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2018 Lynk & Co 01

2018 Lynk & Co 01

Lynk & Co is a Chinese mobility company owned by Geely (the same parent company to Volvo), and the simply named 01 is its first production vehicle. It’s a high-riding crossover that shares its platform and drivetrain with the Volvo XC40 - they both use the Swedish manufacturer’s modular CMA chassis architecture.

The 01 has been on sale in China for over a year now, and the company’s initial plan was to start selling it in Europe as of next year. But European automotive journos have had a chance to drive the 01 in production form, and first impressions were very positive.

It looks interesting and distinctive in person, according to first impressions from those who’ve driven it, and the level of fit and finish quality is also high. The driving experience is also rated as good, showing its link to the excellent XC40.

Its designer is actually the same person who penned some of the newest Volvo models, Peter Horbury, and his team. The 01 is definitely a bit strange to behold for European and American tastes, but still familiar enough to not be considered ugly. In other words, its design is much more in tune with Chinese tastes in automotive design, than it is with what Europeans or Americans want, but we wouldn’t call it ugly.

However, the really unique part of the Lynk & Co proposal is the subscription-based way you will be able to get behind the wheel. They will not sell you the car, but instead, present you with a choice of cars in different specs that’ll you’ll subscribe to from month to month. According to the company, this is said to eliminate the stress associated with car ownership (maintenance, servicing and insurance) all of which will be taken care of by Lynk & Co.

The system is currently being tested in China, and if it proves successful, it will be adopted once Lynk & Co hits Europe. You will be able to buy one outright, but the company expects that 70 percent of its customers will opt for the subscription, arguing that people will appreciate the flexibility of being able to return the car at the end of the month, instead of when a conventional lease is concluded.

The plan is to introduce it in Europe in 2019, but there are no guarantees that they will be able to stick to it.

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2019 Skoda Kodiaq GT

2019 Skoda Kodiaq GT

A powerful car for the masses of China

Skoda recently launched the Kodiaq GT and announced that it is destined to serve as the automaker’s flagship product on the Chinese market. With a "GT" badge, one would assume that the Kodiaq GT would be about extreme performance but, in its best form, it pumps out just 217 horsepower. It does feature some enhancements inside, though, so at least it has that going for it. All four Skoda products currently offered in China are SUVs – the Kamiq, Karoq, Kodiaq, and Kodiaq GT.

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2019 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class L

2019 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class L

A stretched Mercedes SUV is just what the Chinese market ordered

The Mercedes GLC-Class L is joining the growing list of long-wheelbase SUVs that will be offered in the Chinese market. The extended SUV stretches almost five inches longer than its standard counterpart. Its size and the extra space provided by that size is the only thing different with the GLC-Class L. Everything else is identical to the normal length GLC-Class, right down to its exterior looks and interior layout. The Mercedes GLC-Class L debuts at the Guangzhou International Automobile Exhibition in November.

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2019 Ford Territory

2019 Ford Territory

It’s A New SUV, But Only For China

Although it will never come to the U.S. in this guise (or any other I am afraid), I feel that we should know all there is to know about the new Ford Territory. This very car may showcase the future of Ford crossovers. Revealed for the Chinese market only, the Ford Territory is actually a reimagination of the famous Territory sold in Australia. However, unlike the Australian car which was a full-fledged Ford product, the newest Ford Territory is actually a rebadged JMC Yusheng S330. Ford developed it with Jiangling Motors Corporation (JMC) to give Chinese customers another option in the sea of similar compact SUVs available there.

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2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class L Sedan

2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class L Sedan

China-only model previews U.S.-spec four-door

Unveiled as a concept car at the 2017 Shanghai Auto Show, the sedan version of the A-Class unveiled itself to the world in production form at the 2018 Beijing Auto Show. As expected, the A-Class Sedan is pretty much a shrunken CLA, boasting a coupe-style roof and a short deck lid. Shown here is the longer wheelbase version developed specifically for the Chinese market.

Set to go on sale in the second half of 2018, the A-Class L sedan is produced at produced at Beijing Benz Automotive (BBAC), a joint venture between Daimler and BAIC Motor. While the A-Class L won’t be sold outside China, a regular wheelbase model will follow in the second half of the year to take on the Audi A3 Sedan in Europe and the United States. And AMG variant is also likely, but until that happens, let’s find out what sets the A-Class Sedan apart from its hatchback sibling.

Continue reading to learn more about the Mercedes-Benz A-Class L Sedan.

