Look to the Future
For the car shopper or auto enthusiast, auto shows are the ultimate destination to check out the latest offerings in the automotive landscape. Although new vehicles are a big draw, the one-of-a-kind concept vehicles really bring excitement to a show. These unique vehicles are products of designers and engineers given the freedom to create vehicles unfettered by emissions or even safety standards, and typically without any specific price point in mind. 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 2019.
Alfa Romeo Tonale — Geneva
Named after a mountain pass in the Italian Alps, the Tonale concept premiered in Geneva as the first plug-in hybrid and the first premium compact SUV for Alfa Romeo. More compact than the current Alfa Romeo Stelvio, the Tonale concept’s exterior design exhibits a familial resemblance to Stelvio, with a modern look that still manages to reflect brand heritage. The 21-inch Tonale “phone dial” wheel design uses lightweight architectural construction to create a wheel that reflects those on the Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale of the 1960s.
Alfa Romeo Tonale
The Alfa Romeo Scudetto grille gets flanked by “3 plus 3” lighting — a tribute to the light design of earlier Alfa Romeo SZ and Brera models. The Tonale concept promises a dynamic driving experience similar to current Alfa Romeos. Alfa says the plug-in hybrid powertrain includes an electric motor connected with the rear axle, allowing technology to maximize the driving experience. Inside, the Tonale concept features a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen. The driver-oriented interior combines materials such as leather, Alcantara and aluminum with translucent backlit panels.
Aston Martin Lagonda All-Terrain Concept — Geneva
At the 2018 Geneva Motor Show, Aston Martin announced the return of the Lagonda marque as a new brand of luxury zero-emission vehicles, and this year Lagonda provided a closer look at the brand’s vision via the All-Terrain Concept. An evolution of the Lagonda Vision Concept shown last year, the All-Terrain Concept adds a more distinct grille and somewhat traditionally-shaped swept-back headlights, deeply-sculpted doors and a sleek roofline that flows smoothly from the windshield. At the rear, a unique clamshell hatch extends the length of the vehicle with lighting set into the clamshell and reflected downward.
Aston Martin Lagonda All-Terrain Concept
The Lagonda All-Terrain Concept is a fully-electric SUV with batteries stored in the floor, which stiffens the chassis and allows designers to add large rear-hinged doors allowing easy access. The elegant interior offers room for four occupants with large bucket seats. The front seats swivel toward the rear for group interaction during autonomous driving. Gauges and other important vehicle information display in the center of the Lagonda All-Terrain Concept’s steering wheel, which gives the interior a very clean look. A floating center console provides additional information as well as a method of interface. Overall, the interior has a look and feel much like a living room rather than a vehicle.
Aston Martin Vanquish Concept — Geneva
Mid-engine sports cars were big news at the Aston Martin display in Geneva. Alongside the Valkyrie, Valkyrie AMR Pro and new AM-RB 003, the British marque showed a fourth mid-engine sports car: the Vanquish Vision Concept. The Vanquish has been Aston’s flagship sports car, so it seems fitting that this name returns to the lineup for such an exotic new model. As Aston Martin Lagonda Director of Design Miles Nurnberger noted, “The Vanquish Vision Concept has a more seductive and less technical appearance than Aston Martin Valkyrie and AM-RB 003, but it’s still extreme in terms of visual gestures.”
Aston Martin Vanquish Concept
Technical details are still a bit scarce and will remain so until further development occurs on this new model, but we do know it will be powered by a version of Aston Martin’s new V6 engine that will be used as part of the hybrid system in the AM-RB 003. The vehicle will be built on a unique bonded-aluminum chassis. Aston’s Chief Technical Officer Max Szwaj observed, “The Vanquish Vision Concept is the point when the things we have learned during the Aston Martin Valkyrie and AM-RB 003 programs reach the series production models. Creating a car like this for Aston Martin is a challenge I have relished since joining back in 2017.” Aston Martin expects the production version of this new exotic to arrive in 2022.
Audi AI: TRAIL — Frankfurt
The Trail is the fourth and final vehicle in the AI series of advanced concept vehicles from Audi, joining the AICON, AI:RACE and AI:ME. While the first three represented luxury, performance and city driving, respectively, this final version is ready to head off-road. AI:TRAIL is fully electric, designed to handle rough terrain with enough battery life to adventure far from civilization. Unlike previous AI models, the AI:TRAIL doesn’t carry big screen displays for entertainment — its intention encourages occupants to enjoy the natural surroundings wherever the Trail takes them. Sporting massive 22-inch wheels, the AI:TRAIL is built for heading off the beaten path. Ground clearance is a very high 13.4 inches, and the AI:TRAIL can even ford 1.6 feet of water.
Like the other AI concepts, the AI:TRAIL is capable of autonomous driving, allowing its passengers to relax and enjoy the scenery. Large windows all around give occupants a great view of the surroundings thanks to a glass roof as well as additional glass below the windshield that provides a better view of the upcoming terrain. Operating controls is quite simple — aside from the steering wheel and pedals, a docked smartphone is the primary interface. Seats are also simple: front occupants sit on slim but supportive seats, while rear passengers enjoy seats designed as hammocks. The AI:TRAIL has a unique lighting system — rather than employing conventional headlights, the AI:TRAIL carries a series of highly-efficient drones with matrix LED lighting. These attach themselves to the vehicle or fly ahead to light the path. The drones also transmit video back to the cabin.
Audi Q4 e-tron — Geneva
Audi debuted the Q4 e-tron concept in Geneva — an all-electric compact SUV that will be the fifth series production electric vehicle from Audi when it rolls out at the end of 2020. A year ago in Geneva Audi debuted e-tron, the brand’s first series production electric vehicle now on sale. The e-tron Sportback debuted recently at the Los Angeles Auto Show; the Q2L e-tron for the Chinese market and production versions of both the high-performance Audi GT e-tron and Q4 e-tron will roll out in the second half of 2020.
