Top Concept Cars of 2017

© Automotive Content ExperienceA Look to the Future
Auto shows are great venues for consumers to experience the latest new vehicles from multiple manufacturers all under one roof, and perhaps even decide on the spot which wheels are right for them. Although new cars are the business side of the show, concept cars usually grab most of the attention. These one-of-a-kind automobiles emerge from the minds of designers and engineers who have the freedom to create vehicles unfettered by emissions or even safety standards, often without any specific price point in mind. Typically created as showcases for future technology or next-generation styling, concept cars add another level of excitement to an auto show. Take a few moments to feast your eyes on these amazing machines — concept cars from major auto shows around the globe in 2017.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceAudi Aicon — Frankfurt Motor Show
Audi debuted two concept cars at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show as examples of how the German automaker plans to continue developing autonomous driving. Called the Aicon and Elaine, the names of both concepts include ‘AI’ — artificial intelligence. International Automotive Engineering has adopted a five-level scale to define automated driving: Driver Assistance, Partial Automation, Conditional Automation, High Automation and Full Automation. The Audi Aicon is an example of Level 5 Full Automation, with no steering wheel or pedals — all driver controls are eliminated. Aicon is powered by four electric motors that each drive a wheel with a total output of almost 350 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceAudi Aicon
The Aicon features a unique design, since with Level 5 Full Automation there is no need to design around driver controls. The 4-door 2+2 features opposed doors that open to either end with no B-pillar; two individual seats that swivel up to 15 degrees for ease of entry or to turn toward conversations; and storage space at both the front and the rear due to the packaging of the electric-drive system. The seats can slide nearly twenty inches on a raised platform, and two additional passengers can sit on a fixed bench seat. When a passenger enters the vehicle, LED accents illuminate, a Personal Intelligent Assistant recognizes the passenger and activates all personal settings and a full range of communications and entertainment electronics.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceAudi Elaine — Frankfurt Motor Show
An example of Level 4 High Automation, the Audi Elaine shares its exterior design, electric drive and distinctive exterior lighting with the Audi e-tron Sportback design study that debuted at Auto Shanghai in China earlier this year. Elaine is an SUV coupe that features 23-inch 6-spoke wheels and lighting technology that uses digitally-controlled Matrix LED light units at the front and rear that use light as a communication tool. Powered by three electric motors, one at the front axle and two at the rear for a quattro-drive system, Audi Elaine will accelerate from zero to 62 mph in 4.5 seconds and has a range of more than 300 miles.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceAudi Elaine
Vehicles with Level 4 High Automation systems can take over driving completely without any driver assistance but are limited to specific circumstances, such as highway driving or a parking garage. Equipped with Highway Pilot, the Audi Elaine can take over at highway driving speeds from 37 to 80 mph. When Highway Pilot is in use, Elaine will change lanes automatically or pass and return to the lane without any input from the driver, but at any time the driver can resume control.

© Audi AGAudi e-tron Sportback Concept — Shanghai Motor Show
At this year’s Shanghai show, Audi took the wraps off its latest rendition of an electric car. Referred to as a “four-door Gran Turismo,” this sporty coupe / SUV features one electric motor powering the front wheels and two motors on the rear axle, creating Audi’s signature quattro all-wheel-drive system. With around 430 horsepower on tap, the German automaker estimates the e-tron can reach 62 mph (100 km/h) in a mere 4.5 seconds. Expected range would be more than 300 miles.

© Audi AGAudi e-tron Sportback Concept
The Audi e-tron features clean exterior styling with bold fender flares, a sculpted hood and large 23-inch wheels. Rearview mirrors have been replaced by cameras. Although it looks small in photos, the Sportback is about the size of an A7. “Our Audi e-tron will be starting out in 2018 — the first electric car in its competitive field that is fit for everyday use,” said Rupert Stadler, chairman of the management board at Audi AG. “With a range of over 500 kilometers (310.7 miles) and the special electric driving experience, we will make this sporty SUV the must-have product of the next decade, Stadler noted.

© Rod HatfieldAudi Q8 Concept — Detroit Auto Show
Audi introduced the futuristic Q8 concept at this year’s Detroit Auto Show. This full-size SUV with a coupelike roofline provides an idea of what to expect in a new production model from the German automaker in 2018. With design elements from the original Ur-quattro from the 1980s — such as wide, flat C-pillars and flared fenders — the Q8 combines the space of an SUV and the roofline of a coupe while still providing plenty of room for four people and cargo. The newest version of Audi’s octagonal Singleframe grille is one of the largest ever, dominating the front of the Q8 and surrounded by contrasting paint which extends through the headlight surrounds and large lower air intakes. Headlights feature X-shaped blue laser light signatures and digital Matrix laser technology.

© Rod HatfieldAudi Q8 Concept
Audi describes the Q8 concept interior as a luxury lounge for four, with seats covered in a combination of Nappa and nubuck leather with aluminum trim separating the top portion of the seatback. Interior trim includes aluminum and three-dimensional engineering grain. The instrument panel incorporates large touchscreens with a black panel that integrates into the design when turned off. The Audi virtual cockpit adds new features and improved high-resolution displays. A plug-in electric hybrid system combines a 3.0-liter TFSI V6 gas engine with an electric motor for total power output of 303 kW and 516 lb-ft of torque, delivered through quattro permanent all-wheel drive. The Q8 concept rides on air suspension and has ceramic brake discs.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceAudi Q8 Sport Concept — Geneva Motor Show
Following the introduction of the Q8 concept in Detroit earlier this year, in Geneva Audi took the wraps off the next iteration: the Q8 sport concept. Designed as the flagship of the German automaker’s SUV lineup, the Q8 sport introduces a stronger hybrid powertrain. With a 3.0-liter V6 engine and a mild hybrid system, total output is rated at 476 horsepower. Not only can this big SUV reach 62 mph in a mere 4.7 seconds, it also has a range of almost 750 miles.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceAudi Q8 Sport Concept
“The drive system of the Audi Q8 sport concept is a major step towards optimizing efficiency and sustainability in large-volume series production,” said Rupert Stadler, chairman of the board at Audi AG. “In the future, this combination will be used in many Audi models,” Stadler noted. Inside is a luxurious cabin for four passengers with a fully digital instrument panel and multiple screen displays.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceBentley EXP 12 Speed 6e Concept — Geneva Motor Show
The British marque surprised attending media in Geneva with a glimpse of a new concept car, the EXP 12 Speed 6e. Not only does this concept provide a look at a possible small, sporty roadster, it showcases Bentley’s commitment to offering an electric vehicle at some point in the future. Smaller than the Continental GT, the 2-seat roadster has a clean exterior design with flush door handles and cameras instead of rearview mirrors.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceBentley EXP 12 Speed 6e Concept
The interior environs of the EXP 12 Speed 6e concept are gorgeous, with dark leather, chrome and a solid piece of curved glass for the high-definition screen. Not many details on the electric powertrain were revealed during Bentley’s press conference, but it was suggested that the roadster would have the range needed to be a proper grand tourer — meaning that it should be able to drive between London and Paris (via the Chunnel, of course) on a single charge.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW i Vision Dynamics — Frankfurt Motor Show
An indication of the design direction for a new electric model, the BMW i Vision Dynamics would fit into the current lineup between the i3 electric city car and the i8 electrified sports car. Adrian van Hooydonk, senior vice president of BMW Group Design describes the i Vision Dynamics as “. . . combining electric mobility with the core values of BMW: dynamism and elegance. We are therefore demonstrating how the product range and the design language of BMW i can be evolved further into other concepts.”

