The big four German Automakers dream up some of the sickest concept cars in the world. Be it ultra-efficient Electric Vehicles (EV) or space-age styling and aerodynamic features, these automakers concept cars are seriously impressive. Although some of these projects will never be put into production, some members on this list are months away from being put into production. The future is now.
Concept cars are one of the most exciting elements of car culture. In the 20th century, luxury automakers like Ferrari and Lamborghini would partner with design firms to draft up radically styled one-off customs. These creations were mostly an artistic exercise and created commercial buzz for both companies involved. It was probably a lot of fun as well. There’s nothing more fun than life-sized Hot Wheels.
With the turn of the 21st century came developments in hybrid and electric technology. Concept cars are still radically styled but now showcase innovative drivetrains, which hope to solve global warming and our society's reliance on fossil fuel. Not every car on this list is electric, but the majority are. It’s a sign of the times, but fear not—only a select few models listed here are self-driving. There’s nothing wrong giving up the pollution aspect of driving, but losing the chance to steer your own car is a frightening reality.
Scroll down to find 20 of the sickest concept cars made by German automakers. These cars range from luxury cruisers to basic commuters, performance whips to utility trucks, and drop dead gorgeous coupes to slightly questionable creations.
20 Volkswagen GT Ge
This sleek Concept coupe is the thesis project of transportation design graduate Eljesah Shala. The project was sponsored by Volkswagen as a way of exploring what'll be possible with cars in the future. And it seems like they think a lot is possible. This thing looks sick. Ultra-clean body lines and futuristic LED headlights give this car a spaceship appearance. The rear end is a unique mix of aero features and stylish tail lights. As it is, at this point, only a computer concept, the drivetrain, is yet to be decided, but it'll most likely be electric. But really, who cares? It looks stupid fast. It’s pretty sick a giant company like VW gives students money to dream up sick concept cars. Who knew school could be so fun?
19 Audi E Tron Quattro
Audi’s E Tron concept line has been headlining auto shows for the past few years—and for good reason: they look really sick. Happily, the future is pretty much now. Audi has announced that by 2019, they'll put the E Tron line into production. For now, we still have a year to drool over this clean SUV. Although the future of our world looks bleak, at least the SUVs of tomorrow will be stylish. It seems that as soon as a car is given an electric drivetrain, designers are told to go wild. Maybe it's compensation. Borrowing the roof line from sedans is a genius idea, though, and the giant Audi grille we know and love is prominent as ever. This car has been sick to dream about and will be even sicker once it hits the streets.
18 Porsche Mission E
It’s a Porsche, so already it’s sick. For Porsche, this car is a fairly radical style departure, the front end punctuated by angular fenders and aggressive air intakes. The German marque develops all of its technology on the racetrack, and this electric sports car is powered by the same Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor (PSM) used in the Le Mans-conquering Porsche 919. That means 600 bhp (300 at each axle) and a 0-100 km/h time of fewer than 3.5 seconds. The Mission E is fast on the road but also fast to charge. Recently, Porsche’s EV department has claimed the Mission E will charge twice as fast as its Tesla counterpart, with a 250-mile charge reportedly taking 20 minutes. Everything about this car is fast.
17 BMW i8 Spyder
With the i8 now available for preorder, BMW’s infamous i8 concept car is no longer a concept. However, wanting to give their fans something to drool over, BMW is prototyping the i8 Spyder. The i8 electric line was one of the first electric concepts that actually got gearheads excited. As if the original isn't striking enough, the deft hands at Beemer have lopped off the roof, turning a gorgeous hardtop into a dangerous drop top. Now, you can whip around in your i8, with the wind in your hair and no emissions in your wake. The roof folds down in 14 seconds at up to 60 km/h, and the Spyder is available in an exclusive Electric Copper colorway. Sadly, there's no release date set for the i8 Spyder, but expect it to be headlining car shows and car blogs for the foreseeable future.
16 Volkswagen ID
Another concept soon to be in production, VW’s ID is a cutesy take on the all-electric city commuter. Look at this little car—it’s adorable. It might be the perforated grille shaped like a smile that makes this car so friendly. Or perhaps, it's the soft white headlights and the smooth styling of the car. VW has announced production will begin for this line in November 2019, going along with the updated company motto of “Think new,” perhaps a change made in lieu of recent exhaust scandals. VW’s push into the electric-vehicle market is impressive, as you'll see from this list, they're planning to make electric cars for every type of consumer. The ID takes care of the textbook office commuter, and the next two entries address those looking for a little more adventure with their vehicles.
15 Volkswagen ID BUZZ
This is sick—no explanation needed. The VW van is one of the most iconic cars of all time. Think surfers, hippies, or even Scooby Doo–everyone knows the classic VW van. Volkswagen knows this and has blessed the people with an incredibly radical update of their cult classic. Long gone are dinosaur fuel tanks and spark plugs; instead, the BUZZ (clever name, isn’t it?) is part of the all-electric ID line. VW’s exhaust scandal has been a nightmare for drivers, environmentalists, and probably even the company. At least they've bounced back and begun prototyping some really sick vehicles. Give us flashy LEDs and retro spaceship styling, and we can forgive all. This lovely little number is slated to go into production in November 2019, along with the rest of the ID line.
