Top Concept Cars

© General MotorsThe Bold and the Beautiful
Auto shows can be very exciting — experiencing all the shiny new production cars under one roof is a rush, although concept cars 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 like 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. Let’s look at the latest concept cars making the rounds at auto shows in 2015 — and what their future holds.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceAston Martin DBX
Feeling the need to expand the brand, Aston Martin shows one way of achieving that goal with the debut of the DBX Concept. A somewhat different take on the crossover, the DBX features all-wheel drive, seating for four and generous room for luggage.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceAston Martin DBX
Aston Martin CEO Dr. Andy Palmer tasked his team to “expand their thinking beyond conventions, to explore what the future of luxury GT motoring would look like in years ahead, “and the DBX Concept is the result.
Future Plans? While it is likely that Aston will produce a vehicle similar to the DBX, the vehicle on display in Geneva is clearly just a concept and not ready for production.

© Perry SternAudi Prologue Concept
Even the name indicates this car is leading up to something. A large luxury coupe, the Prologue reveals not only Audi’s interest in a new market segment, but also a logical evolution of the brand’s design. Although the exterior lines do not seem far from production, inside things are a bit futuristic.

© Perry SternAudi Prologue Concept
The Prologue’s entire instrument panel is an interactive surface containing three touchscreens for both driver and front-seat passenger. There are no buttons or switches, with all vehicle functions controlled through touch displays.
Future Plans? Many have referred to this as the new Audi A9, and given the way it easily slots into the lineup, the moniker doesn’t seem that farfetched.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceAudi Prologue Avant Concept
Giving more credence to the likelihood of the Prologue making it to production in some form, Audi showed off a variant of the futuristic concept that was first shown last fall in Los Angeles. The Prologue Avant Concept continues the design theme from the original, but takes it a step further with the added versatility of a 5-door Avant wagon.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceAudi Prologue Avant Concept
With an electric motor and efficient TDI diesel engine, the Prologue’s powerplant puts out an impressive 455 horsepower and can travel around 33 miles in electric-only mode.
Future Plans? While the design looks somewhat futuristic, elements could make it to production at some point. The Prologue Avant Concept’s powertrain seems more realistic and is likely closer to production.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceBentley EXP 10 Speed 6 Concept
One of the stars of this year’s Geneva show, the EXP 10 Speed 6 is a high-performance 2-seat sports car that Bentley is pondering for production. Considerably smaller than the Continental GT, the muscular-looking coupe is a modern interpretation of the classic Bentley design cues including the familiar grille and oval taillights.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceBentley EXP 10 Speed 6 Concept
According to Wolfgang Dürheimer, chairman and chief executive of Bentley Motors, “EXP 10 Speed 6 is one vision for Bentley’s future — a powerful, exquisite and individual concept. . . . It offers thrilling, driver-oriented performance, complete with trademark modern Bentley luxury and effortlessness.”
Future Plans? We agree with Dürheimer and hope to see this new sports coupe competing with the likes of Aston Martin, Maserati or Porsche within the next few years.

© Perry SternBentley Grand Convertible
When we saw this car for the first time we didn’t realize it was still considered a concept, since it looks so close to a production model. With styling similar to the flagship Mulsanne, the Grand Convertible carries its passengers in the utmost luxury.

© Bentley MotorsBentley Grand Convertible
The Grand Convertible uses 14 hides for the diamond-quilted leather trim, and the tonneau cover is mirror-finished and dark-stained Burr Walnut — it’s actually the largest piece of wood veneer ever found on a Bentley. With a 6.75-liter V8 putting out 530 horsepower, performance numbers will no doubt befit a Bentley, too.
Future Plans? Bentley is waiting for customer feedback before deciding on production. If they do build it, of course it will be a very limited run.

© General MotorsBuick Avenir Concept
The Avenir – French for “future” – easily fits the bill as a flagship Buick sedan. While it has the traditional Buick styling cues, Avenir looks quite modern with a bold new grille and full LED lighting. “Avenir embodies Buick design, which centers on effortless beauty and presence without pretense,” said Ed Welburn, vice president of General Motors Global Design. “It demonstrates the growing international reach of Buick and offers an exciting vision of where it can go.”

2015 Buick Avenir ConceptBuick Avenir Concept
Inside the Avenir we find beautiful ambient lighting and a center console that flows from the dashboard all the way to the back seat. While looking quite high tech, the interior is not so over the top that you couldn’t picture it in a production car in a few years.
Future Plans? As much as we would love to see this car on the road, Buick currently has no plans to produce the Avenir or a car like it. However, we could see much of Avenir’s modern styling carry over to future Buick models.

