Sure, a lot of what we're seeing in Shanghai will never come to the United States, and a lot of it is purely conceptual, but because the Chinese auto market is growing at an incredible rate, more and more automakers are lining up big debuts for this show. Because of that, there's a lot to talk about regarding Shanghai, and we've tallied up our votes to give you the five (okay, six – there was a tie for fifth place) best unveilings from this past weekend's expo. Scroll down to check them out, and sound off with your own personal opinions in the comments.
#5A: Hongqi L9
When we first spied the Hongqi L9 sitting pimp-like on its enormous white carpet, we knew that we would need to share it with Autoblog readers – as a curiosity if nothing else. But the more we studied the Hongqi behemoth, the more we all started to dig its retro-meets-super-luxury style. Meant for Chinese politicos of the highest rank, the L9 has major gravitas that is nicely balanced with quirky detailing like the red flag hood ornament, and, of course, those crazy headlamp surrounds. More than enough flavor for the L9 to tie as one of our favorite cars in China. (Oh, and for the record, the Hongqi name is pronounced more like "hon-she" than "honkey" – disappointing to some of you, we know.)
#5B: Renault Alpine A110-50 Concept
Though hardly the newest car on the Shanghai show floor, this conceptual version of the next Renault Alpine was nevertheless one of the biggest draws at the show. The bullet-fast bodywork, racing livery and exotically curved rear fascia all helped to make the A110-50 a favorite amongst the Autoblog editorial cadre, too. 400 horsepower from a mid-mounted V6 would certainly offer performance to live up to the Alpine legend, should Renault move forward with a similarly powered road-going version.
#4: Icona Vulcano
When we finally saw the one-off Icona Vulcano in the metal, we were awfully impressed with the work done by this heretofore unheard-of engineering company. Sure, the supercar styling is a little bit derivative – there's a lot of Lexus LFA and Ferrari 599 to be seen here – but the powerful haunches, exaggerated waistline and overall proportions are still pretty stunning to behold. The Vulcano is nothing more than a technology and styling demonstrator at this point, but we love the idea of the sexy sled turning all four wheels with turbo V6 and twin electric motor power. (The optional V12 doesn't sound bad, either.) One of the most stylish stands at Shanghai this year, to be sure.
#3: 2014 Maserati Ghibli
We've always been fans of the Maserati Quattroporte, so it comes as little surprise that a downsized take on the Italian marque's performance sedan ethos would score high on our list of showstoppers from Shanghai. With the choice of a turbocharged V6 boasting 330 horsepower or a twin-turbocharged V6 spitting out 410 ponies, this beautiful and slinky Ghibli is sure to attract a few buyers that would otherwise have ended up in Audi, BMW or Mercedes-Benz dealerships.
#2: Buick Riviera Concept
It's rare to see a new vehicle from Buick capture enough votes from the Autoblog staff to earn inclusion onto one of our best-of-show wrapup posts. Which is why it's so refreshing to see the Riviera Concept and the new direction it hopefully previews from Buick. Looking past the gee-whiz technology – wireless charging and holographic video displays – we see a modern take on personal luxury that Buick would do well to tap into.
#1: Mercedes-Benz GLA Concept
Incidentally, Mercedes is on an impressive roll these days. At almost every major auto show so far this season (the brand didn't have any big new debuts in Chicago), Mercedes has managed to put one of its machines on our list of the top five cars of the show. In addition to the GLA, which wins top honors from the Autoblog staff from Shanghai, the CLA45 AMG from New York, CLA from Detroit and SLS AMG Black Series from LA have all garnered accolades from our crew.
So... how'd we arrive at this list? Autoblog editors picked their favorites of the show, with each editor having a total of 25 points to distribute amongst their picks. All 25 points had to be used, and no more than 10 points could be awarded to any one car. Basically, instead of just lining them up one-through-five, this allows us to put more weight on the cars that we think were really special. And in case you were wondering, here's how the points broke down for each of the top
- Mercedes-Benz GLA – 35 points
- Buick Riviera – 27 points
- Maserati Ghibli – 23 points
- Icona Vulcano – 21 points
- Renault Alpine – 12 points
- Hongqi L9 – 12 points
Part of the fun of doing this list is seeing what each individual staff member votes for. And since this is a point-based list, there are always a good number of cars that don't quite make the Top Five cut. Here's a look at the other things we liked from Shanghai.