Audi Q4 e-tron
Two electric motors power the front and rear axles of Q4 e-tron, with a total system output of 302 horsepower. The rear motor produces 201 horsepower and the front motor 101 horses, allowing Q4 e-tron to accelerate from zero to 62 mph in 6.3 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited to 112 mph. The 82 kWh battery is positioned in the underbody between the axles and can be charged to 80 percent capacity in a little more than 30 minutes. There is no mechanical link between the axles, but an electronic control system distributes torque to both axles for quattro all-wheel drive. Torque is generally delivered with a rear-wheel bias, but the system can apply more torque to the front axle as needed.
Bentley EXP 100 GT — Pebble Beach Concours
It’s been 100 years since Walter Owen Bentley created his eponymous car company, and to honor this momentous occasion the famed British marque revealed its latest creation at Pebble Beach: the EXP 100 GT. As a testament to W.O.’s objective to build “a fast car, a good car, the best in its class,” Bentley celebrates its centennial with a look to the future while keeping the founder’s original objective in mind with the innovative EXP 100 GT. The EXP 100 GT is advanced in practically every way, with a high-tech electric powertrain, autonomous driving abilities, futuristic artificial intelligence and a design that reflects a future Bentley. The company sees this concept as the Grand Tourer one could expect to drive in the year 2035.
Bentley EXP 100 GT
Bentley engineers built the EXP 100 GT with aluminum and carbon fiber, which keeps the vehicle light — an important point, since this is not a small car. As a proper grand tourer, the EXP 100 GT possesses grand dimensions, measuring almost 20 feet long and close to eight feet wide. To say this car has presence is an understatement. While the design of the EXP 100 GT is thoroughly modern, styling cues abound that reference Bentley’s rich past. Up front big, round headlights overlap the grille — a look similar to the powerful Blower Bentleys of the 1920s. Bentley designed the EXP 100 GT to be relished by a driver who loves the thrill of carving a mountain road or cruising a curvy coastline. But for those times when the driver chooses to disengage — sitting in traffic, crossing Montana on a long, straight highway — autonomous mode can be employed.
BMW Concept 4 — Frankfurt
BMW debuted the Concept 4 in Frankfurt — a look at the future of the 4 Series Coupe, with styling that draws from historical elements and aims to distinguish the coupe further from the 3 Series Sedan. The classic coupe silhouette and proportions yield a long hood, sweeping roofline and short overhangs, but the most striking element of the design is the bold vertical kidney grille. The grille is a reference to classics such as the BMW 328 and the BMW 3.0 CSi but, unlike those revered designs, the grille of the Concept 4 dominates the front view of the car. The kidney grille integrates horizontal trim with a faceted cut, and the grating within the kidneys, as well as the air intakes, is formed of small number 4s.
BMW Concept 4
BMW describes the front end of the Concept 4 as the new face of the 4 Series with its vertical kidney grille flanked by large air intakes, as well as slim headlights that slant back from the grille’s upper edges. Finished in Forbidden Red paint, the Concept 4 roofline flows into the trunk lid and the narrow greenhouse opening emphasizes the bold fenders. In BMW parlance, Vision is the name for a design that is looking farther into the future, but Concept is used when the design is close to production. Don’t be surprised if a new BMW 4 Series debuts soon — and that it looks a lot like the BMW Concept 4.
BMW Garmisch — Pebble Beach Concours
In 1970 a BMW concept vehicle called the Garmisch made its debut at the Geneva Motor Show. Designed by Marcello Gandini for Bertone, the Garmisch was created as an independent design proposal to showcase the studio’s capabilities. “The original idea came from Nuccio Bertone himself, who wanted to consolidate our existing relationship with BMW by designing a surprise show car for the Geneva Motor Show,” recalled Marcello Gandini, who was in charge of Bertone’s design department at the time. However, the car on display at Pebble Beach this year was not that exact car. Following the Geneva Motor Show, the Garmisch was shipped back to BMW; however, the car never arrived. And, in an even stranger twist, it was never seen again. This BMW Garmisch is a careful re-creation of that missing original.
The job of re-creating the Garmisch was no simple task. Few materials documenting the original concept exist, and the majority of the research was based on a small selection of period images, most of them only available in black and white. Gandini himself helped with the process, providing what he could from his memories of the original. “When I first heard that BMW wanted to recreate the BMW Garmisch, I was a bit surprised,” said Gandini of his first meeting with Adrian van Hooydonk. “Now I am very pleased that I was able to be part of this project and happy that BMW chose to recall this enjoyable past. Having seen the final car, it is hard for me to even distinguish it from the original,” Gandini noted.
BMW Vision M NEXT — Pebble Beach Concours
Last fall BMW provided some insight into the company’s vision for future mobility with the iNEXT, which emphasizes connectivity and autonomous operation. For those who are concerned that humans won’t be piloting their own vehicles in the future, BMW may have put these fears to rest with its latest concept: the Vision M NEXT. The Vision M NEXT represents the German automaker’s vision to the future for those who enjoy the engagement of driving — something BMW’s M brand is all about. With clear influence from the current BMW i8, the Vision M NEXT concept features a low, wedge-shaped silhouette with gull-wing doors. At the front is a modern interpretation of the classic BMW kidney grille with headlights that make first use of Laser Wire light technology for a futuristic look. The Vision M NEXT features large air intakes that get further enhanced by matte-neon Thrilling Orange paint, which really stands out next to the Cast Silver paint.
BMW Vision M NEXT
Not only does the Vision M NEXT look and feel futuristic, it has a powertrain to match. The plug-in hybrid system uses an electric motor at each axle as well as a powerful turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. This advanced sports car can run as a pure electric vehicle with all-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive. The gasoline engine also sends power to the rear wheels; the system combines to produce 600 horsepower. Acceleration is quick: 62 mph (100 km/h) comes up in 3 seconds with a top speed of 186 mph. The Vision M NEXT also has an all-electric range of 62 miles. Even though the BMW Vision M NEXT is merely a concept, it’s reassuring to see a car company of BMW’s caliber looking to the future with an exhilarating high-performance sports car, rather than a vehicle that humans will simply occupy while being autonomously transported around town.