© Perry SternChevrolet Chaparral 2X Vision GT
Building full-size cars out of video-game renderings seems to be a hot trend, and that’s how the Chaparral 2X Vision GT transformed from pixels to pavement. This ultimate racecar was developed for the Gran Turismo 6 racing game on Sony PlayStation 3. Jim Hall’s Chaparral Cars had partnered with Chevrolet 45 years ago, and the 2X Vision GT was inspired by the innovative racecars that came from Texas-based Chaparral. “It was created in a no-rules atmosphere to challenge designers and test engineers to deliver the most exhilarating sensations. This is a fantasy car by design,” said Frank Saucedo, who oversaw the team that worked on the concept.

Chevrolet Chaparral 2X Vision Gran Turismo ConceptChevrolet Chaparral 2X Vision GT
As fantasy, the powerplant also stretches the imagination. The Vision GT features a mid-mounted laser-beamed energy-propulsion system that creates shockwaves for tremendous acceleration. With a 671-kW laser and an air-powered generator that puts out 900 horsepower, the Chaparral will be reach 240 mph in the video game with zero-to-60 mph acceleration of around 1.5 seconds.
Future Plans? A bit more research and development would need to be done before Chevrolet could build a laser-powered racecar, so the 2X Vision GT will remain within the realm of the video game — at least for the time being.

© General MotorsChevrolet Bolt Concept
Aside from the Tesla Model S, most mainstream electric cars on the market can only make it about 100 miles before they need more juice. An exception to this is the Chevrolet Bolt, shown as a concept car at this year’s Detroit Auto Show. The compact 4-door hatchback boasts a 200-mile range with an expected price around $30,000. “The Bolt EV concept is a game-changing electric vehicle designed for attainability, not exclusivity,” said General Motors CEO Mary Barra.

© General MotorsChevrolet Bolt Concept
Large wheels with short overhangs, along with a sleek roofline, give the Bolt a sporty look. The bright orange color doesn’t hurt, either. The concept also sports a number of high-tech features, including smartphone integration into the 10-inch capacitive-touchscreen and an automatic park and retrieval system that allows the Bolt to park itself, and then return to the owner when summoned.
Future Plans? General Motors has announced plans to build a new EV vehicle based closely on the Bolt concept. Expect the range and price to be in line with the concept’s claims, but park and retrieval may take longer. No official word on when production will begin.

© General Motors Chevrolet FNR Concept
General Motors provided a glimpse into the future of autonomous vehicles with this FNR concept that debuted at Auto Shanghai 2015. The concept was developed in Shanghai by GM’s Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center. With futuristic styling inside and out, the FNR features crystal laser headlights and taillights, dragonfly dual-swing doors, magnetic hub-less wheel electric motors, and a wireless charging system.

© General Motors Chevrolet FNR Concept
The FNR employs a roof-mounted radar that works with sensors to map the surroundings, making driverless operation possible. When the FNR is in self-driving mode, the front seats can swivel 180 degrees to face the rear seats, creating a more comfortable, intimate space. The driver can switch to manual mode through a gesture control feature.
Future Plans? Clearly the FNR will not be going into production; however, much of the technology showcased in this concept could someday find its way into a production car. Still, there are a number of hurdles to jump before cars will be doing the driving for us.

© Honda North AmericaHonda Civic Concept
It’s a big deal when one of the best-selling cars in America gets a remake, which is why this all-new 2016 Honda Civic is big news. Still considered a concept, the sporty Civic coupe that debuted in New York clearly shows what we can expect from the production model when it arrives in showrooms later this year. Civic will be available in sedan, coupe and 5-door hatchback versions, and enthusiasts will be happy to hear that there will be Si and high-performance Type R versions coming to America.

© Honda North AmericaHonda Civic Concept
In addition to the fresh styling and new platform, the 10th-generation Civic will use Honda’s first turbocharged VTEC engines, including a new 1.5-liter VTEC Turbo with direct injection and a sporty 6-speed manual transmission. Honda will also equip the new Civic with the latest safety and driver-assist technologies. John Mendel, executive vice president of the automobile division at American Honda, claimed, “In every way, this will be an epic Civic.”
Future Plans? Honda has already announced that an all-new Civic based on this concept car will be introduced later this year.

© Honda North AmericaHonda Concept D
At the most recent Auto Shanghai, Honda revealed this upscale SUV concept that could be the basis of a new flagship SUV for the Chinese market. Presented by Honda Motor (China) Investment Co., Ltd., a wholly-owned Honda subsidiary in China, the Concept D features a spacious interior as well as the latest in safety technology.