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW i Vision Dynamics
The exterior profile of the BMW i Vision Dynamics creates a new evolution of classic BMW proportions with a long wheelbase, flowing roofline and short overhangs. A 4-door gran coupe, the BMW i Vision Dynamics accelerates from zero to 62 mph in 4 seconds with a range of 373 miles and a top speed of more than 120 mph. The BMW i Vision Dynamics sports BMW’s signature dual kidney grilles, but sensors turn the surface into an “intelligence surface.” The classic BMW 4-headlight system is replaced with two LED lighting elements, which includes all necessary lighting to evoke the familiar BMW look.
close together for interactive use and a single continuous display.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW Concept X7 iPerformance — Frankfurt Motor Show
From the automaker that forged its reputation with nimble, sporty sedans comes the Concept X7 iPerformance — a full-size luxury SUV to join the top of the X line of Sport Activity Vehicles above the current X5 and X6 models. The largest SUV ever to be offered by BMW, the 6-seat Concept X7 iPerformance provides a glimpse at the production version of the X7 that is scheduled to go on sale in next year. The plug-in hybrid powertrain of the Concept X7 iPerformance combines a BMW TwinPower Turbo gasoline engine with electric eDrive technology.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW Concept X7 iPerformance
Final details still need to be ironed out, but the overall design looks very close to being production ready. The Concept X7 iPerformance features a large version of the signature BMW dual-kidney grille, ultra-slim headlights and deep lower air intakes. Inside, the Concept X7 iPerformance emphasizes the amount of open space with simple forms and a panoramic roof, while luxury materials and the latest infotainment technology create an exclusive feel. Seats are covered in a combination of Dark Olive-bronze leather and Smoke White quilted leather. The instrument panel is reduced to essential information for a clean look, with the 12.3-inch instrument cluster screen and center touchscreen placed

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW Concept Z4 — Pebble Beach Concours
The BMW Concept Z4 is officially a concept, but the next-generation Z4 roadster is expected to closely follow this design. The Concept Z4 features classic roadster lines with a long wheelbase, short overhangs and a compact rear end. The car sits low and wide, which gives the roadster an aggressive stance and the potential for great handling. The Concept Z4 made its world debut at the Pebble Beach Concours in August and according to Senior Vice President of BMW Group Design Adrian van Hooydonk, “The concept expresses the new BMW design language from all perspectives and in all details. From the dynamic-looking front to the striking flanks to the clean-cut tail end.”

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW Concept Z4
The front end of the Z4 Concept offers a new take on the classic BMW kidney grille and the headlights are arranged more vertically for a new front-end appearance. Concept Z4 designers made the conscious choice to highlight the divide between driver and passenger. The passenger sits in a light-colored seat surrounded by matching soft surfaces, while the driver’s cockpit — which includes the center console — is black. The red start button and red paddle shifters reinforce performance aspects of the concept. Controls are integrated into soft-touch selectors, and a wide touchscreen and digital gauge cluster provide information to the driver. A subtle touch: dashboard vents match the exhaust outlets.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW Concept 8 Series — Pebble Beach Concours
It’s been twenty years since BMW offered an 8 Series in its lineup — the last was the flagship sports coupe that offered up V12 power in a very sexy package. The German car company has plans to bring back the 8 Series and has provided an initial look with this Concept 8 Series. “The BMW Concept 8 Series is our take on a full-blooded high-end driving machine,” says Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President BMW Group Design. “It is a luxurious sports car which embodies both unadulterated dynamics and modern luxury like arguably no other. For me, it’s a slice of pure automotive fascination.”

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceBMW Concept 8 Series
The all-new coupe design is recognizable as a BMW with its modern take on the classic BMW kidney grille. The Concept 8 Series has a wide and low stance with sharply angled narrow headlights. Large air intakes carry through to the doors which results in a deeply sculpted feature. The sleek silhouette gives the impression of moving quickly, even when standing still. While the final version won’t look exactly like the concept, we expect many of the styling cues to carry over to production and eventually trickle down through the rest of the BMW lineup. The new 8 Series is expected to go on sale sometime next year.

© General MotorsChevrolet FNR-X — Shanghai Motor Show
Years ago, auto designers merged wagons and SUVs to create the popular crossover; the latest trend combines the off-road qualities of an SUV with the styling of a sports coupe. The Chevrolet FNR-X concept is a prime example. A follow-up to the FNR concept shown in Shanghai a few years ago, the FNR-X gets a little closer to reality. “The Chevrolet-FNR is one of Chevrolet’s most forward-thinking concept cars, truly exemplifying the brand’s passion for innovation and ingenuity,” said Alan Batey, GM executive vice president and president of GM North America and Global Chevrolet. “The FNR-X builds on the design and technology showcased on the original FNR concept and embodies the belief at Chevrolet’s core that anything is possible,” Batey said.

© General MotorsChevrolet FNR-X
The styling of the FNR-X carries several obvious Chevrolet design cues, although its sculpted body, sleek lines and bold fenders suggest a futuristic look. A plug-in hybrid system powers the FNR-X, giving it the ability to switch between the gas engine and electric motor. Two driving modes are offered: V (versatility) and S (sport), as well as an adaptive suspension that lets the driver change handling characteristics as well as adjust ground clearance on demand. Optical and acoustical sensors virtually cover the FNR-X — used for the all-terrain Advanced Driver Assist System as well as autonomous driving assistance.

© Rod HatfieldChrysler Portal Concept — Detroit Auto Show
A new look at family transportation, the Chrysler Portal Concept debuted at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in the first week of January, before arriving in Detroit for the 2017 North American International Auto Show. An electric vehicle with more than 250 miles of range, the Portal Concept can recharge up to 150 miles of range in 20 minutes using DC Fast Charge. Millennials working in design and engineering at FCA US collaborated on ideas for the fifth generation of family vehicle following station wagons, minivans, sport-utility vehicles and crossovers.