Daihatsu Tsumu Tsumu — Tokyo
Daihatsu sold vehicles in America for a few years in the early 1990s, and now it is wholly-owned by Toyota. America won’t be getting any new models built by Daihatsu; that said, the unusual vehicles that the company debuted in Tokyo would have never made it onto U.S roads anyway. The Tsumu Tsumu is Daihatsu’s vision of the next-generation Kei truck, which is a vehicle category of the smallest passenger cars, trucks and vans that are highway legal in Japan. Diminutive, nimble workhorses, Kei trucks are quite popular in Japan as utility vehicles, and there is growing interest in America (among the tragically hip) about these fun, quirky rides.
Daihatsu Tsumu Tsumu
The Tsumu Tsumu concept incorporates multiple bodystyles in one vehicle, featuring a reconfigurable cargo platform that allows for a variety of capabilities. With the option of a pickup truck bed, cargo box or other specialized unit, this Kei truck is indeed a victor of versatility. Our favorite was the example on display at the show in Tokyo. This Tsumu Tsumu features a drone unit on the back, complete with large launch platform. Jeff Bezos take note: Perhaps a fleet of Tsumu Tsumus could be a future solution for Amazon Delivery Services?
Daihatsu Wai Wai — Tokyo
Daihatsu refers to the Wai Wai — another concept on display in Tokyo — as the “loveable minivan that gets lots of likes.” Definitely more mini than any minivan in America, the Wai Wai is certainly a cute take on the classic people mover. Although small on the outside, the Wai Wai has an enigmatically large interior with seating for four — plus considerable cargo space. Access to the interior is easy via the wide-opening front door, sliding rear door and no pillar in between.
Daihatsu Wai Wai
Inside, the Wai Wai exudes simplicity with equal doses of comfort and versatility. The multi-configurable fold-flat seats are covered in a durable fabric and they actually look more like modern chairs than seats in a vehicle. A wide display screen stretches across the dashboard, with another display next to the driver. And in an attempt to project a feeling of a bit more space and connection to the surroundings, dual fabric sunroofs let Wai Wai passengers enjoy a skyward view from any seat.
Daihatsu Waku Waku — Tokyo
Designed as an entry-level crossover built for adventure, the Waku Waku’s square styling, raised ground clearance and all-wheel drive make the Waku Waku a great option for treks off the beaten path. The company refers to this unique little concept as “the close friend that makes fun in the mountains and sea so easy and carefree.” Well said my friends, well said.
Daihatsu Waku Waku
The Waku Waku features rear seats that fold into a hard, flat cargo floor. The rear door opens wide, with an additional section below that folds down to create a wider opening as well as an additional surface for sitting or staging gear. It also works as a step to access the additional closed cargo space in the roof — the perfect place to store wet gear, since that way it stays separate from the rest of the interior.
Genesis Mint Concept — New York
Genesis debuted the Mint Concept in New York — a futuristic take on a luxury city car that would be ideal for getting around The Big Apple. With a roomy interior, advanced electric powertrain and unique styling, the Mint continues a run of great concept vehicles from Genesis. The Mint Concept has a small footprint but boasts a wide stance with quad headlights that stretch around the front corners. Upper lights are connected for an even wider look, while the grille is closed except for a small opening that directs airflow to cool the batteries. A sculpted hood sweeps back from the familiar Genesis logo. With large wheels at the corners, precious little overhang and a windshield that flows as one element into the roofline, the Mint’s silhouette gives the impression that this little car would be sporty and fun to drive. At the lower portion of the vehicle, a stylish G-Matrix pattern functions as cooling and airflow for the battery floor. This pattern gets repeated in the wheel design and the interior.
Genesis Mint Concept
At the rear, the charge port is located top center and Mint features two scissor-style side openings to access the rear cargo area. Although its footprint is small, Mint offers a rather spacious interior for its relative size. “The interior styling of the Mint Concept takes influence from the Korean tradition of embracing the empty space, as well as modern European furniture design,” exclaimed Luc Donckerwolke, executive vice president and chief design officer of Hyundai Motor Group. Driver information gets displayed on six small screens that surround the oblong steering wheel. A center console that features a single central control knob can be folded out of the way, and the bench seat and instrument panel swivel for easy entry and exit. Mint draws power from an electric motor with a high-density battery pack that provides an estimated range of 200 miles and fast 350 kW recharging.
Honda e Prototype — Geneva
The Honda e Prototype debuted in Switzerland, previewing the production version that has evolved from the 2017 Urban EV Concept. Clearly in the running for the cutest car at the 2019 Geneva show, the Honda e Prototype stays true to the look of the Urban EV Concept with a clean exterior design, long wheelbase with short overhangs, minimalist interior and advanced technology. The concave black panels front and rear are key design elements, along with flush door handles, compact cameras replacing the rearview mirrors, and a charging port located in the center of the hood, with LED lights to inform the driver about charging status.
Honda e Prototype
An all-electric vehicle, the Honda e Prototype offers a wide stance and delivers power to the rear wheels for sporty performance. Honda e Prototype offers a range of 124 miles and fast charge capability to 80 percent in 30 minutes. Inside, the e Prototype evokes a contemporary, minimalist feeling with fabric and materials often found in homes. The car has a walk-through flat floor both front and rear, improving the sense of spaciousness. The dual-screen horizontal display with sophisticated interface has been designed for optimal usability. Images from the rearview cameras are displayed at both ends of the dashboard. Although a production version of this prototype has now been introduced, Honda says there are no current plans to bring the final version to America.
Hyundai 45 EV Concept — Frankfurt
Hyundai has already embraced the idea of electrification with two pure EVs in its roster, as well as hybrids and even a fuel-cell vehicle. At the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show, the Korean company provided a glimpse into its future plans for EVs with the debut of the 45 EV Concept. Named to honor the advanced Pony Coupe Concept that was shown 45 years ago, the 45 EV Concept features a similar clean and simple design like the original concept from 1974. A modern take on the fastback profile, the 45 gives the appearance of stability with its wide stance and forward-oriented posture. Adding to the overall clean look are invisible door handles as well as a self-cleaning hidden camera that replaces rearview mirrors.