© Honda North AmericaHonda Concept D
“Including this Concept D, which is a proposal for a new value that only Honda can provide as the pioneer of the SUV market in China, we would like to continue providing attractive products equipped with our advanced technologies to our customers in China. Toward this end, we will accelerate the localization of our business in China”, said Seiji Kuraishi, president of HMCI.
Future Plans? Honda announced that an SUV based on the Concept D will go on sale in China in the near future, but we don’t expect to see this model in the U.S.

© Hyundai Motor AmericaHyundai Santa Cruz Concept
This concept caught our eye when revealed in January at the Detroit Auto Show, mainly because it looks like the perfect combination of fun and utility. Designed for the “Urban Adventurer,” the Santa Cruz Concept offers the comfort and convenience of a small crossover but with a more versatile cargo bed. “The Santa Cruz crossover truck concept meets the unspoken needs of a growing Millennial lifestyle we call ‘Urban Adventurers,’” said Mark Dipko, director of corporate planning for Hyundai Motor America.

© Hyundai Motor AmericaHyundai Santa Cruz Concept
At first glance it looks like a two-door, but the concept features rear-hinged rear doors for easy access to the rear seat. An integrated rigid tonneau cover that conveniently retracts when not needed provides a secure location for cargo. A tailgate extension allows the cargo area to be expanded.
Future Plans? While we think a vehicle like this would fit nicely into the Hyundai lineup, the small market for such a vehicle may not be enough to make the Santa Cruz financially viable. On the other hand, it could start a whole new trend if they build it. We’ll have to wait until Hyundai gathers consumer feedback on this one.

© Infiniti North America, Inc.Infiniti Q60 Concept
Nissan’s premium brand continues to refine its look, starting with the introduction of the Q50 sedan last year. The current Q60 is based on the older G Coupe sedan, so this new Q60 concept comes along at the right time. With sweeping lines and a bold grille, the Q60 looks powerful and sporty. The concept features a next-generation 3.0-liter V6 engine with direct injection and twin-turbocharging driving the rear wheels.

© Infiniti North America, Inc.Infiniti Q60 Concept
Inside is a hand-stitched leather-wrapped instrument panel with carbon fiber in the door accents. Rear-seat passengers get stylish bucket seats. “This concept goes beyond a flight-of-fancy design exercise; it is the next proof point in Infiniti’s concept-to-production approach. Come next year, Infiniti will produce a sports coupe with influences from the Q60 Concept,” said Francois Bancon, Infiniti’s vice president of product strategy.
Future Plans? As the man said, we can expect a Q60 Coupe based on the concept to join the Nissan lineup sometime next year.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceInfiniti QX30 Concept
The QX30 Concept shows the direction Infiniti plans for a new premium compact crossover, combining the lines of a coupe with the higher seating position and all-wheel drive of a crossover. Nissan’s luxury brand intends to enter the compact segment with the Q30 later this year, add a sport coupe based on the Q60 Concept revealed at the Detroit Auto Show next year, followed by a crossover inspired by the QX30 Concept.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceInfiniti QX30 Concept
The QX30 design is highlighted by a distinctive shoulder line that flows rearward from the headlights, swoops down and widens before it wraps into the rear glass. Large 21-inch wheels and tires makes the body look wider and thicker. The satin chrome front bumper, kick plates under the doors and the rear skidplate add a rugged vibe.
Future Plans? Expect to see a new QX30 crossover based on this concept introduced sometime in the next year.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceKahn Design Land Rover Defender Flying Huntsman Concept
The legendary Land Rover Defender is one of the most capable off-road vehicles ever built, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be improved. The Huntsman concept — created by British-based Kahn design — sits about six-inches wider and 40 inches longer than a standard Defender. The addition of a second rear axle makes this concept a 6×6 behemoth. The standard Defender engine wouldn’t handle the additional heft; it gets replaced by a GM LS3 V8 putting out 430 horsepower.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceKahn Design Land Rover Defender Flying Huntsman Concept
“With the Huntsman Concept, I set out to create something fashionable, iconic and revolutionary which carries on the spirit of the Defender,” said Afzal Kahn, CEO and creative director of the Kahn Group. “It’s a truly British icon in the same way the Wrangler is to the US, the G-Class to Germany or the Land Cruiser L70 to Japan. It’s instantly recognizable — if you saw one on the Moon, you’d know it was a Defender.”
Future Plans? Kahn Design is weighing consumer interest in the vehicle, but we’re told if you want one and have the funds, it’s likely they’ll build it for you.

