Concept cars are unveiled at auto shows all over the world, shocking crowds and raising expectations. Of course, many of these "concept" cars never actually come to completion, or do, but not in the same greatness as portrayed by the concept. However, those that do make it to the roads set new trends and can seriously "change the game" when it comes to automobile marketing, design, and production.
So I have collected a list to examine the best concept cars, debuted in the last 5 years, that could change the car industry and shift sales from one manufacturer to another. For instance, Tesla is the leader in all-electric luxury cars with their impressive Model series lineup, but some of these cars on the list could replace Tesla as the best. Additionally, new cars can change more than motor trends: they can also have an impact on the economy and society as a whole.
It takes years to design and bring a car to market, so it's no wonder that some of these cars have been in the concept phase for 4 or more years. Sometimes, cars are flaunted at different shows and conventions to raise hype about the car, when in reality, the concept model might not run at all, or as well as advertised, and will be in the design phase for what feels like decades. Whatever the case, concept cars are seriously fun to talk about: speculating on new designs, technologies and the future of the car industry.
So, here are 20 concept cars that could change everything.
20 Aspark Owl
Developed by a tiny design team in Japan, the Aspark Owl is a testament to the potential of fully electric sports cars. Weighing in at a staggeringly low 1,900 lbs, the Owl is an incredibly lightweight hypercar that has stunned the world with its impressive 1.9 sec 0-60 run.
That's right, the Aspark Owl can go 0-60 MPH in under 2 seconds, an achievement that was sought by the engineers at Aspark when designing it's 429 horsepower electric engine.
As for the future production of this car, Aspark has said that there will be a small batch of cars produced soon and they will most likely be available for purchase at a price tag of 4 million dollars.
19 Lexus LF-C2
The Lexus-LF-C2 was first shown at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show, so it has been in concept for quite some time, but Lexus' website still has it listed as a concept, so we know it's coming. Well equipped with a 306 horsepower V6 and luxurious with a gorgeous roadster design, I think that this will be a good launch for Lexus, considering they haven't had the best history with convertibles.
The new design is pretty awesome, especially with the front end, it looks luxurious. There isn't much word on when it will be released, but considering the amount of time it has spent in design, most likely soon.
18 Volkswagen I.D. Vizzion
Unveiled at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show, the Volkswagen I.D. Vizzion is one of the most interesting concepts I've ever seen. In this case, we see life mimic art as Volkswagen shows off the possibility of having cars straight out of a sci-fi show. But, alas, this really is just a concept, as the all-electric I.D.
Vizzion will be receiving a production model that has a steering wheel and whats known as Level 4 Autonomy, as opposed to the Level 5 Autonomy model that was showed at Geneva. What this does show, however, is where we're headed in terms of automobile production: will physical driving become a thing of the past?
17 Porsche Mission E Cross Turismo
Based on the Mission E Sedan (aka the Taycan), the Mission E Cross Turismo is an all-electric hot hatch from Porsche, that looks incredible.
Outputting 600 horsepower, the Mission E Cross Turismo is estimated to go zero-to-sixty in about 3.5 seconds. It's almost identical to the Taycan, but rides a little bit higher, has subtle design differences and of course, a 5th door on the back.
I love Porsche's design for this car, it really reminds me of the Cheyenne, but in a smaller, sportier package. I suspect that, much like the Taycan, this Mission E will also receive a new name by release, which may be in 2021.
16 Porsche Speedster
The Speedster concept is Porsche's way of reminding fans that they aren't going all electric and will be staying true to making the sports cars they are known for, along with the new EV models. The Speedster is a tribute to the Porsche 356, which was released in 1948, marking 70 years of Porsche history.
Built upon a modified body of the Carrera, the Speedster is equipped with a 6-cylinder, rear mounted engine, putting out about 500 horsepower. While rumors about the release of the Speedster are not 100% confirmed, it's believed that Porsche will begin production on the car in 2019.
15 Volkswagen GTI Roadster
Volkswagen, with the Roadster, has decided to expand the GTI family beyond the incredible hatchback design. However, the Roadster will pack a bit more of a punch: the engine is a 3L twin-turbo V6 that can put out about 500 horsepower.