Hyundai 45 EV Concept
As a fully electric concept, the 45 is able to maximize usable interior space by placing the batteries and motors outside or below the cabin. The batteries get stored under the floor in what Hyundai refers to as a skateboard — a similar concept to the General Motors Autonomy that appeared in 2002. This setup allowed designers to create a living room-like interior with fine furniture and comfortable carpeting. Seats of the 45 swivel toward the entrance when the door opens for easy access. The high-tech display highlights the interior and, as a vehicle for the future, of course it can also be operated autonomously.
Hyundai Vision T Concept — Los Angeles
The Korean car company provided a peek at possible future product directions for the brand via the introduction of the Vision T Concept at the 2019 L.A. Auto Show. The Vision T is the seventh in a series of concepts that have come from the Hyundai Design Center, created to show the brand’s “Sensuous Sportiness global design language.” About the size of a Hyundai Santa Fe in length, the Vision T Concept is much wider, giving this futuristic SUV a more aggressive stance. The long wheelbase with short overhangs combined with large wheels, long hood and sharp angles add to the dynamic styling.
Hyundai Vision T Concept
This concept possesses a plug-in hybrid powertrain that fits well with the vehicle’s advanced design. The Vision T features what Hyundai calls a Parametric Air Shutter Grille Design, which is closed when the vehicle is stationary; however, once moving each individual cell will open in a prescribed order, giving the vehicle the impression of something alive while at the same time controlling airflow for improved cooling and aerodynamics. This concept is clearly not going into production as-is; however, Hyundai often carries technology and design cues from concepts to production vehicles, so there may be some aspects of the Vision T that eventually make it to future models.
Imagine by Kia Concept — Geneva
Kia introduced an all-electric concept car at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show. Described as the company’s first look at a 4-passenger car designed from inception to be electric. The Imagine by Kia features a low-mounted, induction-charged battery pack and a compact electric drivetrain. In comparison, the Kia eNiro electric crossover is based on existing architecture adapted to electric propulsion. Not unexpectedly, the concept is designed as a boldly-styled crossover — clearly futuristic while retaining some of Kia’s signature design cues.
Imagine by Kia Concept
“Automotive design is about capturing the heart and making it beat that bit faster for that bit longer. We believe that there’s absolutely no reason why that should change simply because the car is electric,” said Gregory Guillaume, vice president of design for Kia Motors Europe. Imagine by Kia features a new interpretation of Kia’s tiger nose grille with an illuminated tiger mask that surrounds the LED headlight units and includes a floating horizontal element. The front turn signals high on the edge of the hood feature glowing elements that float in clear acrylic, and the windshield and roof are created from a single piece of glass.
Infiniti QS Inspiration — Shanghai
The latest in a series of Inspiration concept vehicles from Infiniti, the QS is designed to provide a futuristic look at a proper sport sedan. This new concept also offers a glimpse into the brand’s plans for its electrified future, which will offer fully electric and e-power hybrid powertrains across the Infiniti lineup. The QS Inspiration employs a flexible architecture to accommodate electric powertrains — this particular concept features a high-performance electrified system driving all four wheels. The battery is positioned below the floor for better interior space as well as a lower center of gravity.
Infiniti QS Inspiration
With large wheels and short overhangs, the QS Inspiration carries a sporty silhouette with a deeply sculpted door. The front door is much larger, giving the concept coupe-like styling. Up front the badge and Infiniti name light up, providing a unique view at night. Inside are four individual bucket seats — the driver’s seat possesses its own unique color and material. Although the QS Inspiration is unlikely to go into production as shown here, the automaker does state that this concept is a preview of a forthcoming production model.
Infiniti QX Inspiration — Detroit
Infiniti debuted the QX Inspiration concept in Detroit as a prelude to an all-electric, all-wheel-drive SUV from Nissan’s luxury brand. A midsize SUV concept, the QX Inspiration introduces a new direction for Infiniti electric vehicles, with design flexibility provided by a new dedicated electric vehicle architecture. Infiniti plans to launch a range of high-performance electrified vehicles that will include fully electric, e-Power and performance hybrid models. The electrified powertrains will be paired with dedicated platforms and vehicle architecture to deliver high performance, range confidence and low emissions.
Infiniti QX Inspiration
Early Infiniti SUVs such as the 2003 FX were characterized by a long hood and a cabin-rearward silhouette, but with this new electric vehicle platform — which positions the drivetrain low and between the axles — the greenhouse can be pushed forward to create more interior room. The cabin of the QX Inspiration is handcrafted using traditional techniques and materials chosen to appeal to the senses. The additional interior room offered by the electric platform allows seating and configuration that feels similar to a lounge. A tall center console flows from the dash, between the front seats to the rear seat, giving the console a tablelike feeling — especially since it also incorporates a flower vase.
Isuzu FL IR Truck — Tokyo
Isuzu cars aren’t sold in America anymore, but the company builds some big trucks for the Japanese market. At the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show the maker debuted a futuristic ride for the long-haul trucking market. Called the FLIR — which stands for Future Logistics Intelligent Relay — this concept vehicle features a shark-inspired design to illustrate an image of a mighty robot — or so say the press materials. The truck certainly has a futuristic look about it — and is quite honestly a bit scary-looking.
Isuzu FL IR Truck
While we weren’t able to climb inside the FL IR concept, we’re told the cabin is designed to adjust the dashboard when switching between manual driving and autonomous operation. The seats are also able to come together for a more comfortable place to lounge, ideally while the truck is driving itself. The big thing technically about this truck is that it has advanced autonomous features that enable “platooning,” which means multiple trucks are able to travel in an autonomous line with a point vehicle leading the others down the road.
Karma SC1 Vision Concept — Shanghai
Karma Automotive is a small Chinese-owned luxury car company based in Southern California, rising from the assets purchased at auction from Fisker Automotive. The company has been producing and selling the Revero — which is based on the Fisker Karma — while looking to the future via the introduction of the SC1 Vision Concept, revealed at Auto Shanghai in China. As a tribute to its California home, the concept 2-seat roadster swathed in orange paint represents beautiful California sunsets. “Karma’s SC1 Vision Concept is a signpost to our future,” said Dr. Lance Zhou, CEO of Karma Automotive. “It’s intended to provide the world with insight into our long-term direction in terms of luxury craftsmanship, advanced technology, and an evolution in luxury design language. It also shows that Karma will eventually offer full battery-electric vehicles,” Zhou noted.
