Auto shows can be incredibly exciting — experiencing all the shiny new production cars under one roof is a rush, but it’s the concept cars that usually grab most of the attention. Often conceived without safety systems, emission controls or other mass-production requirements, concept cars allow designers to color outside the lines and engineers to stretch their minds, fueling our fantasies about what cars could be. That said, some concepts look as if they could hit the highway tomorrow with little alteration, while others are so advanced or unique there’s no way we’ll see them on the road anytime soon. Here’s a quick look at the top concepts that wowed crowds at auto shows in 2016.
Acura Precision Concept — Detroit
Premiering at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January, the Acura Precision Concept is a sleek 4-door sedan developed to express “Precision Crafted Performance.” The low, wide front end is dominated by a Diamond Pentagon grille flanked by Jewel Constellation LED headlights, composed of organically arranged fractal elements. The sides are deeply sculpted and at the rear sit floating LED taillights. Created by the Acura Design Studio in California to explore new design ideas for future Acura products — particularly sedans — the Acura Precision Concept makes a strong case for function following form. The Diamond Pentagon grille is expected to become the new signature grille for Acura models.
Acura Precision Concept
Acura says the car’s key design theme, referred to as “quantum continuum,” takes the structure and materials from the exterior of the car and transitions them seamlessly to the interior. For example, the large rocker panel under each door flows into the interior side sill and then into a cantilever for the rear seats. The driver gets presented with a two-layer instrument panel, a compact race-inspired steering wheel with paddle shifters and a head-up display. The center stack is cantilevered with a wide, thin curved display screen.
Future Plans: There may be some design elements from the Precision Concept (such as the grille) that find their way into future mass-produced models, but it’s unlikely that this concept would ever reach production as is.
Audi h-tron quattro — Detroit
The German automaker showcased its vision of a new hydrogen-powered crossover at this year’s Detroit show. The Audi h-tron quattro concept presents the fifth generation of fuel-cell technology from Audi and Volkswagen. Lighter materials reduce weight and improve performance, responsiveness and efficiency. The fuel cell delivers power to two electric motors — a 90kW motor on the front axle, a 140 kW on the rear — representing a new possibility for Audi’s legendary quattro all-wheel drive. Audi claims a zero to 62 mph time of less than 7 seconds, with a total range of about 372 miles on a full tank of hydrogen.
Audi h-tron quattro
The h-tron also provides a test bed for the latest in autonomous driving and parking — features expected to go into production next year with the new-generation Audi A8. The system computes a model of the car’s surroundings in real time and makes this information available to the assistance systems, which aid in parking or in stop-and-go traffic on freeways at speeds up to 37 mph. Another advanced technology in the h-tron incorporates multiple large OLED displays in front of the driver — wafer-thin films that can take on virtually any shape. The driver controls the lights and systems for autonomous driving with one of the screens, while the large display on the right is for managing media and navigation.
Future Plans: This car as seen today will not become a production model, and fuel cells are still lacking an infrastructure to be feasible; however, many of the autonomous driving systems and some styling cues will certainly make their way into upcoming Audis.
Buick Avista — Detroit
One of the surprise hits of the 2016 North American International Auto Show, the Buick Avista concept — an elegant 2+2 coupe — debuted the night before the Detroit show press days. Powered by a 400-horsepower twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine combined with an 8-speed automatic transmission driving the rear wheels, the Avista is a contemporary version of a grand touring coupe. “The Avista embodies the dynamic soul of Buick,” said Duncan Aldred, vice president of global Buick sales, service and marketing. “It is a modern expression of the brand’s heritage of sophisticated performance, communicated with beautiful elegance,” Aldred noted.
The Avista’s flowing body lines stretch front to rear; the roofline profile is uninterrupted by B-pillars. Headlights and taillights incorporate lighting elements that illuminate the edges to create 3-dimentional shapes, and a mesh grille includes Buick’s new winged tri-shield insignia. Twenty-inch aluminum wheels feature paint accents that match the Dark Sapphire Jewel exterior color. The interior design also features flowing, uninterrupted lines that are both elegant and simple. Door and seat trim are 3-D printed, and the wide instrument panel display includes a new version of Buick IntelliLink with touchscreen controls.
Future Plans: This is one of the most beautiful Buicks we’ve ever seen, but GM says they have no plans to put this car into production. That’s a shame.
Kia Telluride — Detroit
A new design for a 7-passenger luxury SUV, the Kia Telluride concept is the first look at a bold new direction for Kia, featuring advanced technology with an emphasis on the comfort and experience of second-row passengers. Designed in California and built on a stretched Sorento chassis, the Telluride is taller, wider and longer than the current Sorento. Finished in Dark Pyrite green paint, the Telluride fascia includes a larger version of Kia’s “tiger nose” grille flanked by recessed quad LED headlights, horizontal LED indicator lights, and a polished metal skidplate below the bumper. Pronounced wheel arches, 22-inch wheels and thin vertical taillights complete the muscular look. The hybrid all-wheel-drive powertrain combines a 3.5-liter V6 engine and a powerful electric motor to produce 400 horsepower while achieving 30 mpg on the highway. A fingerprint-activated start-stop button fires up the Telluride.