© Mike Meredith Automotive Content ExperienceKia SPORTSPACE Concept
Geneva marked the world debut of the Kia SPORTSPACE Concept, a sleek, sporty wagon designed by Kia’s Frankfurt design studio. Purported to be a first glimpse of the 2016 Optima, the SPORTSPACE has Kia’s signature tiger nose grille, and is intended to provide stylish, exciting transportation for four.

© Mike Meredith Automotive Content ExperienceKia SPORTSPACE Concept
A full-length panoramic sunroof provides ample natural light. Luxurious leather complements carbon fiber and anodized aluminum, and the driver receives a configurable digital display. The driver and passengers sit on hand-woven single-piece gloss black leather seats, and the cargo area features steel rollers for loading that retract into the floor when the engine starts.
Future Plans? We could see Kia building a production vehicle based on the SPORTSPACE concept, but unlikely that car would make it to America.

©Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceKia Trail’ster Concept
The Soul has been the basis for a number of Kia concepts and custom models. The Trail’ster is the most recent, making its debut in February at the Chicago Auto Show. The Trail’ster exterior is just as innovative as what lies beneath. Still clearly a Soul, the Trail’ster looks ready to enjoy the great outdoors with its big off-road tires, a roll-top canvas roof and armored aluminum skidplates, as well as an integrated roof rack with aluminum cross rails to tote mountain bikes or snowboards. Trail’ster’s paint scheme also makes it a standout: Polar Pearl Snowdrift/Terra Bronze Metallic.

©Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceKia Trail’ster Concept
Under the skin, this concept has a high-tech all-wheel-drive system — a turbocharged gas engine powers the front wheels, while an electric motor powers the rear wheels as needed. At slow speeds the Trail’ster can run electric-only, with the gas engine providing a boost during strong acceleration.
Future Plans? When asked if Kia would put a car like the Trail’ster into production, Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing Michael Sprague said “it has happened before,” so we’ll have to wait and see.

Lexus LF-C2 Concept ConvertibleLexus LF-C2 Concept Convertible
The LF-C2 is a perfect example of designers having some fun with a car that doesn’t actually exist in real life. The 4-seat convertible doesn’t even have a top to close — permanent open-air enjoyment. But what really makes this concept stand out is the color. The brilliant golden yellow is produced by a multi-layer paint process, including a layer of silver and then yellow that reflects the silver — not an inexpensive or production-ready painting process. Adding to the sporting look is a custom mesh grille, LED headlights and 20-inch alloy wheels. “The LF-C2 concept shows what’s in store for our brand’s future design direction,” said Jeff Bracken, Lexus group vice president and general manager.

Concepts3Lexus LF-C2 Concept Convertible
Aside from no top and glowing paint, the LF-C2 looks like the next logical model in the RC lineup, replacing the outgoing IS convertible. Interior appointments are very high tech, centered around a large video monitor controlled by a remote touchpad on the center console. A nice touch and counterpoint to all the tech is the classic analog clock between the central air vents.
Future Plans? While Lexus still calls this a design study, we think it’s likely there will be a convertible version of the RC soon that will carry many of the styling cues found on the LF-C2.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceLexus LF-SA Concept
Last year marked the 25th anniversary of the first Lexus model, the flagship LS 400, and this ultra-compact, sub-B-segment 2+2 city car explores new territory for Toyota’s premium brand. The LF-SA represents an extreme expression of the brand’s design philosophy, with the highly sculpted surfaces and angular patterns exploding from the center Lexus logo. The front of the car is dominated by the most extreme version of the brand’s spindle grille, with a three-dimensional shape that carries through the front fenders and defines the sides of the car.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceLexus LF-SA Concept
Despite the compact exterior dimensions, designers aimed to create a spacious interior that emphasizes the driver. The LF-SA has a fixed driver’s seat and adjustable steering wheel and pedals. The front passenger seat slides to allow rear-seat access. The information system includes a hologram-style digital display in the instrument panel and a wide-angle head-up display.
Future Plans? The LF-SA is very much a design study and while elements may find their way to production vehicles, we don’t expect to see this small concept in the Lexus lineup.

© Ford Motor CompanyLincoln Continental Concept
One of the stars of the 2015 New York Auto Show, this Lincoln Continental Concept focuses on what Lincoln calls quiet luxury. “Luxury at its best is about simplifying and quietly exceeding expectations, rather than being the loudest statement on the road,” said Mark Fields, Ford Motor Company president and CEO. “The Continental Concept showcases the promise of quiet luxury from Lincoln going forward.”