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2017 BMW X1 xDrive25Le iPerformance

2017 BMW X1 xDrive25Le iPerformance

BMW’s LWB plug-in SUV for the Chinese market

BMW fired the first shot of a new war against Audi and Mercedes when it introduced the X1 in 2009 as its entry-level and resident mini SUV. Audi and Mercedes quickly returned fire, launching the Audi Q3 and the Mercedes GLA. Fast forward to 2016 and we still find the Q3, GLA, and X1 duking it out, but the X1 evolved into a second-generation model for 2016. With China being a pretty big market for BMW, and let’s not forget the Chinese love for long-wheelbase cars, it came as no surprise that the 2017 model year comes with an X1 LWB. In base form, it is powered by a 1.5-liter three-cylinder with a measly 136 horsepower, but it does come with a somewhat premium interior to go with some sport exterior looks – for a small SUV anyway. Like all other LWB models from BMW, the car was practically the same inside and out in comparison to is shorter brother, but that’s about to change a little bit as BMW has just announced an electrified X1 LWB that borrows a drivetrain from its cousin, the 225xe Active Tourer.

I know, that sounds like a mouthful, and let’s be honest, the name is ridiculously long, but it does speak to the electric nature of China’s latest plug-in hybrid model. While I advise you not to get your hopes up for any big styling differences, as there are none, the electrified drivetrain promises excellent fuel economy while the innovative battery location prevents any major loss to interior space or comfort. On top of that, it comes with a little extra power and technically it has all-wheel drive as well, thanks to the addition of that electric motor. So with that said, let’s revisit to overall styling of the X1 LWB and talk more about this hybrid drivetrain that turns the wheels and gets you from point A to point B.

Continue reading to learn more about the BMW X1 xDrive25Le iPerformance.

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2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class L

2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class L

Mercedes caters to China with this mini Maybach

Mercedes-Benz is appealing to the growing market of luxury sedans in the Chinese market with this stretched version of the E-Class. The car, called the E-Class L, is built in China and is exclusively sold there, meaning no other markets see this E-Class limousine.

The car shares the same basic design and structure of the standard E-Class, but is lengthened by 5.5 inches for a wheelbase that measures 121.2 inches – 1.7 inches longer than the standard S-Class. This directly adds 5.3 inches of extra legroom for the rear seats, basically making the E-Class L a miniature Maybach.

The Benz also comes with a slew of luxury amenities and comforts, including a folding center armrest for the rear seats that offers wireless phone charging, heated leather, a USB port, and an integrated touch screen controller. Comforts are not lost on front seat occupants either. The driver has use of the dual 12.3-inch display screens, new touch-sensitive controls on the steering wheel, and the infotainment system controller on the center console that recognizes handwriting and characters.

Mercedes has only confirmed a single powertrain for the Chinese E-Class L – the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. This means the car’s designation will be the E200 L.

Continue reading to learn more about the Mercedes-Benz E-Class L.

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2017 Volkswagen Phideon

2017 Volkswagen Phideon

VW’s new Chinese sedan could preview the next-generation Phaeton

2015 was a year Volkswagen would rather delete from the collective memory using Agent K’s neuralyzer. The "Dieselgate" scandal caused sales to collapse, executives to resign, and spawned a massive investigation that could change the way production cars are tested before they hit dealerships. Moreover, it will cost the brand millions of dollars to handle all the recalls that resulted from the case and probably more to fix its public image. However, this didn’t stop Volkswagen from developing new models, one of which is the Phideon.

Launched at the Geneva Motor Show alongside the T-Cross Breeze Concept and the new Up!, the Phideon is a large sedan that will slot above the Passat in the company’s lineup. Interestingly enough, the Phideon is about the same size as the Phaeton, which suggests that the Germans have finally decided to offer a new flagship sedan. On the other hand, and this is somewhat strange considering the car made its debut in Geneva, the Phideon will be produced and sold in China, with no plans to offer it in Europe or North America.

As for the awkward name, Volkswagen says it is a made up name that stands for elegance and reliability, while symbolically evoking Fides, the Roman goddess of fidelity.

Is the Phideon a preview of the next-generation Phaeton that VW will sell in Europe and the U.S.? It’s very likely, but we won’t know for sure until Volkswagen spills the beans. Until that happens, let’s have a closer look at the brand’s new flagship sedan.

Continue reading to learn more about the Volkswagen Phideon.

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2016 Rolls-Royce Ghost "Eternal Love" Collection

2016 Rolls-Royce Ghost "Eternal Love" Collection

The Rolls-Royce Ghost has received yet another special-edition model, this time around dedicated to romance.

If I had a penny for each special-edition model Rolls-Royce has built for Asia and the Middle East, I’d probably have enough to buy me a Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat. I’m obviously exaggerating here, but Rolls-Royce has built a lot of models for the said markets. And, it’s not planning to stop anytime soon. Its first special-edition model for 2016 is dubbed Ghost Eternal Love and debuted at the Minsheng Art Museum in Beijing, China.

