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My Picks: Top 5 Cars of the 2014 Beijing Auto Show

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 4/21/2014 Scott Evans

We don't traditionally think of China as a place to see the latest models coming to Western markets, but as China has overtaken the U.S. as the world's largest car market, that's quickly changing. Automakers are more focused than ever on the Middle Kingdom, and they showed off a number of new cars in Beijing we'll soon be seeing on our shores. Here are the best of them.

Volkswagen New Midsize Coupe Concept

Volkswagen New Midsize Coupe Concept© Provided by MotorTrend Volkswagen New Midsize Coupe Concept The name says concept, but Volkswagen confirmed during the press conference that the car is going into production soon in China. The life-size door mirrors and wheels should also be a tip-off. It's also a sedan, of the "four-door coupe" variety, not a coupe. There's no confirmation this is what the next Jetta will look like, but if it isn't, it ought to be. The Jetta's a perfectly fine car, but it's lacking in the style department both inside and out in ways this car handsomely solves. Make it happen, VW.

Mercedes-Benz Concept Coupe SUV

Mercedes Benz Concept Coupe© Provided by MotorTrend Mercedes Benz Concept Coupe Another confusing name on another nearly production-ready vehicle. It's not a coupe, as it's got five doors including the hatch. It's not much of a concept, either, as I hear it's already approved for production. Based on the ML-Class and featuring the brand's new twin-turbo V-6 and nine-speed automatic transmission, it's clearly targeted directly at the BMW X6. Before you bemoan the X6, know that BMW has sold 250,000 of the things and all indications are that this style of vehicle is very popular in China (which is why there's now also an X4). You can bet there will be an AMG variant down the road as well. To my eyes, it's a more elegant design than the X6, so it ought to perform as well in the market.

Lincoln MKX Concept

Lincoln MKX Concept© Provided by MotorTrend Lincoln MKX Concept "Concept" should be in quotes here, as well. If the MKC Concept's transition from concept to production is any indication, the MKX is nearly a done deal. Lose the chrome on the bottoms of the doors and put real mirrors and headlights on it and you're there. It's a more mature, elegant look for Lincoln and it shows this new design language is really coming into its own. Sure, the shape has a lot of Audi in it, but as they say, if you're going to copy, copy the best. I've long argued that the biggest challenge for Lincoln is the follow-up, keeping each successive product as good or better than the last. The Navigator refresh is a false step, but the MKX makes up for it.

BMW Vision Future Luxury Concept

BMW Vision Future Luxury Concept© Provided by MotorTrend BMW Vision Future Luxury Concept Some folks are calling it bland, but this one of those cars that needs to be seen in-person to be appreciated. The proportions, the subtlety, and the elegance of the car are lost in photos. Many have suggested this could be an all-new hyper-luxury model called the 9 Series, but to my eyes, it's no bigger than a long-wheelbase 7 Series. I have a feeling BMW may be going down the same road as Mercedes-Benz, working on hyper-luxury flagships based off their existing top-of-the-line cars (See: Benz's reported plans to offer an S-Class Maybach Edition and S-Class Pullman Edition). It would be far from the first time the Germans copied each other (See above).

Porsche Boxster/Cayman GTS

Porsche Cayman GTS© Provided by MotorTrend Porsche Cayman GTS I've yet to meet a GTS edition Porsche I didn't like, and I see no reason these two won't continue the trend. All the sport options standard, extra power (and hopefully even sharper throttle response) from a naturally aspirated engine, and more aggressive looks; who could ask for more? GTS models have traditionally been handling sweethearts and I think it's likely these will be the best-driving models in their respective families.

Volkswagen New Midsize Coupe Concept© Provided by MotorTrend Volkswagen New Midsize Coupe Concept

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