Concept cars top ten
Every year car manufacturers and designers dream up a string of super-cool concept cars to test public reaction and show off their skills. Very few concepts actually make it on to our roads, but there are always some exceptions. Often the technology and design elements used on concept cars are also adopted for use on vehicles that do actually make it on to production lines. Usually concept cars are created by the car firms themselves, but sometimes individual agencies or designers not affiliated with the brands have a go to make a name for themselves. Here we look at the ten coolest concept cars envisaged in recent years.
10. Aston Martin CC100 Speedster
Aston Martin unveiled the stunning CC100 Speedster concept as part of the firm’s 100th anniversary celebrations. What they came up with is, we’re sure you’ll agree, one of the most beautiful four-wheel creations ever made. Incredibly, the CC100 only took six months to be designed and built by the British firm. It was based on their 1951 DBR1, and as a tribute completed a lap of Germany’s Nordschleife race track alongside the older vehicle when it was unveiled at the 24-hours of Nurburgring race in May 2013. Aston Martin describe it as “the epitome of everything that is great” about their cars. Hopefully we’ll see James Bond driving one soon.
9. Ferrari Millenio
The Ferrari Millenio is the brainchild of Yugoslavian designer extraordinaire Marko Petrovic. He envisaged a completely electric vehicle with two motors, which would be recharged by solar panels on the bodywork as well as through a futuristic inductive power transfer system (a wireless charger). The bodywork would be reinforced by buckypaper, which is lighter than carbon fiber but stronger than steel. And it looks amazing. Although not affiliated with Ferrari, Petrovic still managed to capture some of the spirit of the Italian supercar giant while taking the design to the next level. The Millenio is a two-seater like the CC100 Speedster above, we would love to see the two concept cars go head-to-head on a track. Sadly, that is unlikely to ever happen.
8. Lamborghini Ankonian
Remind you of something? Yup, Batman wouldn’t look out of place in one of these. The Ankonian was created by Macedonian design guru Slavche Tanevsky, reportedly with the participation of Lamborghini and Audi designers who he let have final say on the project. It looks like a road-going stealth-bomber and while it features a lot of similar base styling to the Lamborghini Reventon, it just goes that extra mile when it comes to aggressiveness. We mean, you’re not going to mess with someone who comes out of one of these are you — whether they’re wearing a bat suit or not.
7. Mercedes-Benz BIOME
The BIOME was dreamt up by designers’ at Mercedes’ Californian design studio as the “perfect vehicle of the future” and is one of the wackiest cars on this list. It is meant to be “at one with nature” and is actually a kind of, er, living organism. Apparently the wheels would be sown with seeds, and the bodywork would be grown from the DNA of what Mercedes call BioFibre, which would absorb the sun’s rays and store it as energy in a chemical bond called BioNectar4534 (no, we don’t understand it either). The car would only emit oxygen, which is obviously a good thing for us humans, but has BioFibre actually been invented yet? Er, no. That doesn’t stop this being one remarkable idea. And the boss of Mercedes’ California design studio Hubert Lee says: “There are elements within the design that could easily be progressed and developed for production.” Bring on the future!
6. Peugeot Onyx
You thought BioFibre was weird? How about a car made out of papier mache? That’s one element on a long list of weird and wonderful materials used to make the Peugeot Onyx. But the good thing about this car is it’s actually been made. Peugeot fitted the ultra-lightweight car with a 3.7liter diesel engine which pumps out 600hp and is capable of doing over 100mph. An electric second motor — yup, this is a hybrid — adds an extra 80bhp. The chassis is made of carbon-fiber and the bodywork out of copper panels which will turn green as the car ages. Inside, the dashboard is made of compacted recycled newspapers (that’s where the papier mache comes in) while the panelling and steering wheel are recycled felt.
5. BMW 328 Hommage
Like the Aston Martin at the top, this is another vehicle whose looks were inspired by a legendary car from times gone by. And, like the Aston Martin, it really does its predecessor justice. The BMW 328 was one of the best-selling sports cars of the 1930s, and the Hommage concept was created to celebrate its 75th anniversary. It looks amazing and is, like the original 328, an open-top. It features a 3liter straight-six engine, with a modern-day adaptation of the car’s kidney grille at the front and a suitably chunky rear end. The Hommage is made of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic, so is like most of the concept cars on this list much lighter than most of those we see on our roads today. It was unveiled at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este in Italy in 2011.
4. Ford Shelby GR-1
The Ford Shelby GR-1 concept car was unleashed on the world in 2005 and has left car fans wondering what if ever since. It was inspired by the Shelby Daytona from 1964, and looked simply stunning. It had a 6.4liter all-aluminum V10 engine wedged under the hood, producing up to 605hp. And outside, its shimmering polished-aluminium body was a thing of beauty to behold. It boasted 19in wheels and butterfly doors, and was designed to be fully roadgoing and production-feasible. It is one of a string of recent concept cars from Ford, and came hot on the heels of their Shelby Cobra concept from 2004, which was another jaw-dropper.
3. Lexus LF-LC
Now here’s one you might actually see on roads in the foreseeable future. The LF-LC was said to have been given the go-ahead for production in March 2013 and is expected to reach showrooms by 2017. It’s thought the two-plus-two sports coupe will have a gas-electric hybrid V8 engine producing at least 500hp. It’s expected to cost $200,000. The LF-LC received a very good reception from car dealers when it was unveiled in 2012, which is why of all the concept cars listed here this is one that actually becomes a reality. But there’s still plenty of political and economic hurdles the manufacturer has to overcome before they can make it happen.
2. Infiniti Essence
Another anniversary creation, the Essence was designed to celebrate 20 years since Infiniti first started making cars. It was unveiled at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show, but has as yet not made it into production. The car came with a three-piece Louis Vuitton luggage set which fitted neatly into the trunk. And it featured groundbreaking technology for its time which would brake the car for you if you didn’t notice you were getting too close to other cars or hazardous obstacles. You’d need that with such shiny paintwork. The Essence was a hybrid, with a 3.7liter V6 engine coupled with an electric motor producing a combined 590hp.
1. Buick Riviera
The Buick Riviera boasts incredible good looks — and is a plug-in hybrid to boot. It is Buick’s idea of the future, and got people falling over themselves to see it when it was unveiled at the 2013 Shanghai Motor Show. The Riviera was aimed at adapting the brand’s famous image for a new era, and as it was unveiled in China was designed specifically to appeal to the Asian market. It came with all sorts of cool stuff like gullwing doors and luminous blue lighting around the headlights and name badge. It could also charge itself wirelessly, like the Ferrari Millenio would be able to above.
That’s all, folks. But let us know in the comments section below if you think there are any cooler concept cars out there than the ones we’ve listed above. Until then, on we go into the future…