Developed by the already iconic Bespoke division, the Ghost Eternal Love embodies "the theme of love" and according to Rolls-Royce it brings together "design elements inspired by the white swan, with remarkable Rolls-Royce craftsmanship and cutting-edge technology."

Much like every special-edition Ghost before it, Eternal Love is about custom specifications inside and out and a standard powerplant under the hood. The new model, to be sold exclusively in China, will be built in 16 units. That may not sound like a lot, but it’s a significant given that most Bespoke products are usually produced in in less than ten examples.

Continue reading to learn more about the Rolls Royce Ghost "Eternal Love" Collection.

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2015 Roll Royce Ghost Chengdu-Panda

2015 Roll Royce Ghost Chengdu-Panda

When the Top Speed staff was brainstorming possible themes for Bespoke Rolls-Royce products, one of our editors jokingly suggested a panda-themed car. When Rolls-Royce announced the Ghost Chengdu-Panda for the Chengdu Motor Show, my first thought was, "Jeez, guys, we were only kidding!"

Fortunately, the Ghost Chengdu-Panda is much more tasteful than the black-and-white monstrosity that we envisioned. This tastefully modified Bespoke Ghost features special paint and interior trim, inspired by China’s favorite animal. It’s a handsome and subtle upgrade for Rolls-Royce’s junior sedan, and showcases the fact that Rolls-Royce doesn’t restrict the special stuff to the top-level Phantom. Any current Rolls-Royce product can be sent to the Bespoke Design team for that all-important personal touch, whether subtle or outrageous.

Introduced in 2009, the Rolls-Royce Ghost is the marque’s junior line, but that’s not to say it’s “lesser” in any way. The Ghost is aimed at a different demographic of the ultra-luxury market; buyers who are more likely to drive their own cars than be chauffeured. The more compact size creates a more engaging driving experience. With a V-12 under the hood, extended wheelbase and executive-class body, the Ghost is about the size of a 2014 Mercedes S-Class or 2013 BMW 7-Series (which it’s based on), but the luxury is in a different category.

Continue reading to learn more about the Roll Royce Ghost Chengdu-Panda.

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2016 Audi Q7 e-tron 2.0 TFSI quattro

2016 Audi Q7 e-tron 2.0 TFSI quattro

As we inch closer to the full-electric car taking the place of gasoline-fueled cars, we are seeing a transition to plug-in hybrids. These models give buyers a short EV distance and a standard hybrid setup for longer journeys. The Audi Q7 has already joined these ranks with the 2016 Q7 e-tron 3.0 TDI at the 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show, and now it is spreading the e-tron love to China with the Q7 e-tron 2.0 TFSI.

I don’t know exactly why Audi decided to use a different engine in the China-spec Q7 e-tron, but I can only assume that it is because diesel engines are not popular there. In the U.S., we’ve had the same issues with diesel vehicles, but Audi’s never been overly shy about offering diesel-powered cars here.

How does this China-exclusive version of the Q7 e-tron stack up next to the already unveiled TDI version?

Find out by continuing to read my full review 2015 Q7 e-tron 2.0 TFSI.

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2015 Buick Excelle GT

2015 Buick Excelle GT

Originally introduced as rebadged Daewoo Lacetti, the Excelle received an extensive facelift in 2009, ditching the outdated appearance of its Korean ancestor. The GT sedan was launched a year later, preceding the U.S.-spec Verano that arrived for the 2012 model year. After five successful years and an outstanding 2014, during which it dominated China’s compact-sedan market, the Excelle received a complete makeover inside and out, as well as a pair of new four-cylinder engines.

Although the Excelle remains a China-exclusive model following this update, its launch is of great importance to car enthusiasts here in the U.S., as it provides us with our best look yet at the next-generation Verano. Set to receive its first update since its introduction in 2011, the Verano should mimic the Excelle GT in most aspects except for the drivetrain compartment, where bigger engines are to be fitted for the U.S. market.

Updated 03/09/2015: Buick unveiled the official details and images on its 2015 Excelle GT.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2015 Buick Excelle.

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2014 Geely MK-Cross

2014 Geely MK-Cross

Brand-new for the 2014 model year, the Geely MK-Cross is an entry-level crossover built on the same platform as the MK sedan and hatchback. Despite sharing underpinnings and most of its styling cues with the said automobile, which has soldiered on essentially unchanged since 2006, the MK-Cross sports a more modern design, a revised interior, and options otherwise not available with the MK. It comes with standard airbags — quite the novelty for Chinese cars — and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

Its Chinese sticker would make it the cheapest production vehicle in the United States, even if it were to receive a host of additional upgrades to enable it to pass the NHTSA’s demanding safety tests. However, does it have what it takes to make an impact in one of the world’s largest crossover markets with stiff competition from Japanese manufacturers known for their reliability and safety? Keep reading to find out.