The first- and second-row seats include a series of diamond-cut openings in the seatbacks with embedded sensors that capture the occupant’s vital health information, displaying it on door panel screens and synchronizing it with a Light Emitted Rejuvenation system utilizing a massive, wing-shaped LED panel mounted beneath the sunroof. The LED panel displays a pattern of therapeutic light to treat desynchronosis (jetlag) and improve energy levels. Telluride also introduces new Swipe Command technology with a thin, touch-sensitive band in the second-row console; rear-seat passengers select media with the swipe of a hand. Second-row passengers listen through a premium Harman Kardon audio system or via a set of portable Harman Kardon headphones that charge wirelessly when stowed in the console. The dashboard, door panels and steering wheel include Kia’s first use of 3-D-printed components.
Future Plans: While no official announcement has been made regarding the Telluride, we could see a new 7-passenger crossover in Kia’s future based on this stylish SUV concept. Many of the high-tech features could also have a future — but don’t expect the suicide doors to make the cut.
Lexus LF-FC — Detroit
The Lexus LF-FC Flagship Concept debuted at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show last October and was also on display in Detroit at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in January, featuring a look at the direction of design and technology for a future Lexus flagship sedan. The profile reveals a 4-door coupe roofline with elegant flowing lines, a long hood and short rear deck. At the front is a new version of the Lexus signature grille with a new mesh pattern, and daytime running lights that flow forward from the front fenders.
The LF-FC is powered by a high-output fuel-cell system that operates the rear wheels and two electric motors housed in the front wheels, making the LF-FC all-wheel drive with sophisticated torque-distribution control between the front and rear wheels. New technology inside includes an advanced human/machine interface that can be operated by simple hand gestures.
Future Plans: The styling of the LF-FC concept fits perfectly with the rest of the Lexus lineup, looking like the next generation without going too extreme. Again, in our opinion fuel cells likely won’t make sense for mass-market production, but only time will tell.
Nissan IDS Concept — Detroit
Appearing for the first time at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit this past January, the IDS Concept debuted in October 2015 at the Tokyo Motor Show to showcase the automaker’s attitudes on the future of autonomous driving. The IDS allows the driver to choose between manual or automated driving, providing more choices of assistance in every situation or taking over command of the vehicle completely, allowing the driver to relax. The interior configuration changes depending on the driver’s choice.
Nissan IDS Concept
In manual drive mode, the steering wheel and controls direct the driver’s attention to the road. When piloted mode gets selected, the steering wheel retracts into the instrument panel and is replaced with a large display, while the four seats rotate toward each other for easier communication between occupants. The Nissan IDS Concept also communicates with the outside world, providing recommendations for departure times, driving routes and even restaurant options.
Future Plans: Future Nissans may carry styling similar to the IDS, and although autonomous driving at scale may still be several years away, the communication technology in the IDS is more likely to reach production in the near future.
Nissan Titan Warrior — Detroit
The all-new Titan XD pickup is just arriving in showrooms, but Nissan decided it was already time to showcase a custom Titan. This Titan Warrior concept certainly stands out from the crowd with carbon fiber fenders, functional hood vents, carbon fiber cabin and tailgate spoilers, and a large front skidplate. Custom LED lights front and rear with integrated, roof-mounted LED off-road lights add to the concept’s aggressive styling. The custom suspension, large off-road tires and matte gun metal paint complete the look.
Nissan Titan Warrior
Designers had just as much fun creating the Warrior’s interior as they did the exterior. Seats are swathed in a carbon-colored high-strength seat fabric trimmed with “Magma” orange accents. The interior gets trimmed in carbon fiber, polished chrome and leather with accented Magma orange stitching as well. Other interior features include unique hot-and-cold drink containers integrated into the center console, and robust auxiliary toggle switches integrated into the center stack for additional off-road accessories.
Future Plans: Initially Nissan said they had no plans to build a vehicle like this; however, the custom truck has been very well received by show attendees and the press, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see a special edition Titan similar to the Warrior at some point.
Volkswagen Tiguan GTE Active — Detroit
In Detroit Volkswagen provided a glimpse of the upcoming all-new Tiguan via this GTE Active concept. The concept was designed to showcase the possibilities of a plug-in hybrid with true off-road capability. Shod with all-terrain tires and integrated roof lights, the GTE Active certainly looks the part. Dr. Herbert Diess, chairman of the Volkswagen brand board of management, explained: “The Tiguan GTE Active Concept shows the potential of the Volkswagen plug-in drive systems. The powerful all-wheel-drive system ensures that an SUV such as the Tiguan offers superior off-road performance, even in 100 percent electric mode.”
Volkswagen Tiguan GTE Active
The innovative powertrain in the Tiguan concept features a turbocharged direct-injection gasoline engine with two electric motors — one on the front axle, one on the rear. In normal driving situations, the Tiguan GTE Active can run in electric-only mode, utilizing both electric motors when 4WD is needed. Tiguan can travel up to 20 miles without burning any gasoline; with a full charge and a full tank of fuel, the GTE Active boasts a range of 580 miles. The new Tiguan is slated to go on sale in Europe this spring, with a long-wheelbase version coming to the U.S. shortly after the European launch.