I should mention the rather interesting origin of this concept car: it was originally designed and released as a digital exclusive for Gran Turismo 6 on the PlayStation 3.
Since then, however, it has been designed and built in the real world and shown as a concept at a few different events. There isn't really any word on whether this car will ever hit the market as a full release for Volkswagen and in some ways I wouldn't be surprised if it never did, but it is a pretty awesome car nonetheless.
14 BMW Z4
BMW has released their next concept for the Z series, the Z4 Roadster, well equipped with either a turbo four cylinder or turbo six cylinder engine and electric rear differential. BMW has said that this is the stiffest open-top car they have made, referring to the handling of the car, most likely stiff due to the differential.
However, the Z4 will only be available in an 8 speed automatic transmission and no manual version will be available, which is kind of a bummer for BMW enthusiasts. As for release, BMW has announced that drivers should expect to see the Z4 in showrooms starting in 2019.
13 Nissan Xmotion
Much like many other manufacturers, Nissan is adapting to the to the rapidly changing automobile industry and the growing demand for more autonomous cars. While the Xmotion is not fully autonomous, the suicide door design would make you think it is and I believe that Nissan's approach is similar to Volkswagen: their concepts aren't fully autonomous, but they are ready for when the cars will be.
The initial design for the Xmotion came from the desire to bring something fresh to Nissan's compact SUV segment, finding a way to incorporate previous designs into a futuristic package. The Xmotion is set to release in the soon future, setting the stage for Nissan's direction in 2020 and beyond.
12 Toyota FT-1
First thing's first, I should address the rumors circulating the Toyota FT-1: this car is a new redesign and release of Toyota's legendary Supra. I haven't been able to find 100% confirmation on this, however, fans of the car were able to see it in all of its glory a little while ago at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
I encourage you to watch the video as the six-cylinder, 300+ horsepower beast pranced around on the track.
If there's one thing I can say for sure about the FT-1 concept, it's that Toyota could change the game and reenter themselves into the world of consumer sports cars, something they gave up after stopping the production of the Supra and the MR2.
11 Lamborghini Asterion
Lamborghini has jumped on the hybrid supercar wagon and soon enough, they will release one of their current concept cars, the Asterion. As to be expected from Lamborghini, the Asterion will come equipped with a monstrous 900 horsepower PHEV engine that will allow for electric use in lower speed areas, but can switch to an aspirated fuel engine to reach the cars top speed of 199 MPH.
While there hasn't been an official release date announced for the car, the Asterion is most likely set to release sometime in 2019, as Lamborghini is still working out the final few kinks on their new hybrid powerhouse.
10 BMW i Vision Dynamics
On their (American) website, BMW notes: "The purpose of a concept car is to design with the future in mind—to be not just one step ahead, but, in this case, several. The BMW i Vision Dynamics combines electric mobility and stunning design within the context of emerging technology."
This is essentially a way of BMW saying that they not only want to be a part of the EV trend, they want to define it and with this release, they will.
This fully electric sedan will most likely feature Level 4 Autonomy, but it very well could come with Level 5. BMW has said that the release of the car will come in 2021, meaning many things about the car are not set in stone.
9 Maserati Alfieri
Unveiled quite some time ago at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, the Maserati Alfieri is a breathtaking powerhouse that follows Maserati's legendary history of making mechanical masterpieces. Since then, Maserati has confirmed that the Alfieri is set to enter production and replace the GranTurismo, a staple in the history of Maserati.
Even more interesting, the Alfieri is an all-electric vehicle, boasting a 0-60 time of 2 seconds and a top speed of 136 MPH. It's probably safe to assume that the Alfieri is a direct attempt from Maserati to compete with Tesla and Porsche, who are both in the electric sports car market. Maserati estimates that the car will be available sometime before 2022, leaving us to wait for a little while.
8 Byton SUV Concept
Nameless, this concept car by Chinese manufacturer Byton is an all-electric, midsize SUV that supposedly has a range of over 320 miles and an engine packing 496 bhp. Unveiled earlier this year at CES, the Byton SUV is representative of Chinas beginning push toward more electric vehicles, much like other countries around the world.
Additionally, this concept SUV will come with the latest in driver assistance, which doesn't mean full autonomy, but some assistance at least. While we don't know much about the release date yet, Byton has noted that production of the car will begin soon, meaning a release in 2020 at the absolute latest.