© Rod HatfieldChrysler Portal Concept
Designed from the inside out, the Portal Concept maximizes interior space with a wide range of flexibility for multiple configurations. The thin seats fold flat, fold up and slide fore/aft on a track system for flexibility; rear seats can be removed. The interior features clean, sculpted lines with neutral and gray colors and jewel accents. The exterior design is highlighted by illuminated portal-shaped side openings, as well as articulated doors that open wide for easy loading. Portal uses lighting to interact and communicate via color-changing LED lighting at the front, on side portals and in the rear, which can be changed for different functions.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceGenesis GV80 Concept — New York Auto Show
Hyundai’s luxury marque is still in its infancy, currently offering just two models: the G80 and G90 sedans. But at this year’s New York Auto Show, Genesis provided a look at what’s coming next with the introduction of the GV80 concept. “There is a unique energy and diverse global culture to New York that is fitting for Genesis, and we are excited to unveil the GV80 Concept here,” said Manfred Fitzgerald, head of the Genesis brand. “This concept is an important milestone for the brand to share our vision of the future, introducing a further expansion of our product portfolio,” Fitzgerald noted.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceGenesis GV80 Concept
The GV80 concept provides a glimpse into a potential Genesis SUV with clean lines and signature Genesis grille. The simple interior features elegant materials, including semi-aniline leather trim with quilted diamond stitching on the interior door panels, seat inserts and center console. A digital instrument panel stretches across the entire dashboard. And since it was created as a vision of a future vehicle, the GV80 employs an advanced plug-in hydrogen fuel cell powertrain. Genesis reps in New York told attending journalists that a new production vehicle based on the GV80 should join the Genesis lineup within the next two years.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceHonda Urban EV Concept — Frankfurt Motor Show
This cute, little Honda concept was one of the most popular at the Frankfurt Motor Show, largely due to its simplicity. Smaller than the Honda Fit, The Urban EV Concept is built on an all-new platform with a clean, somewhat retro design. The Honda emblem is backlit in blue, which will be a new styling element for future electric vehicles. Between the headlights, messages can be displayed such as greetings, messages for other drivers or charging status. Honda Motor Co. President and CEO Takahiro Hachigo stated, “This is not some vision of the distant future; a production version of this car will be here in Europe in 2019.”

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceHonda Urban EV Concept
Inside, the Urban EV Concept seats four in two bench seats, the front seat finished in grey fabric with a wood trim seatback and armrests. The large floating dashboard console is also trimmed in wood with simple controls and a panoramic screen on top. A wraparound panoramic screen behind the console extends into the doors and replaces the side mirrors with camera displays. Slim A-pillars and a wraparound windshield improve visibility for the driver. The doors are rear-hinged for easy access.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceHonda Sports EV Concept — Tokyo Motor Show
Honda presented a new look at a compact electric sports car with the Honda Sports EV Concept in Tokyo. Combining electric vehicle performance with the advantaged of Artificial Intelligence to create a fun driving experience, the Sports EV Concept is based on the same new EV-only platform as the Urban EV Concept that debuted at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show in Germany. Unlike the Urban EV’s simple retro design, the Sports EV boasts a sporty fastback silhouette.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceHonda Sports EV Concept
While the Sports EV Concept design offers some of the retro feel of the Urban EV, the front fascia, flowing body lines and its name signal the Sports EV as Honda’s next-generation sports car. With a long hood and short rear overhang, the Sports EV Concept echoes a classic sports car profile. The front fenders arch over the front wheels and a blacked-out depression in the hood flows back to the greenhouse, creating a unique design element. Like the Urban EV Concept before it, messages can be displayed between the Sports EV’s headlights to communicate with those outside the vehicle.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceInfiniti Prototype 9 Concept — Pebble Beach Concours
Almost 30 years ago, Nissan’s Infiniti brand debuted in America. But imagine if the Japanese automaker’s luxury brand had existed back in the 1940s, in the heyday of wartime and postwar America. If it had, there might have been an Infiniti race car such as this sleek Prototype 9 concept that made its debut at the 2017 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. The Prototype 9 was built with traditional methods in mind — steel body panels that wrap around a steel frame were hammered into shape by hand. Even the 19-inch wheels are fitted with period-appropriate cross-ply competition tires. Infiniti signature design elements can still be found on the Prototype 9, including the double-arch grille and “shark gills” behind the front wheels.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceInfiniti Prototype 9 Concept
Inside the cockpit, Infiniti designers kept things simple, as would have been the case in a 1940s race car. In a modern twist, the gauges are in a fixed central hub made of turned aluminum. This hub is in the center of the steering wheel, which puts everything directly in front of the driver. The cockpit itself is replete in black leather with contrasting red stitching. Japanese flags are stitched into the integrated headrest of the single bucket seat. The Prototype 9’s overall proportions are clearly of a race car, with a long hood, short overhangs, open wheels and an exposed cockpit. Although the Prototype 9 has the look of a vintage race car, under that long hood is a thoroughly advanced electric powertrain.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceInfiniti QX80 Monograph — New York Auto Show
Designers of the QX80 Monograph set out to create a vehicle with a “commanding presence.” One look at this SUV confirms they were successful. Providing a suggestion of what a next-generation large Infiniti SUV might look like, the Monograph features a large, bold grille flanked by stylish headlights that have the look of human eyes. With flush door handles and rearview cameras instead of mirrors, the QX80 has an extremely clean style, looking almost sculpted in its satin exterior paint.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceInfiniti QX80 Monograph
The taillights of the QX80 mimic the look of the headlights, and large exhaust outlets project an image of power. The high beltline and massive 24-inch wheels add to the bold presence of this SUV concept. “We have listened to our customers to discover their expectations for a large SUV from Infiniti in 2017 and beyond. The QX80 Monograph illustrates how Infiniti’s ‘powerful elegance’ design language could be used to develop our luxury SUVs in future,” said Alfonso Albaisa, senior vice president of Infiniti Global Design. Although this vehicle won’t go into production, many of the design elements can be seen in the next-generation QX80 that is arriving in showrooms early next year.

© Rod HatfieldInfiniti QX50 Concept — Detroit Auto Show
Infiniti showcased its direction for a new midsize premium crossover at the North American International Auto Show with the QX50 Concept, a further development of the 2016 QX Sport Inspiration that debuted at the 2016 Beijing Auto Show. The QX50 Concept is the latest execution of Infiniti’s Powerful Elegance design language, combining taut lines with flowing profiled surfaces for an overall look that is more elegant and less aggressive than the previous FX and QX models. Infiniti has a recent history of production vehicles that remain true to prior concepts, and the QX50 Concept did not change much when the production model was recently introduced.

