invest in such technology with its latest reveal at the show, the iX5 Hydrogen. 

Dressed in a white shade further complemented by blue inserts, the iX5 Hydrogen model can travel up to 504 km before the tanks run out of natural gas. With 294 kW available on tap, what's more interesting is that the SUV can be re-gassed in less than four minutes, unlike EVs that take more time to recharge their batteries. 

Toyota bZ3

Initially unveiled to the world as the BZ SDN concept car in 2021, Toyota revealed its new bZ3 vehicle as the second model to join the brand's ''Beyond Zero" series of eco-friendly cars after the bZ4X SUV. 

Powering the model is a lithium-ion battery pack that gives the car over 600 km of pure electric driving range. Specifics surrounding the model remain scarce, but we know so far that it measures 4,725 mm in length, 1,833 mm in width and sits 1,475 mm high, making it a margin bigger than the current-gen Corolla sedan. 

Mercedes-Maybach EQS SUV

The EQS SUV is the latest model under the Mercedes-Benz nameplate to get the magic touch from the folks at Maybach. With the touch, the Mercedes-Maybach EQS gets a dual-tone paint job and a range of upmarket upgrades. 

It is powered by two electric motors that pump out a total of 491 kW and 950 Nm of torque and 600 km worth of driving range. 


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