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by Jay Traugott
China is a rapidly growing market for cars and these high-performance special editions made exclusively for the country are priced only for the uber-wealthy.
In case you haven't heard, China is the world's fastest growing car market and automakers are scrambling to keep up with demand. For the first time ever, there are now plenty of average Chinese citizens (who are not official members of the Communist party) with money to spend. A lot of money. Driving (or being driven) around in a big, flashy and expensive car is a symbol of respect and achievement in the country and automakers from both Europe and the US are constantly introducing unique China-only editions.
The Audi R8 has proven that a supercar can be driven on a daily basis and as expected, it's also a hit in China. 30 lucky customers in the country will become the owners of one of these Audi R8 Limited Editions. Each comes with Nordic Gold paint and features various components from the R8 GT along with 19-inch wheels. Power comes from a 5.2-liter TFSI V10. The interior is covered in Alcantara and matte trim.
Lamborghini is also huge in China and the Gallardo LP550-2 GZ8 Edizione Limitata is just the right amount of garish styling the local market finds so attractive. Just eight units will be built and are priced at 500,000-yuan on top of the Gallardo's Chinese-market list price of 3.5 million yuan. All told, this equates to roughly $600,000. That extra dough gets owners orange alloys, a carbon-fiber rear wing, matte-black engine cover, gloss black roof, carbon-fiber rear view mirrors and side skirts. There are also Superleggera-style black and orange side stripes and front bumper.
Even aftermarket tuning firms are keenly aware of the financial potential of China. Carlsson is now partially owned by a Chinese holdings firm so it's no shock to see it's wasted little time in preparing something unique for the local market. The Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG was chosen and its twin-turbo V12 rated at 753 horsepower was swapped for a 418 hp V8. Now called the C25 Limited Edition, it sheds 180 kg from its stock counterpart thanks to a carbon fiber body. Other restyled bits include redesigned head and taillights, an aggressive front fascia with bigger intakes and huge quad-tailpipes. Just seven units were built at price roughly equivalent to $630,000.
Of course Ferrari is huge in China. This 458 Italia was built to honor the 20th anniversary of the first-ever Ferrari, a 348 TS, being ordered in China. It features a new color called Marco Polo Red and a unique livery that comes from an old Chinese idiom meaning "the vigor and spirit of the legendary dragon-horse." There's also gold finish on the rims and inside there's gold embroidery on the head rests, along with a special edition plaque set into the dash.
Donald Trump was flat-out wrong in claiming Jeep will end production in the US and ship it all to China. Yes, there will be a new factory built in China but it's solely to service the rapidly expanding Asian market. In that faith, Jeep built this blacked-out special edition Grand Cherokee SRT8 just for China
. Called the Hyun Black Edition, it has a blacked out grille, badges, windows, wheels and exhaust. Power comes from that all-American 6.4-liter Hemi V8 and for a price that's nearly equivalent to $190,000, GC SRT8 has developed a loyal following.