© Rod HatfieldInfiniti QX50 Concept
For the interior of the QX50 Concept, Infiniti designers concentrated on reaching new levels of craftsmanship for models in this segment via more modern applications of wood, leather and stitching. Three different types of leather — genuine, semi-aniline and nubuck — are used for different textures and depth, in three different colors. The upper cabin is finished in brown leather, in contrast to white leather on the lower dash, door trim and seats. A line of navy blue synthetic nubuck divides the two and covers the center console. A line of close double stitching runs along the top of the dash, doors and front seats. Infiniti has filed a patent for the dot quilting used on the leather doors and seats.

© FCA USJeep Yuntu Concept — Shanghai Motor Show
The Chinese car market remains important for Jeep, which is why the brand showcased the Yuntu concept vehicle at this year’s Auto China in Shanghai. Built specifically with the Chinese market in mind, this unique SUV is instantly recognizable as a Jeep, but features a futurist exterior design with gold trim in the logos and on the wheels.

© FCA USJeep Yuntu Concept
Inside, the Yuntu has a natural look via considerable use of wood trim throughout. Contrasting the wood are a multitude of high-tech video screens providing entertainment in each of the three rows of seats. The entire dashboard appears to consist of video screens providing a variety of information. Although no powertrain details were offered, the Yuntu does employ a plug-in hybrid system. The Yuntu was created in a joint venture with Jeep’s Chinese partner, Guangzhou Automotive Group.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceKia Proceed Concept — Frankfurt Motor Show
The Kia Proceed Concept was easily one of the sexiest cars at this year’s Frankfurt show. Designed at Kia’s European design center, the Proceed Concept is referred to as an “extended hot hatch”. The five-door concept has a sleek silhouette and rides low, giving the impression of performance and speed. The concept was created to provide a look at the next-generation Kia cee’d, a compact model that is sold exclusively in Europe. Unfortunately, it is just a concept so unlikely to go into production. And it’s based on a vehicle that is not sold in America, so the odds of seeing anything like this on American roads is rather remote. But we can still enjoy looking at it.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceKia Proceed Concept
Many cars, including Kias, can be identified easily by their running lights, however the Proceed Concept takes these lights to a new level. The outline of the side window graphic is illuminated to emphasize the fastback slope of the roofline. The Proceed Concept is coated in a unique Lava Red paint that seems to glow. It was created through a lengthy process that included 19 hand-applied layers of black, chrome-effect silver and red tinted lacquer that resulted in this glossy and lustrous paint finish. Inside seats are unlike anything we’ve seen before. The material is created from 100 meters of black elastane fabric which is cut and trimmed by hand to create rippled and ruched upholstery. While this concept clearly looks to the future, Kia designers wanted to give a nod to the past. A drawer in the dash can be opened, revealing containers with three different aromas, each with a nod to the past like the smell of aged leather or an oily garage.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceLexus LS+ Concept — Tokyo Motor Show
Toyota’s luxury brand debuted the LS+ Concept at the Tokyo Motor Show as a look toward a future Lexus flagship. Lexus describes the LS+ Concept design as the future of L-finesse design language for the LS sedan, including the evolution of a wider Spindle Grille that improves both cooling and aerodynamics.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceLexus LS+ Concept
The LS+ Concept includes the latest automated driving technologies that Lexus plans to apply in 2020, including Highway Teammate, which is intended for automated driving from entrance ramp to exit ramp. The LS+ Concept can also communicate with a data center to update software and allow new functions to be added remotely.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceMazda KAI Concept — Tokyo Motor Show
One of two beautiful concept cars that Mazda debuted at this year’s Tokyo Motor Show, the KAI concept is likely the one that could reach production. We have been expecting to see a new Mazda3 on the horizon, and it appears that the KAI concept is the first indication of the company’s plans for the small hatchback. Although the shape is familiar, all the edges have been rounded to create a flowing line from the hood edge to the rear bumper. The KAI’s silhouette is the most telling evidence that this concept is likely the next Mazda3. Wheels are out at the corners with low overhangs in front and back. The sleek look is further enhanced by the flush door handles and cameras instead of sideview mirrors.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceMazda KAI Concept
The KAI Concept’s grille is similar to the styling first observed on the CX-5 and CX-9, but the hood seems to extend over the grille, creating a more aggressive stance. Headlights are recessed into the bodywork and almost give the impression of having burned through to be exposed. At the rear, carbon fiber surrounds the integrated dual exhaust outlets as well as a rear spoiler. Unlike many of its competitors, Mazda is sticking with the internal combustion engine rather than going the electrification route. The company has pinned its future on the new SKYACTIV-X engine that powers the KAI Concept. Designed to provide diesel-like fuel efficiency in a gasoline-powered engine, this new technology will be the first instance of a gasoline engine that uses compression ignition in a production vehicle.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceMazda VISION COUPE — Tokyo Motor Show
Mazda wowed the attending journalists with this beautiful VISION COUPE concept. Continuing to iterate on the brand’s KODO design language, this concept indicates how design will evolve for future Mazda models. Employing what seems to be a growing trend among automakers, the VISION COUPE is a four door; however, it carries the lines of a luxury coupe. Most interesting is the evolution of the classic Mazda grille with the deeply inset headlights that further enhances the luxurious feel of this elegant machine.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceMazda VISION COUPE
The VISON COUPE’s silhouette is particularly stunning with its long hood, high beltline and sleek passenger compartment. Large wheels and bold rear fenders complete the look of a what could easily be a flagship sedan for the Mazda brand. The clean design continues to the rear with a sloping rear window, simple round taillights and quad exhaust outlets. Granted, car buffs would love to see this vehicle on the road, but the VISION COUPE is simply a concept at this point. That said, with a little luck and lot of positive feedback, many of these styling cues could be found on future Mazda models.

© Rod HatfieldMercedes-Maybach Vision 6 Cabriolet — Pebble Beach Concours
At the Pebble Beach Concours in 2016, Mercedes-Benz introduced the stunning Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 concept vehicle. At the time it seemed like the stunning car would be tough to top, but Mercedes achieved just that by removing said top. The Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 Cabriolet wowed the invited crowd at its world debut during at this year’s Pebble Beach Concours. Measuring almost 20 feet in length, the Vision concept makes a bold statement, built in the spirit of classic ultra-luxurious open-top cars. With the top down, the Maybach’s length gets accentuated by clean, sleek lines. The steeply-raked windshield gives a feeling of momentum, while the immense size is further enhanced by 24-inch light alloy wheels at each corner. Up front a modern interpretation of the Mercedes-Maybach grille has narrow horizontal struts, and its chrome finish plays well of Nautical Blue metallic paint. Mercedes reps say the grille was inspired by a pinstripe suite.