Karma SC1 Vision Concept
In addition to its long, sleek silhouette, the SC1 Vision Concept stands out with unique “wing” doors. Designed to emulate the rising canopy of a fighter jet, the big doors open straight up for a stunning visual effect as well as easy access to the cabin. As Karma Automotive Concept Design Manager Jacques Flynn put it, “When you watch the doors open, it gives you goosebumps . . . it gave me chills the first time I saw them open. The doors are really special, inviting you into the experience you’re going to have.” That said, Karma does not currently have plans to produce this sexy electric roadster; however, the concept was created to showcase design elements that could be anticipated in a next-generation production model.
Kia HabaNiro Concept — New York
With the introduction of the HabaNiro concept vehicle, Korean automaker Kia added a bit of spice to the 2019 New York Auto Show press preview. Not a typical crossover, the HabaNiro is designed to be “The Everything Car.” “We wanted this concept to be comfortable navigating city streets, carving turns on a coastal road and off-roading with confidence to remote wilderness adventures,” said Tom Kearns, vice president of design for Kia Design Center America. “We imagined a car for everyone and nearly everything,” Kearns noted. HabaNiro easily stands out from the crowd with “butterfly wing” doors, short overhangs with large 20-inch wheels and protective metallic-gray cladding up front that flows back to the aero panel in Lava Red.
Kia HabaNiro Concept
Not only does the HabaNiro feature an exciting design, the small concept is extremely advanced. HabaNiro is fully electric with motors on the front and rear axles to power all four wheels. The advanced battery system would provide more than 300 miles of range between charges. HabaNiro also features a level-5 autonomous driving mode that takes all control away from the driver; when this mode is engaged the steering wheel and gauges retract to provide more interior space. Other advanced features include Kia’s new Real-time Emotion Adaptive Driving (R.E.A.D.) System that can personalize the HabaNiro’s cabin space by analyzing a driver’s emotional state in real-time through artificial intelligence-based bio-signal recognition technology.
Lexus LC Convertible Concept — Detroit
Three years ago, Lexus brought the dramatically powerful design of the Lexus LF-LC concept to life with the Motown debut of the Lexus LC coupe, and now Toyota’s luxury brand expands that design to include the LC Convertible Concept. An evolution of the LC coupe design, the LC Convertible Concept offers a look at a future direction for the Lexus LC flagship. While the design of the Lexus LC coupe is bold and aggressive, the LC Convertible Concept is an equally stunning, yet the result is more flowing and elegant. Viewing both cars head-on reveals that the two look virtually identical, but in profile — minus the coupe’s fast roofline — the rear fenders of the LC Convertible Concept sweep up to the decklid with a soft slope to the trailing edge.
Lexus LC Convertible Concept
The LC Convertible Concept may make an impression as more elegant and refined than the coupe, but it retains athletic, performance-oriented proportions with a long low hood, a wide stance and short overhangs. The sleek look gets further enhanced by 22-inch wheels that have a split-spoke design with alternating polished and dark elements. Inside, the LC Convertible Concept is finely tailored with quality materials and contrasting colors. The perforated seats and door inserts are finished in white leather, while the dashboard, center console and upper door panels are dark with yellow accent stitching. At the 2019 L.A. Auto Show Lexus debuted the production version of the LC Convertible, slated to go on sale next year.
Lexus LF-30 Concept — Tokyo
Following a theme of electrification that seems to be prevalent at every auto show, Lexus introduced its vision for the future — 2030 to be more precise — in the shape of this bold concept vehicle. The LF-30 advances the iconic spindle grille, and takes as modern a form as possible with this concept’s electric powertrain. Lines seem to flow smoothly from the illuminated Lexus logo all the way to the rear of the car. Large wheels and short overhangs emphasize the performance orientation of the LF-30. The futuristic styling is accompanied by an advanced powertrain that features four in-wheel motors and steering-by-wire, which would provide not only outstanding handling and performance, but allow a more spacious interior design.
Lexus LF-30 Concept
The advanced cockpit of the LF-30 is designed for manual or autonomous driving, with steering-wheel-controlled switches and a head-up display. The LF-30 uses next-generation interfaces that employ gesture control while presenting information with augmented reality displays. Access to the interior is via very large gull-wing style doors. As part of this look to 2030 at the Tokyo show, Lexus announced plans to debut its first production battery-electric vehicle next month, with its first plug-in hybrid and a new dedicated electric vehicle platform coming in the next few years. The ultimate plan will be to have some level of electrification in every Lexus vehicle by 2025.
Mercedes-Benz Concept GLB — Shanghai
Based on the Mercedes-Benz compact car platform, the Concept GLB is designed as a spacious compact crossover that would fit into the lineup between the GLA and GLC, but is spacious enough to include a third-row seat — a first for a Mercedes-Benz compact crossover. The Concept GLB looks larger than its compact size with protective fender cladding, aggressive off-road tires, a roof rack and other design elements to give it off-roader looks. The upright grille gets flanked by multibeam LED headlights, and the short front and rear overhangs increase clearance. From the side, the Concept GLB displays a strong shoulder line while the lower edge of the window opening kicks up at the rear. The black roof incorporates shrouds for LED lights front and rear, and a roof box is mounted between the roof rails. The BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A tires with raised orange lettering are mounted on 17-inch wheels with a two-color design.
Mercedes-Benz Concept GLB
As a concept show car, the Concept GLB is finished with luxury elements not expected in a compact crossover, including Nappa leather, nubuck leather, walnut and aluminum. The dashboard looks similar to the B-Class with a widescreen cockpit; the display and functions are controlled by the advanced Mercedes-Benz User Experience, or MBUX. The Concept GLB is powered by a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine producing 224 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, teamed with an 8-speed dual-clutch transmission and 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive with variable torque distribution. Mercedes-Benz has since announced plans to bring a production version of the GLB to the U.S. market for the 2020 model year.
