Mercedes in great shape as they showcase stylish future

MERCEDES gives a peek at what could replace the CLS four-door coupe with this stunning concept at Auto China, which opened this week in Beijing.

Apart from the latest gee-whiz styling, high economy engines (including 208bhp 2-litre petrol), the lush four-seater’s computer software for its controls will be so-called cloud computing. The advantage is it can be undated on the move through a mobile phone link. Other stuff: the headlamps shine red on stand-by - “like the eyes of a predatory animal.” Scary?

MG, Chinese-owned these days, had a concept head-turner called Icon at China Auto in Beijing. It is a small SUV with “suicide” front opening doors. It was designed by the Briton Tony Williams, who runs MG and Roewe brand design from Shanghai. There’s more on the MG drawing board but will we ever see a new MGB?

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“I hope so,” said Williams. “But who knows what form it could take and what the market will accept. Right now in China SUVs have hit a sweet spot in terms of sales.” Skoda revealed its new car placed between Fabia and Octavia will be called Rapid when it reaches UK showrooms late in 2012. Aston Martin Holdings says its Chinese expansion is progressing, as it announced higher revenues in 2011 but sales static at around 4,200 and a decrease of 18 per cent in profits “impacted by new market developments”. It is one of the few stand-alone super brands. Volkswagen Group (includes Bentley and Lamborghini) delivered 2.16 million cars in the first quarter including 346,100 Audis, 242,700 Skodas and 1.36 million VWs. SEAT dropped to 80,100.

Land Rover’s biggest modern overland expedition, the Journey of Discovery, has reached the finish line with the millionth Discovery arriving in time to appear at the Beijing bun fight.

The jaunt, which saw four vehicles travel more than 10,000 miles from Birmingham to Beijing, hopes to raise £1million for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.It began on February 29, at the Solihull manufacturing plant and the vehicles were driven by employees rather than celebrities.