© Rod HatfieldMercedes-Maybach Vision 6 Cabriolet
The interior of the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 Cabriolet is just as elegant as it is futuristic, evoking the feel of a luxury lounge. The electronic display screen wraps around the dashboard and continues into the doors for a fully immersive experience. This high-tech environment gets offset by classic round analog gauges behind the steering wheel. The two seats are wrapped in white Nappa leather trim, folded and buttoned in a diamond pattern similar to Chesterfield furniture. Each button is backlit in blue with a small Mercedes logo. Power comes from four compact electric motors — one at each wheel to provide full-time all-wheel drive. Total output from the four motors is 750 horsepower, providing impressive acceleration. Mercedes says the range would exceed 200 miles.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceMercedes-Benz Concept EQA — Frankfurt Motor Show
Last fall Mercedes-Benz debuted the Concept EQ at the Paris Motor Show which launched the EQ product and technology brand. The EQA concept is the brand’s first all-electric model for the compact segment. The Concept EQA continues the Sensual Purity design language with reduced sharp edges and lines, and laser-fiber light technology with a spiral-shaped light. A two-box design with short overhangs, the Concept EQA has a sporty, modern character. At the front, a black panel festooned with LEDs replaces the traditional grille, creating a virtual radiator grille that can change in appearance.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceMercedes-Benz Concept EQA
Powered by two electric motors, one at each of the axles, Concept EQA has a total power output of over 268 horsepower with maximum torque of 368 lb-ft. Concept EQA will accelerate from zero to 60 mph in around 5 seconds, with a total range expected to be about 249 miles. Two drive modes, Sport and Sport Plus, offer different front to rear torque splits. Concept EQA can be charged at home or at work via induction or wall charger, and is also ready for rapid charging where available.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceMercedes-AMG Project ONE — Frankfurt Motor Show
Mercedes-Benz wowed the crowd during press preview days at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show with the debut of Project ONE, a 2-seat supercar with extensive use of technology developed through the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One race program. The powertrain is essentially the same as the team’s Formula One race car — a 1.6-liter direct-injection V6 engine with an electrically-assisted turbocharger that can spin up to 100000 rpm, sending power through an 8-speed automated mechanical transmission. The V6 can rev up to 11000 rpm, and a second electric motor links directly to the driveshaft for extra power. Two additional electric motors on the front axle provide acceleration and braking at each wheel for stability and all-wheel-drive control.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceMercedes-AMG Project ONE
Total power output for the complex system of turbocharged V6 and electric motors is more than 1000 horsepower. Mercedes-AMG did not release zero to 60 mph figures but did say that Project ONE will accelerate from zero to 124 mph in less than 6 seconds with a top speed of 217 mph. The 10-spoke forged aluminum wheels have a center lock with a carbon-fiber semi-cover that improves airflow around the wheels, wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires developed exclusively for this Mercedes-AMG supercar and paired with lightweight ceramic high-performance compound brakes. Inside, the carbon fiber monocoque has integrated bucket seats and a Formula One-style rectangular wheel with integrated controls at the center as well as LED shift lights. Still a concept car, the production version of Project ONE should not change much from this example. When it does go on sale only 275 will be built, and each will sell for €2.275 million ($2.72 million).

© Mercedes-Benz USAMercedes-Benz Concept A Sedan — Shanghai Motor Show
Mercedes-Benz has considerable worldwide success in the compact vehicle class, which includes the CLA, GLA and A-Class, although the A-Class is not sold in the U.S. At this year’s auto show in Shanghai, the German automaker presented a hint at what might be the company’s next compact sedan. “Our Concept A Sedan shows that the time of creases is over,” said Gorden Wagener, chief design officer at Daimler AG. “With its perfect proportions and a sensual treatment of surfaces with reduced lines, it is the next milestone of ‘Sensual Purity’ and has the potential to introduce a new design era,” Wagener said.