Mercedes-Benz Concept EQV — Geneva
In Geneva Mercedes-Benz debuted the Concept EQV, a new addition to the all-electric EQ lineup and the first battery-electric people mover in the premium segment. The design follows the EQ design theme in a traditional van format, and Concept EQV offers a broad range of configurations and potential uses, as well as seating for up to eight occupants.
Mercedes-Benz Concept EQV
Concept EQV is motivated by a compact electric drivetrain that sends power to the front wheels via an electric motor producing 201 horsepower and a transmission with fixed gear ratios. The 100 kWh battery lithium-ion battery provides a range of 249 miles; EQV will achieve a top speed of 99 mph. Mercedes-Benz planned the world premiere of a series production EQV at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2019.
Mercedes-Benz Vision EQS — Frankfurt
Mercedes-Benz debuted the Vision EQS at the Frankfurt Motor Show — a look to the future with a fully-electric luxury vehicle possessing a spacious interior and a futuristic design. Mercedes-Benz describes the Vision EQS as a milestone on the way to the future of Mercedes-Benz with a focus on sustainability, high-quality vehicles and self-determined driving. In creating the Vision EQS, Mercedes-Benz incorporated supreme craftsmanship, emotive design, luxury materials and individual driving experience. The flowing exterior design combines luxury and aerodynamics, and the prominent “lightbelt” separates the silver lower body from the upper black panel and glass.
Mercedes-Benz Vision EQS
As a vision for the future of electric luxury vehicles, Vision EQS is motivated by powerful electric motors; the front and rear axles produce a combined output of approximately 469 horsepower and 560 lb-ft of torque. The electric all-wheel-drive system varies torque distribution between the front and rear axles, and Vision EQS will accelerate from zero to 60 mph in less than 4.5 seconds. Battery capacity is approximately 100 kWh and range is estimated to be 435 miles. With 350 kW charging capacity, the battery can be recharged to 80 percent in less than 20 minutes.
Vision Mercedes Simplex — Los Angeles
More than 100 years ago, Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft developed a new style of vehicle called the Mercedes 35 PS that had great success on road and track. Due to its simple nature it was called the Simplex. Now Mercedes-Benz Design has created a vehicle that pays homage to that original groundbreaking automobile while at the same time embracing technology of the future in the unique Vision Mercedes Simplex.
Vision Mercedes Simplex
Up front is a classic radiator shape trimmed in rose gold to emulate the bronze used in the original. However, the grille itself is now a black panel / 3D display that can project animations or information about the vehicle’s status. The two-seater uses freestanding wheels with transparent rims providing a similar appearance to the original’s wood-spoke wheels. Mercedes designers put an impressive amount of detail into this eye-catching design, including integration of the Mercedes-Benz star logo into the tire tread and leather bag strapped to the lower rear of the vehicle.
Mitsubishi Mi-TECH Concept — Tokyo
Over the years Mitsubishi has shown some rather outlandish concept vehicles in Tokyo, and while the MI-TECH Concept that debuted at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show would fall into that category, it is one of our favorites. Up front sits a prominent grille that features copper highlights designed to communicate the fact that this is an electric vehicle. Large wheels with big fenders flares give the MI-TECH a look of being able to conquer any terrain, while the open-air cockpit indicates that the occupants will have a blast doing the conquering. The interior is kept simple, with much relevant information presented to the driver via a head-up display.
Mitsubishi Mi-TECH Concept
The MI-TECH Concept employs a lightweight plug-in hybrid system that uses a small gas turbine engine to operate as a generator, showcasing how a system like this can fit into a small SUV. Fitted with a Quad Motor 4WD System, the MI-TECH would have excellent off-road control with front and rear Dual-Motor Active Yaw Control — if two wheels are off the ground, power can easily be directed to the wheels that still have traction. Mitsubishi also points out that with the ability to control the power at each wheel, there can be “thrilling new driving experiences such as 180-degree spins by counter-rotating the left and right tires.”
Nissan Ariya Concept – Tokyo
Over the last few years, Nissan has shown a plethora of concept vehicles at auto shows around the world — all intended to provide a glimpse toward what the company plans for the future. Making its world debut at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show, the Ariya Concept is a small all-electric crossover that introduces an all-new look for Nissan. Although earlier concepts have provided hints about future design, the Ariya Concept is the closest to a production model thus far. Even though elements of current Nissan designs can be recognized in the Ariya Concept, the new vehicle design takes things a giant step further, both for the brand and for what is likely a unique look for the brand’s electric vehicles. The signature V-Motion grille is still at the front; however, with the Ariya the overall size is broader, incorporating thin LED headlights and what Nissan calls the “shield,” emblazoned with an illuminated Nissan logo.
Nissan Ariya Concept
The Ariya Concept is built with an all-new vehicle architecture likely to be the basis for all future Nissan EV models. With a twin-electric motor powertrain — one in front, one at the rear — the system should provide instant acceleration as well as the grip and handling of all-wheel drive. This electric all-wheel-drive system is designed to manage power delivery to the road for better cornering and handling on dry pavement, or when the surfaces offer less grip. Although there has been no official word on plans for this new EV, it could certainly be the basis of a new vehicle in Nissan’s near future.
Nissan IMk Concept — Tokyo
While the Ariya Concept is closer to a vehicle Nissan would likely sell in America, the automaker also introduced the IMk Concept in Tokyo. The IMk is more reflective of the small, urban commuter cars seen all over Japan’s capital city. Many of Nissan’s new design elements are also incorporated in the IMk, which provides another glimpse into how these new designs will find their way into the Nissan EV range: vehicles of differing styles could all be built on the same EV platform.