© Ford Motor CompanyLincoln Continental Concept
The Lincoln Continental Concept introduces a new face for Lincoln, as well as a new 3.0-liter EcoBoost turbocharged V6 engine, which will be exclusive to the luxury brand. The design features a sleek profile and a new centered chrome grille, replacing the previous split-wing unit. New technology includes E-Latch door handles, LED matrix headlamps with laser-assist high beams, signature full-width taillights with light-through-chrome technology and an SPD SmartGlass tinting sunroof. Inside, the Continental Concept includes Venetian leather seat and door panels, Alcantara seat inserts and armrests, and shearling wool carpet.
Future Plans? As announced in New York, a new Lincoln Continental flagship will be come to market next year.

© Perry SternMaserati Alfieri Concept
One of the most beautiful cars to hit the show circuit in the last year is this Alfieri Concept. Maserati claims designers created the Alfieri to remind everybody that although it has been concentrating on sport sedans lately (Ghibli, Quattroporte), the company has a storied history of building race cars and exotic GT cars — like the Alfieri. According to designer Lorenzo Ramaciotti, “The Alfieri is a transition point between 100 glorious years of history and the future that is opening up before us. I sincerely can’t say that we’ll see this car in production in two years’ time, but I’m certain we’ll see something very similar.”

© Maserati S.p.A.,Maserati Alfieri Concept
The sleek 2+2 coupe has lines similar to the GranTurismo, but with proportions more in line with a true sports car. This sporting pedigree is reinforced by the Alfieri’s “Steel Flair” metal-colored paint, as well as Maserati Blue highlights throughout the design. Inside is equally elegant, with Poltrona Frau aniline leather matched with copper, aluminum and other materials reminiscent of oxidized steel — commonly used in racing cars of the Fifties.
Future Plans? Maserati has confirmed they will produce the Alfieri, but the company has not been specific about timing. We expect to hear more in the next year; putting an entirely new Maserati of this magnitude into production will take some time.

© Daimler AGMercedes-Benz Concept GLC Coupe
Following the introduction of the GLE Coupe in Detroit earlier this year, Mercedes-Benz debuted a concept version of the smaller GLC Coupe at Auto Shanghai 2015. Combining SUV utility with coupelike style is a polarizing idea, but Mercedes and BMW have embraced the concept. The GLC Coupe looks ready for production with the familiar Mercedes-Benz grille and expressive headlights. The 21-inch wheels and raised ground clearance telegraph the utility of the GLC, while the sleek roofline provides a sporty flavor.

© Daimler AGMercedes-Benz Concept GLC Coupe
The GLC Coupe has a 3.0-liter biturbo V6 engine producing 367 horsepower, teamed with a 9-speed automatic transmission. Power goes to all four wheels via the Mercedes-Benz 4Matic AWD system. Gorden Wagener, head of design at Daimler AG, explained the concept thus: “With its modern and sensual design idiom, the Concept GLC Coupé gives a foretaste of future SUV models from Mercedes-Benz. At the same time, it embraces the typical values of tradition-steeped Mercedes-Benz coupes.”
Future Plans? While not officially announced, the press release from Mercedes describes this concept as “near production,” so we expect to see a GLC Coupe joining the Mercedes-Benz lineup within the next 12 months.

© BMW AGMINI Superleggera Vision
The MINI has always been short and stout — like the bulldog used in some of its advertisements. The Superleggera Vision is quite the opposite, primarily because it was designed by the Milan-based Touring Superleggera design and coachbuilding house. A merger of British and Italian design seems like it wouldn’t mesh well, but it works for this MINI roadster concept. The proportions are just right, with a stretched hood, long wheelbase and short overhangs. At first glance the Superleggera Vision seems to be more Italian than MINI, but further investigation reveals headlights and grille that are MINI-esque. “MINI and Touring both believe that proportions are the key factor of beauty, and share the same values of essentiality and innovation” says Louis de Fabribeckers, head of design at Touring Superleggera.

© BMW AGMINI Superleggera Vision
The interior showcases the essentials, with visible untreated aluminum sheeting and tube-shaped structural elements. The structural elements in the doors form grab handles and a Union Jack, discreetly noting the British origins of the MINI Superleggera Vision.
Future Plans? There have been recent rumors that this could make it to production by 2018, but nothing has been confirmed.

© Perry SternMitsubishi Concept XR-PHEV
Over the years Mitsubishi has created some great designs, but lately their cars have been less than exciting. That’s why it was such a pleasure to see this sleek crossover concept when it debuted at the Los Angeles Auto Show last fall. “We brought the Concept XR-PHEV to L.A. so that we could talk about our new design direction and how future products will be taking clues from its dynamic lines,” said MMNA Executive Vice President, Don Swearingen. “We also brought it to L.A. to reinforce the message that Mitsubishi is here to stay in the United States.”

© Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc.Mitsubishi Concept XR-PHEV
Not only does the XR-PHEV (yes, it needs a better name) showcase a very sexy idea of the crossover, it has plenty of advanced technology underneath that eye-catching skin. Driving the front wheels is a 1.1-liter turbocharged 3-cylinder engine teamed with a highly-efficient 160-horsepower electric motor. Combined they offer excellent performance as well as impressive fuel efficiency. The XR-PHEV can also deliver up to 1500 watts of power — enough to power a typical household for a day via the lithium-ion battery pack, or up to 10 days with a full tank of fuel.
Future Plans? While this exact vehicle with all its high-tech features won’t make it to production, we expect (and hope) to see the concept’s design elements and some features of the powertrain carry through to future Mitsubishi products.

©Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceMitsubishi Concept GC-PHEV 
While we love the styling of the XR-PHEV concept, the GC-PHEV (again, that naming has to go) is not quite as attractive. The angular lines are designed to give the concept a bold look, but overall proportions don’t seem right. But things improve as you look deeper. The powerplant is quite advanced — a supercharged V6 engine combines with a high-output electric motor, a sophisticated 8-speed automatic transmission and Mitsubishi’s full-time Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC) all-wheel-drive system. The hybrid powertrain offers high performance (335-horsepower total) with exceptional fuel economy.

©Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceMitsubishi Concept GC-PHEV 
Inside the GC-PHEV is what Mitsubishi calls a “tactical table.” Running between the seats along the centerline of the vehicle, this unique touchscreen device provides all passengers with access to the advanced infotainment system, and it can also interact with smartphones placed on the surface.
Future Plans? We think it likely that Mitsubishi will bring back a large, 7-passenger SUV; although the styling of the GC-PHEV would probably not make it to production, some elements of the powertrain might.

©Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceNissan NISMO 370Z Roadster Concept
On first look at the 370Z Roadster concept on display in Chicago, we assumed it was already a production model. NISMO is Nissan’s performance brand – NISMO versions of the GT-R, 370Z Coupe and JUKE already exist. “The idea of adding NISMO levels of look, feel and performance to a Nissan 370Z Roadster is one that we’ve been considering for a long time,” said Pierre Loing, vice president of product planning at Nissan North America. “The creation of the Nissan 370Z NISMO Roadster Concept brings that idea to life and lets us judge consumer reaction — which we predict is going to be outstanding.”

©Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceNissan NISMO 370Z Roadster Concept
The NISMO 370Z Roadster Concept is the first convertible to get the NISMO treatment, which includes tuned suspension, special interior and exterior features and a more powerful 350-horsepower 3.7-liter V6. The NISMO roadster features functional and fully integrated aerodynamic body pieces, including a custom carbon-fiber rear spoiler created specifically for use on this concept. The NISMO-styled interior carries on the sporting theme with black Recaro seats with custom off-white Ultrasuede inserts.
Future Plans? We would be very surprised if there wasn’t a NISMO 370Z Roadster looking very much like this concept available from Nissan within the next year.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceNissan Sway Concept
Nissan gives us a look at a future compact hatchback with the Sway concept, applying bold design to a relatively conservative auto segment. The Sway boasts four distinctive design elements: a V-motion grille, a floating roof, boomerang lights and a kicked-up C-pillar. Sway follows the new design language of last year’s Lannia Concept and the new Murano; it’s Nissan’s first application on a European hatchback.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceNissan Sway Concept
Sway gets swathed in Bluish Dawn Grey — gray paint with hints of blue that become visible under the right lighting conditions; particular body elements receive splashes of orange paint for contrast. The interior employs a darker blue with ivory, as well as orange highlights that match the exterior. The interior incorporates techniques from industrial architecture, such as structural aluminum elements; the “gliding wing” dashboard is inspired by Nissan’s IDx, first shown at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show.
Future Plans? Nissan is already hinting that it could build a compact hatchback closely based on the Sway, so look for more news on this in the next 6-12 months.

© Perry SternScion iM Concept
The iM Concept that Scion showed at last fall’s L.A. show is high on our list of cars we’d like to take out for a spirited drive. The 5-door hatchback’s gets design influences from European touring cars. The “Incrediblue” paint color certainly grabs the eye, and the sportiness continues with wide aerodynamics and a lower ride height, as well as 19-inch forged alloy wheels, vented front rotors and 4-piston calipers.

© Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. Scion iM Concept
Although the iM clearly offers great performance, it is also designed to be used every day. “The tastes of today’s younger buyers have evolved. They want a car that provides excitement and individuality, as well as the comfort, technology and reliability that Scion offers,” said Scion Vice President Doug Murtha.
Future Plans? Scion has already announced that a car like the iM concept will be coming to dealerships sometime in 2015, and we expect to see a production version in April at the New York Auto Show. Scion expects pricing to be around $20,000 for the new model.

© Subaru of America, Inc.Subaru STI Performance Concept
Subaru unveiled the STI Performance Concept last month at the New York Auto Show, with STI performance upgrades to the suspension, chassis, aerodynamics, air intake and exhaust. The STI moniker comes from Subaru Tecnica International — the performance division of Subaru. Power for this BRZ concept comes from a racing engine developed by STI for the BRZ Super GT race car. Body modifications include wide flared fenders, an aggressive front fascia, a rear wing, an aggressive rear diffuser and dual center exhaust.

© Subaru of America, Inc.Subaru STI Performance Concept
Subaru showed this sporty concept in New York to announce that the company will begin selling STI aftermarket performance parts, replacing the Subaru Performance Tuning parts currently available through U.S. Subaru dealers. “At STI we know from our racing that to win, it is important not only to have high power, but also that all aspects of performance are balanced over the whole car,” said Yoshio Hirakawa, president of Subaru Tecnica International, Inc.
Future Plans? With the availability of STI performance parts, it might be possible to build a BRZ that looks like this concept, but Subaru has no plans to build the small sports car with a more powerful engine.

© Perry SternToyota FT-1 Concept
Unlike other concepts built from video game designs, it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to imagine seeing this FT-1 on public roads. Like the Chaparral 2X Vision GT, the FT-1 was created for driving on the virtual racetracks of Gran Turismo 6. First shown in bold red at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show where it attracted considerable attention, the FT-1 was painted this classy granite color for subsequent shows.

© Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.Toyota FT-1 Concept
With the new paint and natural saddle leather interior, the FT-1 becomes even more believable as a real car. “From color and trim standpoint in the FT-1, there was a laser-like focus on staying true to function,” said Studio Chief Designer Wendy Lee of Calty Design Research. “This project was very special, as the FT-1 stands apart in its performance-driven, authentic purpose.”
Future Plans? The car itself is unlikely to exist in reality beyond this concept; however, there are rumors that this exotic sports car could be a precursor to the return of the high-performance Toyota Supra.

© Volkswagen of America, Inc.Volkswagen C Coupe GTE
The German car company has already revealed an SUV and 4-door sport coupe concept at Detroit and Geneva respectively, and this latest concept falls in line with what is clearly a future look for Volkswagen. The C Coupe GTE was designed for the Chinese market and provides a look at a luxury 4-door sedan. Low-profile side windows and a sleek roofline gives this concept a coupelike look. Inside is luxurious ambient lighting and seating for four. Rear passengers can access climate control and seat position via a touchscreen interface. A cooled champagne box adds to the lavish surroundings.

© Volkswagen of America, Inc.Volkswagen C Coupe GTE
Like the previous GTE concepts, the C Coupe GTE features an advanced plug-in hybrid system. A turbocharged gasoline engine is teamed with an electric motor and an 8-speed automatic transmission for a total output of 241 horsepower. C Coupe can run on electric-only power up to speeds of 80 mph, and fuel economy is estimated at more than 100 mpg.
Future Plans? Although the C Coupe GTE won’t make it to production, we fully expect to see a luxury sedan from Volkswagen in the near future that incorporates a number of these styling cues and features.

© Volkswagen AGVolkswagen Cross Coupe GTE
Volkswagen has already announced plans to introduce a new 7-passenger SUV next year, so the company provided a glimpse of what we can expect through this oddly-named crossover concept. Looking stylish in Grand Pacific Glacier Blue, the Cross Coupe GTE uses a plug-in hybrid system with a total output of 355 horsepower and an all-wheel-drive system that uses an “electric driveshaft.” Estimated fuel economy is rated at 70 MPGe.

© Volkswagen AGVolkswagen Cross Coupe GTE
The Cross Coupe GTE’s luxurious interior has forward-thinking looks, but not so much that it is impossible to imagine in a production model. All infotainment functions and the basic vehicle configuration are controlled via a 10.1-inch touchscreen using proximity sensors and gesture control. “Numerous details hint at how we envision a future production SUV model for North America. The underlying concept combines German engineering and design with a vehicle that suits the American lifestyle,” said Klaus Bischoff, chief designer at Volkswagen.
Future Plans? We expect to see features and styling cues from this concept appear on the upcoming 7-passenger SUV.