© Mercedes-Benz USAMercedes-Benz Concept A Sedan
The Concept A Sedan features coupelike lines even though it is designed to be a sporty, premium sedan. The A Sedan’s performance orientation reveals itself via the Panamericana grille currently used on the flagship AMG GT, as well as muscular wheel arches with special 20-inch wheels. The concept has unique lighting front and rear — the headlights are treated with a UV paint that lets them glow in different colors.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceMercedes-AMG GT Concept — Geneva Motor Show
It’s not as if Mercedes doesn’t already offer sedans with extreme performance, but the AMG GT sedan concept provides a look at a possible 4-door with coupelike styling and performance at the same level as the AMG GT coupe. “With the Mercedes-AMG GT Concept, we are giving a preview of our third completely independently developed sports car and are extending the attractive AMG GT family to include a four-door variant,” said Tobias Moers, chairman of the management board at Mercedes-AMG GmbH.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceMercedes-AMG GT Concept
A fastback design with a comfortable interior and space for cargo, the GT Concept derives power from an AMG 4.0-liter biturbo V8 engine combined with a high-performance electric motor to provide exceptional efficiency and performance. Power output would be impressive, rated as high as 805 horsepower. Mercedes expects this would be enough for this luxurious four-door to reach 60 mph in less than three seconds. We hope to see a production version of this sleek performance car sometime soon.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceMINI Electric Concept — Frankfurt Motor Show
Starting with the iconic MINI design — compact and agile for the urban environment — the MINI Electric Concept hints at a design direction for a future all-electric MINI. With an all-electric model planned for 2019, MINI is focusing on aerodynamics and light weight to maximize electric range. From a design standpoint, the surfaces are precise and contemporary, with accents and contrasts for the distinctive MINI attitude. Finished in Silver with contrasting Striking Yellow, the hexagonal grille and round headlights quickly identify the concept as a MINI, but the grille is closed for aerodynamic efficiency with a high-gloss yellow accent bar and MINI E badge.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceMINI Electric Concept
The silver and yellow color scheme evokes the earlier MINI E that underwent field trials in 2008 but never went into production. The matte white roof fades to high-gloss yellow, while the yellow of the side skirts fades as it blends into the body color. The 19-inch wheels are finished in dark grey with yellow accents, and the aerodynamic inserts are manufactured via a 3D printing process. At the rear, taillights have the classic MINI outline but they each present one half of the Union Jack with an LED dot matrix.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceMINI John Cooper Works GP Concept — Frankfurt Motor Show
Inspired by MINI’s victories in the Monte Carlo Rally 50 years ago, the MINI John Cooper Works GP Concept presents the modern interpretation of Mini racing heritage. Wider than the current MINI, the large front spoiler, rear apron, side skirts and large roof spoiler create an aggressive appearance, while lightweight materials such as carbon fiber are used to reduce weight. The bold front spoiler curves up to channel air around the front fender flares, and the carbon matting is visible via its high-gloss finish.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceMINI John Cooper Works GP Concept
The number 0059 on the front fender indicates the first year of the classic Mini, and the 19-inch Racetrack lightweight wheels are a classic multi-spoke design with Curbside Red Metallic accents and Highspeed Orange on the inner surface of the rims. Inside, the MINI John Cooper Works GP Concept gets pared down to basics with the rear seat, door panels and headliner removed and a roll cage, low-mounted bucket seats and 5-point seat belts installed. Despite the stark interior, the seats are covered with black patinaed smooth leather on the head restraints and side bolsters, with a black-and-white knitted textile for the seat inserts. Curbside Red and Highspeed Orange add detail to the interior.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceMitsubishi e-Evolution Concept — Tokyo Motor Show
The future of Mitsubishi — at least in America — has been called into question on several occasions due to dwindling vehicle offerings. However, the Japanese automaker is looking to renew its brand and sees the introduction of this unique SUV concept at the Tokyo Motor Show as a way of illustrating its path forward. The e-Evolution Concept pays homage to the brand’s proven off-road performance vehicles with a high-performance 4WD system. Motivation comes from high-torque, high-performance electric motors with high-capacity batteries that deliver the type of instantaneous performance not possible with an internal combustion engine.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceMitsubishi e-Evolution Concept
The e-Evolution Concept’s 4-wheel-drive system uses a single motor to drive the front wheels and two motors in the rear. A Dual Motor Active Yaw Control uses the two rear motors independently to improve handling and performance. The e-Evolution Concept also employs an artificial intelligence system that can read changes in the road and traffic conditions, as well as the driver’s intent. A coaching function can increase the driver’s skills and ultimately change the level of assistance based on the driver’s abilities. This unique-looking crossover remains a concept for now; perhaps some of these technologies will eventually make their way into a production model.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceNissan IMx Concept — Tokyo Motor Show
Nissan debuted the IMx Concept in Tokyo, which derives its name from Intelligent Mobility Crossover, presenting a look at the future of Nissan’s Intelligent Mobility. Both electrification and artificial intelligence are changing the design and engineering of vehicles, and Nissan is looking for a greater connection between car and driver, even as the definition of driving evolves. The IMx Concept offers fully autonomous driving with the steering wheel stowed and seats reclined in ProPilot mode.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceNissan IMx Concept
The IMx is powered by two high-output electric motors positioned at the front and the rear of the vehicle for all-wheel drive, producing a combined output of 429 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque with an estimated range of more than 366 miles on a single charge. The IMx Concept has a large-capacity battery yet the floor is still flat, with the rigid platform and low center of gravity contributing to responsive handling. The IMx Concept can drive autonomously for its owner, perform autonomously when the owner is absent and share power with vehicle-to-home or vehicle-to-building systems, as well as link to the local power grid.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceNissan LEAF NISMO Concept — Tokyo Motor Show
Nissan’s second-generation all-electric LEAF recently went on sale, and for the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show Nissan gave the new LEAF the NISMO high-performance treatment, including aerodynamic enhancements, sport-tuned suspension, high-performance tires and computer updates for improved acceleration response at all speeds.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceNissan LEAF NISMO Concept
Applying NISMO racing technology, enhanced aerodynamics reduce lift without impacting LEAF’s already impressive drag coefficient. Inside, the LEAF NISMO interior includes signature accents. Yes, this is still officially a concept vehicle, but don’t be surprised if Nissan decides to put this one into production.

© Rod HatfieldNissan Vmotion 2.0 Concept — Detroit Auto Show
One of the few concepts on display at this year’s Detroit show was the all-new Nissan Vmotion 2.0. This showcase of advanced technology also provided a look into the future of Nissan design. “Technology is evolving. So is design. At Nissan we see design as the ultimate expression of how customers see themselves, but also an expression of the vision and values of our brand,” said Shiro Nakamura, senior vice president and chief creative officer at Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. Nissan’s trademark Vmotion front-end design is still recognizable but has more of a 3D look.

© Rod HatfieldNissan Vmotion 2.0 Concept
The Vmotion’s warm silver paint with copper undertones seems to glow under the auto show spotlights, while the sweeping headlights and sculpted doors give the impression of movement even while parked on a display. The front- and rear-hinged doors open wide to reveal an elegant but simple interior with the instrument panel and infotainment system integrated together in the dash. Natural Zebra Wood is featured on the floor and inner door panels for a feeling of luxury and sophistication.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceNissan Rogue Dogue — New York Auto Show
The Nissan Rogue is currently one of the most popular crossovers among American drivers. Although dogs are not purchasing many new vehicles, if they could the Rogue Dogue concept would be high on their consideration list. This special one-off concept would certainly get them howling — or begging. This unique Rogue has been outfitted with all the creature comforts a dog could want. And it’s not just dogs that will be interested — Nissan cites a survey noting that 83 percent of dog owners say it’s important for their dogs to be as safe and comfortable in their vehicles as other passengers.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceNissan Rogue Dogue
A long list of dog-friendly features were added to this 2017 Nissan Rogue. Highlights include built-in food and water dispensers, a slide-away dog ramp for easy access to the rear compartment, heated air vents for a custom dog bed in the rear cargo area, a second-row dog hammock and harness clips mounted in the rear compartment. Nissan’s Rogue Dogue concept also has a 360-degree dog shower with a 10-gallon pressurized water reserve, as well as an integrated dog drying system with a heated compressed-air dryer and an outside hose attachment. Of course, dogs may not be as excited about this bath-time feature as their chauffeurs. Unfortunately, Nissan doesn’t currently have plans to put the Rogue Dogue into production, but if you (or your dog) think that they should, by all means speak, SPEAK!

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceNissan NV Cargo X — Chicago Auto Show
Nissan chose Chicago to showcase this one-of-a-kind NV Cargo van. Created with off-road builder and “Xtreme Off-Road” television host Ian Johnson, the Nissan NV Cargo X project van is a Nissan NV2500 HD, powered by a Cummins 5.0-liter V8 Turbo Diesel from a Nissan TITAN XD truck.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceNissan NV Cargo X
At more than 7.5-feet tall, the NV Cargo X is an extreme version of Nissan’s flagship commercial vehicle, riding on 37-inch General Grabber X3 tires with a custom off-road suspension. Other modifications include an LED lighting system, a 10,000-pound front-mounted winch and a tube bumper with custom skidplate. The Nissan NV Cargo X is finished with a black-and-white wrap.

© Rod HatfieldRam Rebel TRX — Detroit Auto Show
This one-off Ram concept is a study in the possibility of an extreme performance half-ton pickup truck, and is the most powerful half-ton truck the company has ever built. Created for the Texas State Fair, the Rebel TRX stands out with its big 37-inch off-road tires, unique front grille, big fender wells and bright red paint. But it’s what’s underneath that really makes the TRX something special. The high-strength steel frame increases durability and stability, while the custom off-road suspension is the result of a collaboration with Dirt King Fabrication in San Diego, California. Power in the Rebel TRX comes from a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 engine borrowed from the Dodge Hellcat, which produces 575 horsepower.