Future Plans: Although this concept features some special off-road styling and equipment, underneath all of that is the next version of the Tiguan. We don’t expect to see a plug-in hybrid version at introduction; however, it isn’t much of a stretch to see the high-tech powertrain making its way into the lineup soon.
Hyundai Vision G Coupe Concept — Chicago
When the Hyundai Vision G Coupe first debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2015, it predated the announcement at the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show in November that Genesis would become the new luxury brand from Hyundai. On display in February at the 2016 Chicago Auto Show, the elegant Vision G Coupe design combines luxury and performance with advanced connectivity and new technologies that now indicate what to expect in future Genesis models.
Hyundai Vision G Coupe Concept
From a performance standpoint, the Vision G is powered by Hyundai’s 420-horsepower 5.0-liter V8 engine. Inside, new technology includes the Remote Wheel, which is an ergonomically designed semi-sphere haptic touchpad in the center console that offers intuitive touch and gesture interaction, responding to a simple wave of the hand to minimize driver distraction. In the center of the instrument panel is a curved display for a high level of detailed information, and all physical buttons have been removed for a simplified overall appearance.
Future Plans: Even though this car is clearly a concept, with the introduction of the Genesis brand the production of a performance coupe based on the Vision G makes a lot more sense.
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Extreme Concept — Chicago
Sprinter vans are big vehicles providing excellent cargo-carrying capabilities. The Sprinter Concept makes standard Sprinters look tiny. Measuring 20 feet long and almost eight feet tall, this custom Sprinter Cab Chassis can carry 6,400 pounds of cargo or tow 7,500 pounds. Mercedes-Benz’ customizing partner RENNtech added a number of elements to make this Sprinter extreme, including a custom roof rack to support the six forward-facing spotlights, a custom brush guard with additional fog lights, and a powerful winch located on the front bumper.
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Extreme Concept
A suspension lift package raises the Sprinter Extreme, making space for six G-Class-inspired beadlock wheels and aggressive off-road tires. Custom rear fenders provide additional room for suspension travel and tire clearance. A head-turning bright green vinyl wrap and chrome exhaust stacks on either side of the cab complete the extreme packaging.
Future Plans: We don’t expect to see anything like this on the road; however, this Extreme Concept provides an excellent showcase for the level of customization possible on the versatile Sprinter Van.
Nissan Winter Warrior Concepts — Chicago
There wasn’t much snow on the ground at the 2016 Chicago Auto Show, which was too bad for Nissan since they brought the perfect snow vehicles. The company outfitted a Pathfinder, Murano and Rogue to conquer extreme winter conditions with a full snow-track system. The DOMINATOR Tracks come from American Track Truck, Inc. The tracks are 48 inches long, 30 inches high and 15 inches wide, replacing the vehicles’ wheels and tires. The suspensions and wheelwells were modified to fit the snow tracks, but otherwise all drivetrain components remain stock.
Nissan Winter Warrior Concepts
Nissan Design America created identical, custom matte-red chrome body wraps for each vehicle, featuring a unique “track” design and Nissan “Winter Warrior” signage. “With their solid Nissan underpinnings and exceptional ground clearance, these Winter Warriors are serious, extreme weather machines, not toys,” said Christian Meunier, senior vice president of Nissan sales, marketing and operations for Nissan North America, Inc.
Future Plans: Naturally these won’t ever be production models from Nissan; however, adding tracks to an SUV is certainly possible with aftermarket companies, but there are limitations — they don’t work so well on dry pavement.
Apollo Arrow — Geneva
Auto enthusiasts will remember the odd-looking but very fast Gumpert Apollo that still claims one of the fastest times for a production car around the famed Nurburgring track in Germany. In 2015, Gumpert Sportwagenmanufaktur GmbH was rebranded as Apollo Automobil GmbH, and in March at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show Apollo showed off its all-new Arrow supercar.
Boasting a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 engine producing an amazing 1000 horsepower, the Arrow will reportedly reach 62 mph in less than three seconds and boasts a top speed of 220 mph. Although the Arrow is still a prototype, Apollo fully expects the new supercar will exceed the impressive feats performed by the original Gumpert Apollo.
Future Plans: Assuming Apollo can get funding, we wouldn’t be at all surprised to see a production version of this Arrow in the next few years.
Opel GT Concept — Geneva
The European arm of General Motors brought this new GT Concept to Geneva. While reminiscent of the original Opel GT design from the 1970s, this concept is clearly looking more to the future than the past. “We created the GT Concept to capture the bold, emotional spirit of the Opel brand. It is dramatic, sculptural and full of innovations,” explained Mark Adams, vice president of design at Opel.
Opel GT Concept
With a long hood and short overhangs, the GT Concept has no mirrors or door handles to interfere with its pure sports-car-like lines. Building on a true sports-car theme, this small, lightweight 2-seater has a 1.0-liter turbocharged engine driving the rear wheels, with a 6-speed gearbox actuated by paddle shifters. On paper this looks like great fun to drive.