7 Infiniti Q Inspiration
Infinit's plunge into the new automobile trends comes via the Q Inspiration, a concept car revealed by Infiniti at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The car features a myriad of driver assistance features, like smart cruise control, adaptive steering and all of the other bells and whistles that new Infinitis have.
Under the hood is Infini's own VC-Turbo engine, which according to Infini's website: "....combines the power of a high-performance 2.0 liter gas engine with the torque and efficiency of an advanced diesel powertrain."
Nothing really has been said about the release date of the Q Inspiration, but hopefully, it will be sooner rather than later.
6 BMW M8 Gran Coupe
Making its debut at the 2018 Geneva Auto Show, the M8 Gran Coupe is BMW's newest addition to the M series, replacing the M6 Gran Coupe. This sedan comes stocked with an array of six and eight cylinder engine options, including the twin-turbo V8 that will output around 600 horsepower.
Interesting enough, the 8 series has actually already been introduced by BMW, in 1989, but was discontinued and has now been revived. In fact, the M8 Gran Coupe will be the first 8 series BMW to have an M badge when it releases sometime in 2019, making history for the German manufacturer.
5 Kia Stinger GT4
The Kia Stinger GT4, a new version of the Stinger GT, was unveiled at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show and now, in 2018, there still isn't much to find out about it. Obviously, we can expect some of the same aspects as current Stinger GT: Turbo V6 engine, pushing 335 horsepower in a wonderful all wheel drive package.
However, due to the design of the GT4, I wonder if the intended market is competing with cars like the Subaru BRZ and Toyota 86, meaning it would be a 4-cylinder, rear wheel drive, roadster-esque sports car. Either way, there isn't a whole lot that's been said by Kia, so anything at this point is pretty much speculation.
4 Hyundai Le Fil Rouge
Complete with suicide doors, the Hyundai Le Fil Rogue is another futuristic concept car revealed at Geneva 2018. This is supposedly what the Hyundai's next generation, dubbed i30, will look like.
There is virtually no information on the technical specs of the Le Fil Rogue, as it was more so intended to show the future of Hyundai and is nowhere close to release.
However, we can compile from recent trends and give a guess that this concept might be electric or autonomous or both. Either way, when I see one of those driving down the road, I'll definitely think I'm in the future.
3 Porsche Taycan
The Porsche Taycan is another addition to the electric sports car trend that Tesla started some time ago, equipped with a 605 horsepower, all electric engine. In fact, the Taycan has an engine that is incredibly similar to the motors used in the 919 LMP1 Porsche race car that has won the Le Mans race three times.
Porsche has used this technology to begin designing new, all-electric additions to the Porsche family, including the Mission E Grand Turismo, which is heavily based on the Taycan's design.
The Taycan is set to release in 2020 with more electric vehicles on the way, something that is truly exciting for the world of electric sports cars.
2 Pininfarina HK GT
Pininfarina's all new, electric, luxury sports car was announced at the Geneva Motor Show, leaving spectators in awe. The HK GT is a head to head competitor with Tesla's Model S, as it comes equipped with a 300 kW electric engine that can output 804 horsepower.
Along with a powerhouse under the hood, the HK GT has other incredible additions like gullwing doors and a microturbine range extender that can extend the car's range to 1000 km (621 mi). One of the only downsides to the car is it's above average weight, coming in at about 4,100 lbs, but even so, the HK GT can get to 60 MPH in under 3 seconds, and that's truly amazing.
1 Toyota e-Palette
Have you ever seen the show Black Mirror? Is the Toyota e-Palette not eerily reminiscent of something that would be seen in an episode? This could be an absolute game changer: imagine the biggest cities in the world, having an interconnected sort of mobile marketplace that doubles as mobile advertisements.
The uses for the e-Palette vary but include workstations, ride-sharing vehicles and other economic enterprises that haven't been thought of. I encourage you to watch Toyota's concept video, which goes over all of the applications of the e-Palette, which are too many to list in this article. All I can say is, this is the future.
Sources: Motor Trend, Car Wow, Car And Driver, Car Dissection, BMW USA, CNET, EV-Database