© Rod HatfieldRam Rebel TRX
With more than 13 inches of wheel travel, performance shocks and custom suspension, the TRX is built to fly off-road at triple-digit speeds. “The Rebel TRX can move through miles of rough terrain at incredible speeds, effortlessly absorbing impacts in a way that would very much surprise most people,” said Rob Wichman, head of Ram Engineering for FCA North America. “Engineering a truck with such a high tolerance for punishment keeps the focus on chassis development and durability,” noted Wichman. Although the TRX is fully functional, FCA currently has no plan to put a truck like this into production.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experiencesmart vision EQ fortwo — Frankfurt Motor Show
Electric drive was first offered for the smart fortwo in 2007, and today smart offers electric drive for all its models. The smart vision EQ fortwo is not only electric drive, but it offers a vision for autonomous, shared transportation. A level 5 autonomous vehicle, the smart vision EQ fortwo does not have a steering wheel or pedals. With the interest in car sharing services growing, smart vision EQ fortwo demonstrates how car sharing can evolve via autonomous vehicles, since users will no longer need to choose a location to pick up a car — the car will come to them.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experiencesmart vision EQ fortwo
The theory is that a user requests a smart vision EQ fortwo using a mobile device, the black panel on the front and the projection surfaces on the sides can be used to personalize the vehicle and alert users that their car has arrived. A unique feature of the smart vision EQ fortwo is the new door design. To save space and make access easier, the doors pivot like wings above the rear axle. Users communicate with the smart vision EQ fortwo with a mobile device or with voice commands.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceSubaru VIZIV Performance Concept — Tokyo Motor Show
Subaru pulled the wraps off its latest concept vehicle at this year’s Tokyo show — a 4-door performance sedan. Called the Subaru VIZIV Performance Concept, this sleek four door could be a first look at the next-generation WRX. Although this VIZIV Performance Concept is a four door, the lines are more indicative of a sport coupe than a sedan. The roofline drops dramatically from the B-pillar, which gives the car its coupelike proportions. The large carbon fiber fender flares surrounding 20-inch wheels bolster the concept’s bold look.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceSubaru VIZIV Performance Concept
Up front the VIZIV sports a signature Subaru grille flanked by “hawkeye” headlights. A light bar splits the grille and ties into the headlights, creating an interesting horizontal line across the front. Big air intakes and a hood scoop suggest a powerful engine under the hood. While the Impreza is all new, the high-performance WRX and STI variants remain on the older platform for 2018. Subaru has said that the next generations of WRX and STI are not expected until 2020, but it’s certainly not too soon to start teasing possible design concepts. We hope the VIZIV isn’t merely a tease — in the past, Subaru has shown high-performance concepts that were considerably toned down by the time they reached production.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceSubaru Ascent Concept — New York Auto Show
Subaru has been without a 7-passenger crossover since the Japanese automaker discontinued the Tribeca a few years ago, but that’s about to change with the introduction of the Ascent. An all-new model for the Subaru lineup, Ascent already looks familiar with styling that aligns it with the brand’s popular Outback. About 10 inches larger than the Outback, the Ascent concept featured two seats in the second row and space for three in the third row. The vehicle showcased at this year’s New York show was still considered a concept, but sources said it was unlikely to change much before production.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceSubaru Ascent Concept
Built on a variation of Subaru’s new global platform, the Ascent concept was powered by an all-new turbocharged boxer engine. Of course, the Ascent concept features Subaru’s full-time all-wheel-drive system. Production of the new model will be at the Subaru of Indiana plant in Lafayette, Indiana, alongside the Outback, Legacy and Impreza. The Ascent was designed exclusively for the North American market, and the production model made its debut at this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceToyota FINE-Comfort Ride — Tokyo Motor Show
This unique concept vehicle might indicate the future of the minivan. The FINE-Comfort Ride is more than merely a unique design exercise — it draws power from an advanced fuel-cell system. The fuel cell can be filled quickly, and Toyota suggests the FINE-Comfort could have a range of more than 621 miles (1000 km). Not only does this offer excellent efficiency with no harmful emissions, it also creates a larger, more flexible interior. Thanks to in-wheel motors, the FINE-Comfort Ride doesn’t need space for a central motor or drivetrain of any kind.

© Toyota Motor CorporationToyota FINE-Comfort Ride
With in-wheel motors, the wheels can be located at the corners, providing better ride and handling as well as creating a more flexible interior space. The FINE-Comfort Ride has seating for up to six occupants. Touch displays project around the driver and passenger seats for the ultimate interactivity. As Toyota points out in its press release, “the vehicle embodies future mobility that provides additional value other than movement to the passengers and is not simply just a ‘ride.’”

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceToyota FT-4X Concept — New York Auto Show
It’s been a few years since Toyota discontinued its iconic FJ Cruiser, and this new FT-4X concept looks like the perfect successor. Styled like a mini FJ, the FT-4X (Future Toyota 4WD Crossover) was designed by Toyota’s Calty Design Research in Newport Beach, California. Given its long list of unique, highly functional features, designers refer to the FT-4X as a four-wheel drive toolbox. “You can really tell that we had a blast designing the FT-4X because it looks fun to use and fun to drive,” said Calty Studio Chief Designer Ian Cartabiano. “I love this idea of mechanical satisfaction because while we’re living in today’s digital world, we took something that’s based on physical movements and made that a large part of what this vehicle is. We want everyone to interact with this car and feel a sense of delight and excitement,” Cartabiano exclaimed.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceToyota FT-4X Concept
There are many standout features on this fun little concept. At the rear is the Multi-Hatch with a large rotating handle that opens either as dual side-hinged doors for easy cargo access, or as one large hatch that provides shelter from the rain. On the inside of the hatch are warm and cold storage — keeping gloves warm and beverages cold. Interior lighting can be removed and used as a flashlight, the audio system can be removed to act as a boom box, and rear door handles double as water bottles. A GoPro camera built into the driver’s side rearview mirror captures video of whatever action might materialize in front of the FT-4X. Toyota has not announced any plans to build a vehicle such as this, but we hope some of the unique functionality eventually makes it to production.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceToyota FT-AC Concept — Los Angeles Auto Show
The Future Toyota Adventure Concept — or FT-AC, for short — debuted at the Los Angeles show as an example of a future vehicle Toyota might create for outdoor enthusiast who love to head for the hills, desert or beach. A bold off-road vehicle with a long wheelbase and wide stance, the FT-AC features a wide grille, bright LED headlights, fog lights, recovery hooks and skidplates.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceToyota FT-AC Concept
Aggressive fender flares on the FT-AC surround 20-inch wheels with all-terrain tires. The safari-style roof rack system could haul different types of adventure gear. A design study at this time, The FT-AC is Toyota’s vision of a next-generation gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain with a torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system, variable terrain-response settings and 4-wheel lock functionality.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceToyota GR-HV Sports Concept — Tokyo Motor Show
One look and it’s obvious that this concept is based on the sporty Toyota FR-S; however, the GR-HV also is clearly a bit different than the production model. Most noticeable are the unique headlights and targa top — the latter would be a great addition to the production FR-S. The GR-HV features a high-performance hybrid powertrain based on the Toyota Hybrid System-Racing in the automaker’s TS050 hybrid race car. Toyota hasn’t released any details about the powertrain in this concept vehicle, so we must assume it would be a proper blend of efficiency and performance.