Future Plans: In 1965 Opel showed the Experimental GT at the Frankfurt Motor Show, then went on to build the Opel GT a few years later. So there might be hope for a new sports coupe based on this concept.
Subaru XV Concept — Geneva
Subaru has been providing glimpses of the next-generation Impreza over the last six months, and in Geneva we saw the planned direction of the Impreza-based XV Crosstrek. The Impreza 5-Door Concept debuted fall 2015 in Tokyo, while the Impreza Sedan Concept made an appearance at the 2015 L.A. Auto Show. The XV represents what we expect will be the third and final Impreza-based concept. Like the current XV Crosstrek, the XV Concept features a raised suspension enhanced by black cladding running from the front bumper over the wheel arches to the rear bumper.
Subaru XV Concept
Showcasing a new look, the XV Concept features performance styling with a wide stance. The hexagonal grille clearly identifies this as a Subaru, flanked by what Subaru calls “hawk-eye” headlights. Bold fender flares reinforce Subaru’s legendary all-wheel drive system. Similar to the Impreza 5-Door Concept, the XV’s wide stance carries through to the rear, enhanced by the hatchback’s powerful shoulders.
Future Plans: Now that Subaru has shown the production version of the Impreza, we expect to see new Crosstrek based on this concept.
Genesis New York Concept — New York
At the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show, Hyundai introduced Genesis as its new luxury car brand. At this year’s New York show the new brand revealed a very sexy sport sedan concept that provides a glimpse into the future product design we can expect from Genesis. “The New York Concept is a progressive concept car that showcases the design quality of the brand,” said Manfred Fitzgerald, head of Genesis.
Genesis New York Concept
“With its expressive volumes and refined design, the New York Concept truly embodies the ‘Athletic Elegance,’ that characterizes GENESIS products and will continue to do so for future models that come from our luxury brand,” said Manfred Fitzgerald, head of Genesis. In addition to the sleek lines and futuristic interior, the New York Concept features an advanced hybrid powertrain with an 8-speed automatic transmission.
Future Plans: With Genesis launching a new brand, we find it highly likely that a sports sedan will become part of the lineup — one with lines very similar to this concept car, and we’d expect to see it in the next year or so. The interior of the concept is a bit too futuristic for production, but expect to see some of the high-tech features in production.
Honda Civic Hatchback Concept — New York
Honda is moving full-speed ahead with its Civic lineup. At the 2015 New York show the Japanese automaker debuted the Civic Concept, and followed up shortly after that with the production model. Available currently as a sedan or coupe, the Civic line will soon be expanding to include a hatchback, as seen in this concept version of the upcoming Civic 5-Door.
Honda Civic Hatchback Concept
With Euro-inspired styling and a versatile interior, the hatchback will be powered by the brand’s new turbocharged 174-horsepower engine. Honda also announced that the new hatch — as well as the sedan and coupe — will be available with a 6-speed manual transmission.
Future Plans: The new Honda Civic Coupe is now on sale.
Lincoln Navigator Concept — New York
In March Lincoln debuted a stunning Navigator Concept at the 2016 New York International Auto Show, offering a look at what to expect next in a full-size SUV from Ford’s luxury brand. Inspired by luxury sailboats and yachts, a nautical theme carries throughout the design via the body lines, Storm Blue paint and teak wood trim. At the front is a larger, taller version of the grille design from the new Lincoln Continental sedan. Power gullwing doors provide easy access to a spacious interior. The doors are wide enough to access both rows and feature a series of three deploying teak stairs that drop when the doors are raised.
Lincoln Navigator Concept
Inside, the Navigator Concept boasts the most spacious Lincoln interior ever with six Lincoln-patented Perfect Position Seats that adjust 30 different ways, finished in light blue leather. Monitors behind the head restraints provide second- and third-row passengers with Wi-Fi connectivity to share music and content from personal devices. For the driver a large panel displays key information and can be customized from a touchscreen in the center stack. The cargo area has a wardrobe management system replete with everything you might need for a day on the water. Power comes from a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 engine that produces more than 400 horsepower, along with new technology to adjust for variable surfaces and weather conditions.
Future Plans: The Navigator is the last model in the Lincoln lineup to get a complete redesign, so we fully expect a production version based on this concept to be arriving soon. However, don’t expect these large gullwing doors in the production model, and the wardrobe management system is also unlikely to make the cut.
Jeep Crew Chief 715 — Easter Jeep Safari
Built as a salute to Jeep’s legendary service in the U.S. military — particularly the Kaiser M715 — the Crew Chief is based on the 4-door Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. The steel front and rear bumpers, 20-inch wheels and 40-inch NDT military tires respectfully reflect the ability of the original military Jeeps to get troops through rugged terrain.
Jeep Crew Chief 715
The Crew Chief’s additional capabilities are made possible through off-road rock rails, winches mounted into the front and rear bumpers, Dana 60 front and rear axles and a 4-inch lift kit. Inside are leather bucket seats with canvas inserts, aircraft-inspired control switches and Mopar all-weather mats.
Future Plans: Although we don’t expect Jeep to put this vehicle into production, just about all the components are available for Jeep enthusiasts to purchase today.