© Perry SternVolkswagen GTI Roadster
Originally developed as an electronic design for Sony’s Gran Turismo 6 (notice a trend here?), the Volkswagen GTI Roadster is stunning to see in person. The driver sits low in this radically-designed roadster, finished in an intense metallic paint known as Gran Turismo Red, which accentuates the car’s extreme angles. Distinctive elements include C-pillars that rise out of the rear flares and extend into the roof to create a roll bar, as well as a large wing that hovers above the rear of the car. The doors swivel up and forward, and the door glass rises forward from the roll bar to the top of the low-profile windscreen.

© Perry SternVolkswagen GTI Roadster
“When Sony asked us if we would develop a Vision GTI vehicle exclusively for the game to mark the 15th anniversary of Gran Turismo we didn’t hesitate for a moment,” said Klaus Bischoff, head of design at Volkswagen. This concept is powered by a 503-horsepower 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 TSI engine combined with a 7-speed DSG transmission and all-wheel drive. Weighing only 3,133 pounds, the GTI Roadster is capable of accelerating from zero to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds, with a top speed of 192 mph.
Future Plans? Exciting as it would be to see this fly by on the freeway, the GTI Roadster— like other game-based concepts — will remain in the virtual world for the foreseeable future.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceVolkswagen Sport Coupe Concept GTE
With the debut of this sleek 4-door coupe and the SUV concept shown earlier this year in Detroit, we are getting a very clear look at the design cues we can expect to see on future production models from Volkswagen. “The Sport Coupe Concept GTE is another milestone of expressive design. With this concept car, Volkswagen is not only showing a new model’s design, but also initial glimpses of a new design era,” said Klaus Bischoff, head of design for Volkswagen. The wide stance and bold grille —along with the sleek coupe-like silhouette — give the concept an aggressive, sporty look.

© Mike Meredith, Automotive Content ExperienceVolkswagen Sport Coupe Concept GTE
Under the shiny new skin is a plug-in hybrid system that features a turbocharged V6 as well as two electric motors that combine to produce an impressive 374 horsepower driving all four wheels. With an electric range of 32 miles and a top speed of 155 mph, the GTE is estimated to achieve 118 mpg.
Future Plans? Although this car won’t go into production as shown, we expect to see a vehicle with similar styling and powerplant in the near future.

© Volvo Cars North AmericaVolvo Lounge Console Concept
The Swedish carmaker showed off an XC90 concept in Shanghai that takes luxury transportation to the next level. The Lounge Console concept is designed for the chauffeur-driven passenger by removing the front passenger seat and replacing it with a console containing a number of luxury amenities. “The intention with this concept is to showcase two things —that Volvo Cars is aware of the needs of our executive customers, and that with design innovation and modern materials we can effectively create [a] passenger experience that is unique in the premium car segment.” said Thomas Ingenlath, senior vice president of design at Volvo Car Group.

© Volvo Cars North AmericaVolvo Lounge Console Concept
Riding in this XC90 concept would certainly be a unique experience. The console features a large work table that opens to an illuminated vanity mirror with storage for make-up or other accessories. Rotating the table 90 degrees reveals a 17-inch video screen for a proper movie experience. Below are a cushioned leg rest and an area for shoe storage. The console also includes a lockable storage compartment.
Future Plans? Although unlikely to become a common feature in future XC90s (Volvo has not announced any plans around it), we wouldn’t be surprised if Volvo were to make a limited edition with this feature.

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5 Comments

  1. William Perez

    I liked all of them. They were absolutely beautiful! Making it to production in my opinion would be the Nissan NISMO 370Z and the maybe the Infiniti Q60. I’m not favoring Nissan I am just following the brands logical path.

  2. Randy B

    Best car of the group and most likely to make it to production is the Maserati. As a tow company operator and driver, I can tell you one of the most inconvenient problems of today’s car is that they have no tow hooks or body holes for the tow trucks to load them onto. The suspensions on these cars today are like pixie sticks and bend or break easily. If any of these car makers builds any of these cars, please…PUT TOW HOOKS ON THE BOTTOM! BTW, the chick in the Volvo lounge concept would be a retard to drive that way in a car if it were real life. Can you imagine what here legs would look like after a front end crash or roll over?

  3. Baba M

    Wow! It doesn’t matter if those cars will never make it to the highway. They are gorgeous! Real works of art.

  4. Brad Baldwin

    Hyundai Santa Cruz Concept, Build it and they will come!!!! Must have good gas Mileage, with plenty of Power, turbo, or supercharger!!!! I’ll place my Order Now !!!! trucks need some flare and style, tired of a box with wheels.

    This Concept is stylish !! just have good gas mileage and power and it will sell.

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