The Weird & Wonderful Showcases At Auto China 2024

From flying cars to flat-eight motorcycle engines, here are just some of the more bizarre things showcased at Auto China 2024. 

Auto shows tend to see automakers going all out in showcasing their latest weird and wonderful creations, with the recent Auto China 2024 (aka Beijing Auto Show) very much continuing on this long standing tradition. 

From flying cars to flat-eight motorcycle engines, the auto expo certainly had it all. But so that the article isn’t to be an hour-long read, here are just seven of the more interesting things showcased back then that are simply (and sometimes literally) out of this world. 

1. XPeng AeroHT Concept

Weird and wonderful because…: It is a flippin’ flying car!

Fast fact: This electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing (eVTOL) concept seen here may not actually be such a pie in the sky idea for XPeng, as the company’s two-seat Voyager X2 octacopter had already previously been showcased on numerous national and international public demonstration flights dating back to 2022. 

2. Dongfeng E-Truck Concept

Weird and wonderful because…: It is a rounded Chinese copycat of Tesla’s monstrous Cybertruck.

Fast fact: This all-electric pickup claims to output 1,305 hp, which will make it even more powerful than the flagship CyberBeast version of the Tesla. This Dongfeng also features a configurable pixelated LED light bar at both ends to display various graphics, in addition to suicide doors down its middle. Oh, and there is the option of a tent that could be erected on its bed as well!

3. MG EXE181

Weird and wonderful because…: It is an incredibly low and incredibly sleek futuristic land-speed record concept, which was inspired by the EX181 land speed record car driven by Stirling Moss and Phil Hill back in the 50s. 

Fast fact: This MG concept currently claims a drag coefficient of just 0.181, while its quad-motor all-electric drivetrain is apparently sufficient in rocketing this car from 0-100 km/h in just 1.9 seconds. 

The EXE181 is currently also expected to appear at July’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, where MG’s centenary celebrations will be taking centre stage.

4. Changan Qiyuan E07

Weird and wonderful because…: It is an all-electric crossover with a pickup-like drop-down tailgate at its rear. 

Fast fact: The rear tailgate glass panel of this all-electric Changan half-and-half can slide up and over its roof to allow for a proper open pickup load bay. There is also (somehow) provisions for a panel that separates the decently car-like cabin and its rear cargo area, which will convert its typically SUV pass-through rear layout to become very much like proper pickup. 

5. GWM Souo Flat 8 Motorcycle Engine

Weird and wonderful because…: This is to be the world’s first production eight-cylinder motorcycle engine. It is also incidentally the world’s only horizontally opposed 8-cylinder engine in current production anywhere. 

Fast fact: This flat-eight will be going into GWM’s first-ever bike, the Great Wall Souo S 2000 ST flagship tourer. This engine is hooked up to an 8-speed DCT with a reverse gear, with the bike itself featuring the world’s first three-layer stepped front suspension and Brembo brakes clamping on both wheels. 

Excuse the nerdery here too but this flat eight is to be a proper boxer engine, as it features separate crank pins for each piston, so they each move in the opposite direction to their equivalent on the other cylinder bank for it.  

6. Li Auto Mega

Weird and wonderful because…: It is a luxury-focused production MPV with an exterior aesthetic that looks like a modernised take on the 90s American DustBuster minivans. 

Fast fact: Despite its size, the Mega currently claims a drag coefficient of 0.215 Cd, which XPeng touts to be the lowest among MPVs globally in production today. Thanks to a twin motor electric powertrain that outputs a combined 400 kW of power too, the 2.7-tonne minivan can supposedly rocket from 0 to 100 km/h in just 5.5 seconds.

Though perhaps most impressive with this Mega is that 102.7 kWh Qilin 5C ternary NMC battery from CATL can charge at a peak DC power of 430 kW, which in turn sees for a 10% to 80% top up supposedly take just 10 minutes. 

Sales of this Li Auto luxury MPV has already started in China since early 2024, with prices of it beginning at a not-too-unreasonable 559,800 yuan (RM 363,000). 

7. Jetta VA3

Weird and wonderful because…: This Jetta is to be the only car in the whole show (as far as this writer could determine anyway) that features a manual gearbox. This therefore makes it a rarer breed, and is really likely something most people will soon not be entirely familiar with moving forward into this coming increasingly automated and electrified age. 

Also, the blatant cheapness of its hard plastic interior with old-school analogue gauges is actually is a refreshingly honest change to all the other screen-filled leather-lined cabins found in every other car in the show. 

Fast fact: The Jetta VA3 has actually been on sale in China since 2019, with this particular model also incidentally soon to be exported for sale in Iran. 

Joshua Chin

Automotive journalist. Professional work on and Personal writing found at Instagram: @driveeveryday

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