Jeep Trailstorm — Easter Jeep Safari
Straight from the factory, the Jeep Wrangler offers impressive off-road ability, but the Trailstorm concept takes things to another level. The Trailstorm gets outfitted with 37-inch off-road tires, a 2-inch lift kit, Jeep Performance Parts/Fox shocks, a Jeep Performance Parts Rubicon winch, and Dana 44 front and rear axles.
The Trailstorm also features a winch guard, steel front and rear bumpers, LED headlights and fog lights, high-top fenders, a power-dome vented hood, Mopar off-road rock rails with a step, and a camouflage wrap to blend into desert terrain.
Future Plans: Jeep won’t build this, but you could certainly build it yourself with available Jeep parts.
Jeep Trailcat — Easter Jeep Safari
If the Jeep Wrangler is the ultimate off-roader and the Hellcat engine one of the most powerful on the road, then the Trailcat combines these to create the ultimate off-road machine. At the heart of this Jeep is a 6.2-liter supercharged HEMI V8 engine putting out a massive 707 horsepower, teamed with a 6-speed manual transmission. All that power makes plenty of dust with 17-inch beadlock wheels and 39.5-inch BFGoodrich Krawler T/A KX tires, front and rear Dana 60 axles and Fox shocks.
The Jeep’s wheelbase has been extended by 12 inches and the windshield has been chopped, giving what is normally a boxy vehicle a sleeker look. Other styling updates include a power-dome vented hood, satin black grille, LED headlights and fog lamps, and rock rails. Inside are sport bucket seats from the Dodge Viper featuring Katzkin leather seat covers with accent stitching.
Future Plans: Even though the vaunted Hellcat engine will be coming soon in a Grand Cherokee, we don’t expect to see a 700-horsepower production Wrangler anytime soon.
Jeep Comanche — Easter Jeep Safari
Jeep has announced a pickup truck is on the way, but this isn’t it. This Comanche is a nod to Jeep pickups of the past, specifically the Comanche sold in the late 1980s. This Comanche is based on one of Jeep’s newest models, the Renegade. The wheelbase has been stretched to make room for the 5-foot pickup truck bed, and the Comanche also features a lower front fascia, winch, a steel rear bumper, a soft-top and spare tire in the bed. This Jeep pickup is painted in “Beige Against the Machine” and accented with a satin black hood.
Jeep raided the Performance Parts bin and added off-road rock rails and a 2-inch lift kit to go with the 16-inch painted wheels and 32-inch BFGoodrich All Terrain T/A tires. Inside are custom seat covers, pedal covers, door sill guards and Mopar all-weather mats.
Future Plans: A pickup truck version of the Renegade would be cool, although we don’t expect this one will go into production.
Cadillac Escala Concept — Pebble Beach Concours
Debuting this past summer at the 2016 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the gorgeous Escala concept also graced the Cadillac display at the L.A. Auto Show. The Spanish word for “scale,” Escala suggests what a new flagship sedan from GM’s luxury marque might look like. The 4-door sedan is larger than the recently launched CT6 and features a liftback design similar to the Audi A7. In addition to showcasing a new face for Cadillac, the Escala’s interior highlights unique assembly techniques as well as advanced display screens and technology.
Cadillac Escala Concept
“Escala is a concept with two clear objectives,” said Johan de Nysschen, president of Cadillac. “First, Escala is a statement of intent for the next iteration of the Cadillac design language, and also technical concepts in development for future Cadillac models. Secondly, Escala builds Cadillac’s aspirational character, signaling the brand’s return to the pinnacle of premium.” Bold statements indeed.
Future Plans: We don’t expect to see this exact car reach production, but the styling cues and general shape are likely to appear in future production models.
BMW 2002 Hommage — Pebble Beach Concours
There have been several Hommage cars from BMW over the years — the latest being the 2002 Hommage. The concept is based on the powerful M2 and commemorates the 1973 BMW 2002 turbo which became the first series-produced vehicle in Europe to feature turbo technology. This is further emphasized by the large “Turbomeister” painted on the side. The long wheelbase, short overhangs and prominent “shark nose” add to the Hommage look.
BMW 2002 Hommage
“The BMW 2002 Hommage celebrates the extraordinary feats of engineering on which BMW turbo technology is based and re-interprets them in the form of a design study,” said Karim Habib, head of design at BMW Automobiles. “With its iconic orange/black paintwork, the car has a color scheme and livery synonymous in the minds of many motorsport fans with the triumphs of the 1970s,” Habib notes.
Future Plans: The 2002 Hommage will likely remain one-off design, however we would welcome a retro-styled production M2 commemorating the classic 2002.
Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 — Pebble Beach Concours
Mercedes-Benz revealed this stunning luxury coupe at a private event adjacent to the famed Pebble Beach Golf Links a few days prior to this year’s Concours. Measuring more than 18 feet long, the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 offers classic coupe proportions with a very long hood, a low roofline and the cabin positioned toward the rear. The Maybach marque has a long history of building elegant luxury vehicles, and this Vision concept upholds that tradition by possessing enough elegance to wear the prestigious double M logo.
Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6
The gullwing doors on the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 add another level of exotic elegance to this already extreme-looking coupe. The Maybach features four compact permanent-magnet synchronous electric motors — one at each wheel — creating a high-tech all-wheel-drive system. Total output is expected to be an impressive 738 horsepower.
Future Plans: Even though this exact car will never reach production, the powertrain technology as well as styling elements could end up on a high-end production model.
Honda Civic Type R Prototype — Paris Motor Show
In the past the Civic Type R has been sold overseas, but this latest-generation — showcased as a prototype in Paris — will indeed be sold stateside, which will be cause for celebration among Civic fans. Based on the new Civic hatchback, the Type R Prototype looks downright mean with a black brushed-aluminum looking finish and carbon fiber trim. Lurking out back on the Civic Type R Prototype are a large rear spoiler and three exhaust outlets — the middle one is red.
Honda Civic Type R Prototype
The final production version of the Civic Type R may be toned down a bit, but we fully expect the Type R to stand out from the crowd. Honda has not released any official stats about power, but some enthusiast publications are reporting more than 300 horses could be possible.
Future Plans: Look for the final production version of the Civic Type R to debut in America sometime next spring.
Mercedes-Benz Generation EQ — Paris Motor Show
Mercedes-Benz showed their vision for the future of electric vehicles in Paris with the world premiere of the Generation EQ, a concept utility vehicle with the look of a sport wagon. Powered by two electric motors with permanent all-wheel drive, system output can increase up to 300 kW with a range up to 300 miles. The Generation EQ black panel front design includes an illuminated Mercedes star and blue lighting to simulate a Mercedes grille.
Mercedes-Benz Generation EQ
Inside, the Generation EQ features touch controls with a large floating widescreen display. Committed to more electric vehicles for the future, Mercedes-Benz will develop EQ as a new brand for future battery-electric vehicles, built on a new vehicle architecture that will permit the development of different sizes and types.
Future Plans: Mercedes describes the Generation EQ as a “close-to-production” concept.
Volkswagen I.D. — Paris Motor Show
One of the hits of the 2016 Paris Motor Show, the Volkswagen I.D. electric concept offers a first look at VW’s plans for a series of new electric vehicles beginning in 2020. Showcasing a new design direction for electric vehicles, VW’s Open Space layout offers a new interior experience as well. Powered by a 168-horsepower electric motor with a range between 249 and 373 miles, the production version of I.D. will have a price comparable to a well-equipped Golf, and it will surely reach the U.S. market.
The Volkswagen I.D. also offers a look at autonomous driving, with a multifunction steering wheel that retracts into the dash in fully-automated Pilot I.D. mode. Volkswagen plans to offer fully-automated driving beginning in 2025. The production Volkswagen I.D. will also advance vehicle connectivity, with each owner receiving a Volkswagen ID with an individual profile for the car, ability to authenticate the driver and connect the car with the home.
Future Plans: Volkswagen has made it clear that electric drive is its future, and the I.D. is expected to lead that charge; however, it will still be a few years before we see this car in production.
GLM G4 — Paris Motor Show
If you haven’t heard of GLM before, don’t be surprised — we hadn’t either. The electric vehicle manufacturer has been around for several years and has already produced an EV vehicle in Japan. And the company certainly made itself known at this year’s Paris show. The G4 is a luxury exotic with an elegant interior offering seating for four. Although cabin access on many exotics requires some contortionist skills, the G4 makes the task easy with front and rear scissor doors.
Unlike most exotics, the G4 is all electric. Using twin electric motors — one at each axle — with a total output of more than 530 horsepower, the G4 can reach 60 mph in less than 3.7 seconds. GLM also claims a range of just under 250 miles.
Future Plans: Although we’ve seen plenty of one-of-a-kind vehicles like the G4 that never made it to production, GLM seems to have the credentials to make this a real car. We’ll keep our fingers crossed.
Renault Trezor Concept — Paris Motor Show
Easily the most extreme concept car at the Paris show, the Trezor is a two-seat electric sports coupe. As Renault calls out in their press materials, “this electric GT embodies our vision of future mobility and our automotive passion.” The long hood, bulging fenders and wide stance showcase the high-performance capabilities of this sleek sports car. Lines are smooth from fender to fender since there are no doors to break up the design.
Renault Trezor Concept
Occupants access the Trezor cabin through a clamshell that raises up and forward. The wraparound windshield and glass roof provide an airy feeling in the cabin. Inside is a red wooden dashboard that incorporates a luggage compartment where you’ll find custom-made luggage strapped in. The deep red leather seats contrast the high-tech controls and unique rectangular steering wheel.
Future Plans: Perhaps this is what cars will look like in the distant future— we can only hope.
BMW Concept X2 — Paris Motor Show
In all honesty, we have not been fans of the styling on the current BMW coupe-like SUVs such as the X4 and X6, but this Concept X2 looks good. The classic kidney grille has been made larger and bolder, surrounded by large air intakes and a bulging hood. The headlights are hexagonal rather than the traditional round units and feature a blue X in the center, making use of laser light technology.
BMW Concept X2
The X2’s silhouette is more of a sportback than a coupe, but the sleek lines make it look like it’s moving fast even at a standstill. Large 21-inch wheels fit nicely under the bulging fenders, and the bright orange paint and brushed aluminum accents certainly catch the eye. No interior this time around, but perhaps on the next iteration.