Nissan IMk Concept
Inside, the IMk concept is more like a living room than an automobile. The boxy shape provides a roomy interior that features lounge-like seating as well as thick carpeting. Other than the start button and shifter, this concept’s thin dashboard has no physical controls. Powering up the IMk reveals cabin comfort controls and settings with soft glowing icons within the Akagane trim – very similar to the design in the Ariya Concept. “The IMk concept provides a glimpse of the new direction of Nissan Intelligent Mobility as technology evolves toward electrification and connectivity,” said Asako Hoshino, Nissan’s executive vice president overseeing global marketing and sales as well as the brand’s global EV business.
Nissan IMQ Concept — Geneva
Nissan unveiled the IMQ concept vehicle in Geneva to showcase advanced technology and design for future crossover models. IMQ is powered by the next generation e-Power electric motor drive system that delivers a total of 250 kW (355 horsepower) and 516 lb-ft of torque through a new multimotor all-wheel-drive system. IMQ is also equipped with an advanced prototype version of the Nissan ProPILOT driver assistance system with enhanced autonomous driving capability.
Nissan IMQ Concept
The IMQ concept aims to blend the exterior and interior as one, with the shape of the greenhouse designed to appear as a single continuous surface. The Nissan V-Motion grille is more subtle than current production models and blends vertically into the hood and horizontally into the front fenders. The IMQ doors are hinged at the outer edges for a wide opening to the futuristic interior that features four seats that rise from a lamella-design floor. Nissan’s gliding wing instrument panel is completely black when powered down, and a secondary screen above the center console displays the Virtual Personal Assistant that controls vehicle functions based on driver input.
Nissan IMs Concept — Detroit
A powerful, electric-powered concept, Nissan describes the IMs as an elevated sports sedan that transforms the traditional sedan into something fresh and new. With a tall stance and a sleek roofline, the IMs offer a unique seating layout with an oversized single seat that remains when the slim outer seats of the three-position rear seat are folded. “There are two distinct breakthroughs in the design of the Nissan IMs,” said Satoru Tai, executive design director for Nissan. “First, the exterior’s fresh proportions, simple shape and dynamic movement are very clean, yet powerful and emotional. Second, the landscape projection theme of the interior is sophisticated, spacious, inviting, interactive and seamless, with a unique passenger seating layout. The IMs exterior signals that the driver and passengers are about to experience something entirely new once inside,” Tai exclaimed.
Nissan IMs Concept
An all-wheel-drive electric vehicle, the IMs is powered by two electric motors — one driving each axle, with a total power output of 483 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque. The 115kW battery pack gets positioned below the passenger floor and stores enough energy for an estimated 380 miles of range. Additional features include air suspension that adapts to road conditions and driving mode; autonomous driving mode; an “Invisible-to-Visible” augmented reality display with avatar 22-inch aluminum-alloy wheels; and custom Michelin performance tires.
Subaru Levorg Prototype — Tokyo
Of all vehicles showcased at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show that will never come to America, the Levorg may be the one we’ll miss the most, because this touring wagon is based on the high-performance Subaru STI. At this year’s Tokyo show, Subaru’s prototype of the next-generation Levorg moves onto Subaru’s new global platform — the same platform that underpins the Outback, Impreza, Ascent and Forester. The only all-wheel-drive model in America that isn’t on the new platform yet is the STI, so this prototype does offer hope that a new STI will be coming soon to the U.S. market.
Subaru Levorg Prototype
The Levorg prototype gets an updated look that, while new, still retains familiar Subaru styling. Powering the prototype is a newly-developed 1.8-liter turbocharged Boxer engine that sends power to all four wheels. The production version of the new Levorg is still almost a year away, so although this does indicate that an STI on the new global platform should be in the works, we may still have to wait a bit longer for it to arrive. The latest version of Subaru’s EyeSight driver assist system will also be in the new Levorg.
Subaru VIZIV Adrenaline Concept — Geneva
Subaru debuted the VIZIV Adrenaline Concept in Geneva — a bold, new design for a compact crossover that builds on the Subaru design philosophy of “Dynamic x Solid” with a much more aggressive execution. The vivid blue paint contrasts with the black body protection and silver roof to create an energetic, strong feeling with a clear link to Subaru’s rally racing heritage.
Subaru VIZIV Adrenaline Concept
Current Subaru models have protective cladding on the fenders, but VIZIV Adrenaline body protect extends from bumper to bumper, with nearly the entire front fenders covered. The VIZIV Adrenaline features a unique windshield shape, and the silver and black roof reinforces the body structure and ties in with silver skidplates front and rear. Accents of orange also highlight the wheel center caps and skidplates. Black wheels and aggressive all-terrain tires are locked together with white accents.
Suzuki Hanare — Tokyo
This stalwart Japanese automaker with an illustrious, extensive history may not sell vehicles in America anymore, but its large presence at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show confirmed the company’s endurance, and included some of the show’s more entertaining vehicles. A perfect example is the Hanare concept, which takes autonomous driving to a new level. Ultimately the Hanare is a mobile living room that is fully autonomous — there is no steering wheel or cockpit of any kind. Occupants simply sit in their comfortable lounge chairs and watch television while the Hanare takes them where they want to go.
The unique design of the Hanare concept removes the notion of a vehicle’s front and rear — the concept can operate in either direction. The individual drive wheels also let this concept maneuver itself into tight parking spaces as needed. The entire side of the Hanare opens, which adds another dimension to the enjoyment of this vehicle, allowing the passengers to share their space with the outside world — when parked of course.
Suzuki Every Go-Anywhere Baby Room — Tokyo
Perhaps the best-named concept at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show, this customized Suzuki Every is designed for mother and baby to have everything they need wherever they go. Created in conjunction with Combi — a leading maker of baby products — the Every van has been configured into a nursery on wheels. The idea behind this special Every is that it could provide privacy and support for a mother and baby at outdoor events — or even in case of natural disaster.
Suzuki Every Go-Anywhere Baby Room
Privacy shades have been installed in this Every so that “breast feeding can be done with confidence in privacy,” notes the press copy. Seats are trimmed in an easy-to-clean material, and the entire paint scheme is designed around a theme of “Relax and Fun.” At the rear of the Every is a diaper-changing bed with all supplies readily available, including paper sheets stored under the bed that can be used to prevent bed soiling during diaper swaps.