© Toyota Motor CorporationToyota GR-HV Sports Concept
Most unusual in the GR-HV is the combination of a manual gear shift lever as well as pushbuttons on the dashboard to activate the automatic transmission. Drivers can select D from the buttons, or go with a manual mode that allows clutchless shifting in a typical H pattern with the gear shift; however, the transmission is an automatic, regardless of which method is employed for shifting.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceToyota TJ Cruiser — Tokyo Motor Show
American drivers are familiar with Toyota’s off-road-ready FJ Cruiser; however, the TJ Cruiser is a different take on an SUV. Described as a combination of SUV and cargo van, the TJ Cruiser has a bold yet boxy presence. A special paint coating on the hood, roof and fenders resists scratches and dirt. According to Toyota, the T of FT stands for toolbox, indicating that this vehicle offers plenty of utility, while the J stands for joy, which Toyota says is “in reference to the joy of visiting various places by car.” Toyota typically uses the Cruiser moniker on SUVs, but it fits this concept thanks to big tires and raised ground clearance. The TJ Cruiser features a front-wheel/four-wheel drive system powered by a 2.0-liter hybrid powertrain.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceToyota TJ Cruiser
The square cabin of the TJ provides a roomy, useful interior. With seating for four, the TJ has plenty of capacity for cargo of all shapes and sizes. If needed, all seats (except the driver’s seat) can be folded, providing a continuous flat cargo floor that can handle items almost 10 feet long. The seatbacks and cargo floor are hard plastic and have plenty of spots to secure gear. A large rear cargo opening, and dual sliding doors make loading a breeze.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceVanda Dendrobium — Geneva Motor Show
Another unusual debut in Geneva belongs to a company out of Singapore called Vanda Electrics. The Dendrobium is Vanda’s first car — named for the orchid it mimics when the doors and roof are open. Longtime Formula One team Williams F1 is a technical partner in this venture, which lends a certain level of credibility to the project, although unfortunately there isn’t a lot of detail about the mechanics of this supercar beyond the fact that it is all electric.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceVanda Dendrobium
Vanda also claims a goal of reaching 62 mph in 2.7 seconds and topping 200 mph (it’s unclear if the car has achieved these milestones). Depending on feedback from consumers at the Geneva Motor Show, production could start for the 2020 model year.

© Volkswagen of AmericaVolkswagen I.D. CROZZ Concept — Shanghai Motor Show
In the wake of Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal, the company has shifted focus to electric vehicles. Two futuristic electric concepts have already been shown, and at this year’s Shanghai show a third model in the I.D. family premiered — the I.D. CROZZ concept. In Shanghai, Volkswagen’s Chairman of the Board of Management Herbert Diess stated that “By 2025, we want to have sales of pure electric vehicles up to one million units a year. The I.D. CROZZ will play a key role in that. Production will start in 2020,” Diess noted.

© Volkswagen of AmericaVolkswagen I.D. CROZZ Concept
Volkswagen’s first electric-only crossover SUV, the CROZZ has sleek styling that VW describes as a “four-door coupe and sport-utility vehicle in one.” About the size of a Volkswagen Tiguan, the CROZZ features an electric all-wheel-drive system with 302 horsepower and a range of 311 miles on a single charge. Employing a fast-charger, the CROZZ can be at 80 percent charge in as little as 30 minutes. One of the many unique features of the I.D. CROZZ are headlights that act like eyes. When parked it looks as if its eyes are closed, only opening when “awakened.” As the car’s speed increases, the lights become narrower and more intense, as if the car is concentrating. Headlights will also “look” in the direction of travel.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceVolkswagen I.D. Crozz II Concept — Frankfurt Motor Show
Volkswagen plans to launch the I.D. family of zero-emission cars in 2020 and showed the latest version — the I.D. Crozz II — at the Frankfurt Motor Show. First shown in Shanghai in April, the I.D. Crozz II will be the second model to launch in 2020 after the I.D. four door. The I.D. Crozz II Concept unveiled in Frankfurt gives a stronger indication of what the second vehicle will look like, with a new color (Hibiscus Red Metallic), a new interior and electric 4Motion all-wheel drive.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceVolkswagen I.D. Crozz II Concept
Changes for I.D. Crozz II Concept over the first version include extended voice control, smart lights that become active once the driver or a passenger begins voice commands, and a light shade integrated into the illuminated panoramic roof. The I.D. Crozz II Concept is all-wheel drive with a 150-kW motor for the rear axle and a 75-kW motor for the front axle. When conditions dictate a different distribution, an “electric propshaft” redistributes power between the front and rear wheels.

© Rod HatfieldVolkswagen I.D. BUZZ — Detroit Auto Show
The second I.D. concept from Volkswagen, the I.D. BUZZ debuted in Detroit as an all-electric Microbus that pays homage to the beloved Microbus of years past. The electric drivetrain allows flexibility for up to eight passengers and two luggage compartments. Two electric motors — one driving each axle — provide all-wheel-drive capability and a total output of 369 horsepower. A new take on the original Microbus, design elements of I.D. BUZZ include a new interpretation of the VW in contrasting color, the friendly “face” of the Microbus and the short front and rear overhangs.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceVolkswagen I.D. BUZZ
A fully autonomous vehicle in I.D. Pilot mode, the BUZZ’s driver and front passenger seats can be rotated 180 degrees to face the rear. With a slight push on the steering wheel it retracts into the instrument panel and switches to I.D. Pilot mode. The floor is made of Silver Birch wood, and in the rear seating area aluminum inlays in the wood match the honeycomb pattern of the dash and steering wheel. The top sections of the doors are covered in a metallic leatherette, and seats get covered with a knit fabric in a graduated honeycomb pattern. The head-up display projects information via augmented reality, and the center console includes a tablet display and Beats Bluetooth speakers. At this year’s Pebble Beach Concours, Volkswagen announced plans to put the I.D. BUZZ into production by 2022.

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