Future Plans: The shape and design elements of the X2 concept look ready for production, so we’re hoping to see a final version of the X2 in the next few years.
Lexus UX Concept — Paris Motor Show
Toyota’s luxury brand provided a glimpse into what a future compact crossover might look like with the debut of the UX Concept in Paris. Designed by the Lexus design center in the South of France, the UX Concept combines the bold exterior styling of an off-roader with the interior of a 4-seat sport coupe. The recognizable large Lexus grille has a 3D look to it, while headlights flow into the larger fenders.
Lexus UX Concept
The UX interior features a high-tech dash and center console to accompany a high-tech steering wheel. Front seats stand out in this concept, made of straps woven around a sturdy frame so air and light move through them. The rear seat is more of a lounge area, wrapping into the rear doors.
Future Plans: The basic shape of this concept is likely an indicator of the next-generation Lexus NX, but beyond that this vehicle is primarily for show.
Mitsubishi GT-PHEV Ground Tourer Concept — Paris Motor Show
This large vehicle is the latest in a line of SUV concepts that we’ve seen from Mitsubishi. The GT-PHEV represent the brand’s current design language with bold front and rear styling, as well as short overhangs indicating its off-road ability. With no door handles, the profile offers clean lines. The burgundy roof ties to the interior, matching the burgundy leather trim.
Mitsubishi GT-PHEV Ground Tourer Concept
The concept’s plug-in hybrid powertrain features a next-generation high-capacity battery package, three highly-efficient high-output motors and an engine designed especially for the PHEV system. One electric motor sits up front with two at the rear, providing excellent performance via an electric all-wheel-drive system. Mitsubishi says the PHEV would have an electric-only range of around 75 miles and a total hybrid cruising range of almost 750 miles.
Future Plans: Although we’ll probably never see a vehicle that looks like this on the road, the powertrain that Mitsubishi describes could eventually end up in a future Mitsubishi model, but we wouldn’t expect to see it for several years.
Hyundai Santa-Fast — SEMA
Aside from the custom wrap and unique grille, this Santa Fe concept may look like Hyundai’s popular 7-passenger crossover, but it’s no run-of-the-mill SUV. This special version Hyundai created with partner Bisimoto has been aptly named “Santa-Fast.” Bisimoto reconfigured the Santa Fe from front- to rear-wheel drive, then created a Hyundai-based 3.8-liter V6 powerplant with twin turbochargers to produce an insane 1040 horsepower.
“Bisimoto takes pleasure in making any vehicle fun to drive, even a larger SUV,” said ‘Bisi Ezerioha, owner of Bisimoto. “Our Santa-Fast SUV is a proof-of-concept vehicle with driving capabilities that our customers can count on every day they turn the key.”
Future Plans: Never going to happen.
Chevrolet Colorado ZH2 — SEMA
One of the many vehicles Chevrolet showcased at SEMA is this special Colorado ZH2. The H2 stands for hydrogen, since this Colorado is an electric vehicle powered by a hydrogen fuel cell. The ZH2 is a demonstration vehicle being tested by the U.S. Army to evaluate the effectiveness of a hydrogen fuel cell-powered off-road vehicle. With 12 inches of ground clearance, a 48-degree approach angle and body panels made from carbon fiber with Kevlar reinforcements, the ZH2 can handle the toughest terrain — and it will do so silently.
Chevrolet Colorado ZH2
“The ZH2 integrates the strong foundation of the Colorado midsize pickup architecture with GM’s advanced hydrogen fuel cell propulsion technology,” said Jim Campbell, vice president of Chevrolet Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “It combines the lessons Chevrolet has learned during 3.1 million real-world miles of testing hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicles.”
Future Plans: The technology and powertrain in this special Colorado could certainly end up in a production vehicle sometime in the next five to 10 years.
Toyota Land Speed Cruiser — SEMA
Toyota’s Land Cruiser is one of the more impressive SUVs for tackling off-road conditions; however, this concept has a different, singular purpose — to go very fast. “From the outside, the Land Speed Cruiser appears quite normal, quite subtle,” said Toyota motorsports technical center manager Chuck Wade. “This is what makes it so special. Every single system and component has been touched. The trick is getting the body back onto the heavily modified frame.”
Toyota Land Speed Cruiser
The low-slung Land Speed Cruiser sports a twin-turbo V8 engine that puts out an astounding 2000 horsepower, giving this wild SUV a top speed of 220 mph.
Future Plans: We don’t expect to see a 2000-horsepower anything on public roads anytime soon.
Chevrolet Camaro Turbo AutoX — SEMA
Modified to optimize performance on autocross courses, the Camaro Turbo AutoX concept is finished in Shock Yellow with Satin Carbon Fiber accents for the mirrors, hood, rocker panels and rear diffuser, as well as Pearl Nickel hood accent stripes. Exterior modifications include 20-inch wheels with SS rear wheels, Chevrolet Accessories lower grille painted pearl nickel, a modified SS front splitter, an SS hood with Carbon Flash Metallic vents and Chevrolet Accessories Ground Effects kit with side rockers and rear diffuser.