Click past the jump to read more about Geely MK-Cross.

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2014 Geely MK

2014 Geely MK

Geely introduced the MK in 2006 as a compact sedan slotted above the CK, which arrived a year earlier. Much like the CK, the MK remained largely unchanged since its launch, featuring the same styling cues inside and out for the 2014 model year. Sold in various Asian and Eastern European markets, as well as in Australia and New Zealand, the compact sedan is motivated by a 1.5-liter, four-cylinder powerplant shared with a host of other Geely products.

As Geely is considering bringing its cars and crossovers to the United States in the near future, we decided to have a closer look at the company’s current lineup. This time around is the MK’s turn to join these TopSpeed pages in a review that analyzes the potential of such a vehicle for the North American market. Read on to find out what the Geely MK is all about and whether or not it has what it takes to compete in one of America’s most crowded markets.

Click past the jump to read more about the Geely MK.

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2014 BYD F6

2014 BYD F6

BYD’s growing automotive empire includes many cars that play off Toyota designs, but the F6 is not one of them. Rather BYD’s target here is the Honda Accord. The F6 got its start in 2008 and has enjoyed decent success in its native Chinese market. It has even made an appearance in the U.S. at the 2008 North American International Auto Show as a plug-in hybrid concept. While nothing came of the car’s distribution in America, the concept showed proof of BYD’s dedication to advancing its product lineup with technology. While the automaker is still guilty of copying other makers’ designs, BYD is starting to break the trend with its more recent products like the impressive 2015 Qin sedan.

Regardless, the F6 is still a relatively impressive sedan for BYD. It offers a decent amount of features that are not found on many of BYD’s other models. A touchscreen navigation system, leather seating, a sunroof, alloy wheels, LED exterior lighting, projector beam headlights, and a pair of engine and transmission choices bring a lot to the table.

The F6 also boasts a four-star rating on the C-NCAP crash test scale. Front and side airbags come standard and the body structure is properly designed to absorb impacts. Features like ABS and EBD help keep the F6 from crashing in the first place while variable power steering makes turning that much better.

The BYD F6 might not be the newest or the greatest product from the Chinese automaker, but it doesn’t skimp on all the expected equipment.

Click past the jump to read more about the BYD F6.

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2014 Geely GC2

2014 Geely GC2

The Geely GC2 is a hi-speced hatchback based on the LC, a compact five-door the Chinese automaker introduced in 2009. Recognizable for its unique exterior design, which the company describes as "bionic" and resembles a panda bear up front, the GC2 has been launched in several markets around the world as of 2014, including South America, Indonesia, New Zealand, and South Africa. Three different engines are available with the GC2, all sourced from the LC, along with a choice of two transmissions, including a manual and an automatic. The GC2 is also famous for becoming China’s first locally developed compact car to be awarded a five-star safety rating. It is also was named the safest Chinese hatchback in 2011.

Although the GC2 has yet to reach U.S. shores, Geely’s plans to brings some of its models to North America makes the little hatch a possible candidate for U.S. showrooms. But is the GC2 good enough to go against similar products from Ford or Honda? And will it have what it takes to pass America’s challenging safety tests? Read on to find out the answers to these questions.

Click past the jump to read more about Geely GC2.

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2014 BYD F3

2014 BYD F3

BYD is budding as an automaker and its products are continually getting better. Take for example, the new Qin hybrid. Other vehicles the automaker produces are still stuck in the budget bottom basement and the F3 is a prime example. The F3 is produced side by side with its replacement, lovingly called the 2014 New F3. While neither car can match the Qin’s impressive looks, interior comforts, or technological advancements, the two cars offer a value to customers with limited budgets.

At first glance, the F3 might look familiar. That’s because it’s a near carbon copy of the ninth-generation Toyota Corolla, produced from 2000 to 2006. BYD gets the copy so perfect, in fact, that the body panels are interchangeable. Toyota likely isn’t amused.

Regardless, the F3 offers inexpensive transportation for five with a decent trunk and a fuel-efficient four-cylinder engine. A five-speed manual transmission comes standard and a six-speed dual clutch gearbox comes optional. A look at the F3’s website reveals standard features like power mirrors, body-color trim pieces, adjustable front seats, power windows, and a intermittent windshield wipers. It’s apparent the F3 isn’t marketed towards the U.S. or European markets.

Click past the jump to read more about BYD F3.

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