Suzuki Waku SPO — Tokyo
Sport coupes are not typically known for their versatility, but the Waku SPO concept changes that notion. This coupe can literally transform itself into a wagon. In coupe mode, the Waku SPO sports two large front doors with smaller rear doors that slide backward to provide access to the rear seat. The dashboard is all digital with displays appropriate to the sporty car. But like a retractable-top convertible, a push of a button activates the transformation — a panel opens at the rear and the aft window gets replaced with an enclosed cargo area.
Suzuki Waku SPO
When the vehicle is transformed, the Waku SPO rear seats automatically slide to the rear and recline, providing a roomier and more comfortable space. The cockpit appearance also changes to a more family-like vibe thanks to wood trim that covers the sporty gauges. An interesting take on a true “crossover” vehicle that can change its form factor at will, the Waku SPO is truly an interesting concept — but don’t look for this idea to go into production anytime soon.
Volkswagen Atlas Basecamp Concept — New York
The Atlas is the largest SUV in the Volkswagen lineup, and for the New York Auto Show the company showcased the possibilities of this new SUV with the debut of the Atlas Basecamp Concept. “The Basecamp Concept brings a go-anywhere attitude to the brand that is already synonymous with road-trip culture,” said Alex Earle, the exterior design manager at the Volkswagen Design Center California. “Whether you are taking on a series of challenging single-tracks with your favorite mountain bike or enjoying a relaxing evening under the night sky, the versatility of the Basecamp Concept provides ideal mobile solutions for just about any adventure,” said Earle.
Volkswagen Atlas Basecamp Concept
Based on the Atlas SEL, the Basecamp Concept stands out as something special with Platinum Gray and Black Uni paint treated with a matte finish and orange accents, as well as 17-inch MX Concept wheels fitted with all-terrain tires. Basecamp also has a custom body kit by Air Design, an H&R lift kit with coilover shock absorbers that raise the ride height about 1.5 inches, a Front Runner Slimline II roof rack system with bike carriers and off-road LED light bars on the front and rear. Although the Basecamp is a concept vehicle, the accessories are available for consumers to build their own custom Volkswagen Atlas.
Volkswagen ID. BUGGY — Geneva
One of the most engaging vehicles introduced in Geneva was the Volkswagen ID. Buggy, the latest addition to Volkswagen’s series of electric concept vehicles. Both retro and modern, the ID.BUGGY concept takes inspiration from classic California dune buggies of the 1960s with a raised hood, tail and fat fenders surrounding big 18-inch wheels shod with all-terrain tires. In true beach-buggy fashion, the concept has no doors and no roof. The ID.BUGGY’s open interior offers plenty of room but seating for two. All materials are waterproof, and seats feature head restraints and belt guides integrated into the seatbacks.
Volkswagen ID. BUGGY
Built on VW’s new MEB modular electric drive platform, the ID. BUGGY features a rear-mounted 201-horsepower electric motor driving the rear wheels. With a 62-kWh lithium-ion battery integrated into the floor, the ID. BUGGY has an estimated range of 155 miles on a single charge. This layout mimics the 1960s Beetle-based dune buggies with their engines mounted in back, but an additional electric motor could be added to the front axle for 4-wheel-drive capability. The torquey electric motor provides plenty of power for off-road driving, and on pavement the ID. BUGGY will sprint to 62 mph in a bit over 7 seconds. Top speed is limited to 99 mph. While the design is firmly rooted in the past, the ID. BUGGY concept possesses modern elements as well, including a solid-aluminum underbody guard, a reinforced windshield frame and targa bar.
Volkswagen ID. SPACE VIZZION — Los Angeles
Volkswagen continues its bold move toward electrification with the introduction of the seventh concept in the ID. series: the ID. SPACE VIZZION. Similar to the other concepts in the ID. family, the ID. SPACE VIZZION concept showcases the flexibility of Volkswagen’s MEB electric architecture. With its compact drive components and batteries integrated into the floor, this platform is designed for use in a variety of vehicles. More grand-touring wagon than SUV, the ID. SPACE VIZZION concept is said to be a preview of what will end up as a production vehicle for North America in 2022. With no need to design around an internal combustion engine at the front, the ID. SPACE VIZZION features a low hood that flows smoothly into the windshield and on toward the rear of the vehicle, providing a sleek and aerodynamic silhouette.
Volkswagen ID. SPACE VIZZION
The Volkswagen ID. SPACE VIZZION is motivated by a rear-mounted electric motor that produces 275 horsepower. The motor gets juice from an 82-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Although this is a rear-wheel-drive concept, VW says the flexible architecture would allow for an additional motor, boosting power to 355 horses and providing the ID. SPACE VIZZION with 4MOTION full-time all-wheel drive. As with other electric vehicles, the ID. SPACE VIZZION is quick off the line. When equipped with dual motors, this unique people mover is expected to sprint to 60 mph in a mere 5 seconds on its way to a top speed of 109 mph. The projected range for the ID. SPACE VIZZION is around 300 miles. This concept’s interior looks much larger than expected, since it’s currently configured with four seats but a production version could easily seat five, according to VW.
Volkswagen Tarok Pickup Concept — New York
Pickup trucks are among the most popular vehicles in America, so it makes sense that any automaker would examine the viability of bringing a new pickup to market. Volkswagen is doing that with the debut of the Tarok Pickup Concept at this year’s New York Auto Show. The company already has plans for a production version of this pickup, but only for the South American market. Volkswagen is showing the concept in America to gauge reaction from consumers, which helps determine if there is a market for such a vehicle in America.
Volkswagen Tarok Pickup Concept
The Tarok Pickup Concept is a compact truck; however, it features a unique design that allows the bed to extend into the cabin by folding down the bottom of the passenger cabin’s rear panel, giving the truck the ability to carry loads as long as six feet. The Tarok also has 4Motion Active Control, which employs a multifunctional rotary knob to control the all-wheel-drive functions and associated driving modes. Built to handle rough terrain as well as it handles cargo, the Tarok has an approach angle of 23.8 degrees, a departure angle of 26.4 degrees and ground clearance of 9.6 inches.