Chevrolet Camaro Turbo AutoX
Performance upgrades for the Camaro Turbo AutoX feature a Chevrolet Performance 6-piston front brake upgrade with Shock Yellow calipers, a suspension handling kit, a short shifter, air intake and strut tower brace. Interior features include black leather, a black suede-wrapped steering wheel, ZL1 carbon fiber instrument panel trim, a bolt-in track bar and 5-point safety harness.
Future Plans: We don’t expect Chevrolet to offer this model as a production option but, like other Chevy concepts at SEMA, the parts are available for industrious consumers to create something similar on their own.
Kia Soul First Class — SEMA
A look at the future for business travelers, the Kia Soul First Class created by LUX Motorwerks is designed to optimize both work and rest. With no steering wheel or traditional dashboard, Soul First Class features rear-facing front seats that create a collaborative space within the Soul.
Kia Soul First Class
The Soul First Class concept has a motorized center console containing two tablets that appear for occupants at the touch of a button, as well as a 40-inch Samsung LED TV connected to a Mac computer system. Interior finishes include white and gray leather with diamond stitching, and gray wood flooring. The Soul First Class is swathed in PPG Lux Blue paint and has 19-inch Rotiform Monoblock CCV wheels.
Future Plans: No question that autonomous cars are coming, but we’re still many years away from facing backwards in a car and watching TV while driving to our destination.
Mazda MX-5 Speedster Evolution — SEMA
Lighter and more efficient than the MX-5 Speedster that debuted last year, the MX-5 Speedster Evolution further advances the idea of re-creating the lightweight, no-frills driving experience of an open-top 1950s sports car. A digital dash, lighter brakes and a lithium-ion battery reduce weight by an additional 100 pounds to just 1,980 pounds — 15 percent less than the original MX-5 starting weight.
Mazda MX-5 Speedster Evolution
Finished in White Ether paint, the MX-5 Speedster Evolution features a carbon fiber Mazda Design aero kit, custom trim seats, MX-5 Global Cup adjustable suspension, a Racing Beat custom center-exit exhaust, RAYS 57 Transcend Gram Lights 17-inch wheels and BFGoodrich Rival G force R1 225/45R17 tires.
Future Plans: As much as we’d love to see this special Miata on the road, the odds are against this ever going into production.
Jaguar I-PACE — Los Angeles Auto Show
Anyone fortunate enough to experience a Jaguar F-TYPE under hard acceleration knows that the British marque knows how to make performance sound good. However, the latest model from Jag goes its own way — it accelerates in total silence. The stunning I-PACE concept offers plenty of performance, but this sporty SUV is all electric. Two powerful electric motors — one driving each axle for all-wheel-drive performance — are integrated with the transmission and provide a total of 400 horsepower and 516 lb-ft or torque.
The I-PACE will accelerate from zero to 60 mph in around 4 seconds, with an estimated range of 220 miles on a full charge. The liquid-cooled 90 kWh lithium-ion battery pack is positioned as low as possible in the chassis and between the axles, which should provide for excellent handling.
Future Plans: Jaguar has plans to put the I-Pace into production by 2018.
Subaru VIZIV-7 — Los Angeles Auto Show
Subaru debuted the VIZIV-7 SUV Concept at the L.A. Auto Show as an indication of what to expect for a new, larger 3-row vehicle planned for the U.S. market in early 2018. The concept’s name doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but we’re told it is derived from Vision and Innovation. The exterior design possesses elements similar to the current Outback, but the VIZIV-7 SUV Concept also indicates that the next Subaru vehicle will be the largest one ever offered by the Japanese automaker.
The VIZIV-7 SUV Concept demonstrates how large the new vehicle from Subaru will be, with a wheelbase of 117.7 inches, an overall length of 204.7 inches, a height of 79.9 inches and a width of 72 inches. “The concept expresses our core brand values, safety, dependability, capability for outdoor activities and a forward-looking attitude,” said Takeshi Tachimori, corporate executive vice president of Fuji Heavy Industries, LTD — the manufacturer of Subaru automobiles.
Future Plans: Subaru has announced plans to bring a larger 7 or 8 passenger SUV to market by 2018, and while this may not indicate the style, it does provide ideas about the size of an upcoming model.
Honda Civic Si Prototype — Los Angeles Auto Show
Most buyers of the Honda Civic think of it as basic transportation to get from point A to point B — and for the most part they would be right. But there’s another Civic designed to make the drive much more fun — the Civic Si. The current generation of Civic doesn’t have an Si, but the prototype rolled onstage in L.A., which means it will appear soon.
Honda Civic Si Prototype
“With the new Honda Civic Si, we’re injecting even more sporty goodness into our 10th-generation Civic lineup,” said Jeff Conrad, senior vice president and general manager of Honda. “This will be, hands down, the fastest, best-handling Si we’ve ever offered to our customers.” With a turbocharged 1.5-liter engine and short-shifting 6-speed manual transmission, the Si will be available as a coupe or sedan when it joins the Civic lineup next year.
Future Plans: It says prototype, but we don’t expect the Si to be much different when it reaches production next year.