14 Volkswagen ID CROZZ
The last member of the Volkswagen ID concept line, the CROZZ is a sporty little crossover expected to be the flagship of the ID line. The ID introduced the EV concept, the BUZZ is for those with a nostalgic kick, and the CROZZ is for the everyday commuter who wants zero emissions and headlights that wink, squint, and stare. That’s right—VW has designed the headlights in all of their ID vehicles to mimic the movements of the human eye. The CROZZ will also feature the self-driving feature found in the entire ID line. When you jump into the driver's seat, you can select the self-driving function, and the steering wheel will retract into the dashboard. If the CROZZ is a sign of the crossovers of tomorrow, the CRV and Rav4s of the world may be in their last days.
13 BMW Vision
BMW has a very stylish view of the future. The German marque is constantly cranking out jaw-dropping concepts, and the Vision concept seems to be the company's vision of tomorrow's daily driver. It’s a good vision—a great one, in fact. The body lines are closer to sci-fi than the production line, and the tech on the VIsion concept is just as otherworldly. The small red panels on the leading edge of the wheel wells are active wheel wells, constantly shifting to maintain maximum aero efficiency. Insane. Inside, the driver can select “boost mode” for a full manually driving experience. Or, you can leave the driving duties to the car's built-in companion system and choose “ease mode.” This thing looks sick and comes loaded with unique technologies that should provide an awesome driving experience.
12 Mercedes Benz X-Class
Isn’t this what we've all secretly wanted for a long time? Mercedes is known for their quality construction and torque-y large displacement engines. This sounds like the type of car maker who should be making pickups. For whatever reason, though, it's really only North America that has committed fully to the pickup craze. Full cabs, dual-wheel rear ends, extended boxes—you name it; you know someone with the truck to match it. With typical grace, Mercedes has done a stunning job with their take on the common pickup. The hood bears the same lines as the marque's quick coupes, and the rear end looks more like a Baja buggy than a utility vehicle. Along with sharp styling, Mercedes is powering the X-class with a V6 diesel and an intricate AWD system. This is billed as the world's first premium pickup, and the X-class has the detail and the luxury to meet the mark.
11 Mercedes Benz F 105
Staying with Mercedes Benz, you'd be forgiven for thinking the F 105 is another pickup concept. Sure, it's awfully close to Ford's model number. But the F 105 isn't a pickup. Mercedes describes it as luxury in motion, but "spaceship" and "radical sedan" are far better descriptors. This thing has blue headlights, and the Mercedes emblem has blue backlighting. That’s sick. The F 105 is designed to be the luxury sedan of tomorrow, taking well-dressed and well-paid persons out for five-course meals and country-club Sundays—all on zero emissions. It’s a lovely coincidence that aerodynamically efficient cars happen to look super cool. Maybe the human eye just knows something good when it sees it. The F 105 is something good, to be certain.
10 Audi Urban Concept
Audi’s concepts are usually LED lit, carbon-fiber fighter jets. The brand supports a massive racing programme and is active in developing high-performance EV vehicles, and this speedy spirit is carried over into their concept cars. But in 2011, they took a slightly different direction. The first clue is the color. Yellow concepts don’t usually scream stealthy and secret, and the Urban was all about garnering attention. This concept was meant to promote Audi's view of the future of urban driving: small, 1-person electric vehicles—looks like a fun future! This glorified Go-Kart wowed critics with its ultra-awkward entry system, involving sliding back the roof hatch and lowering oneself into the tight cockpit. It would be a shame to get to the office in such a stylish whip, just to scuff up your blazer falling while getting out of your car.
9 BMW Gina
This car is creepy. Based on the shape of the doors, the spines in the hood, and the color of the body, the Gina seems to be BMW’s interpretation of a bat. They spared no expense with this concept, implementing a revolutionary technology to construct the car's body. A durable fabric is stretched across a metal frame, a technique BMW engineers claim renders the car shapeshifting. That seems like a stretch, but the shape certainly does change. When the angular doors swing open, the fabric bunches at the door hinges, giving the appearance of wrinkles in the car's body—definitely aids the bat aesthetic. It’s unclear why BMW developed this concept, as the body isn't feasible for safety tests or productions. Even if the Gina will likely never shred the streets, at least it's sick to look at.
8 Mercedes Benz IAA (Intelligent Aerodynamic Automobile)
The grille on this thing is straight out of Blade Runner. Ultra-wide, ultra-tall, ultra-stylized, ultra-"in your face," the front end of this car is sick. And so is the rest of it. Mercedes is a revered brand for many reasons. Fans adore the company's quality construction and high-performance cars, but it’s the fine eye of the marque's designers that give this brand its prestige. The IAA is the latest example of Mercedes resetting the bar for how good a car can look. The front end is one of the most dramatic pieces of styling ever put on a car, and the rear end is a carefully tapered teardrop, which of course, probably plays into some carefully planned aero-efficiency calculation. The IAA is why concept cars exist: to stretch the imagination of gearheads everywhere.
7 Volkswagen XL1 Sport
If you’re a true gearhead, you want this car. Tight handling, low weight, and high power are the holy trinity for any passionate driver, and the XL1 Sport delivers all three in perfect quantities. The XL1 Sport is the much more attractive cousin of the conservative XL1 hybrid VW currently produces. The only thing these cars share are the letters in the model name, though, and that’s it. The XL1 sport uses a Ducati motor to propel the ultra-light chassis to 270 km/h. This concept is a collaboration between Ducati and VW to see how light and how fast they could make a car. And these automakers don’t fool around. The engine is made out of aluminum and has been produced in an extremely limited run specifically for this VW. When the XL1 will begin production is unknown, but we're all hoping it’s ASAP.
6 BMW i8 Hydrogen
Once everyone figured out fossil fuel was evil and very limited, the auto industry began looking for alternatives to keep their cars' wheels turning. Electric-powered cars have emerged as the prominent alternative option, but for a time, automakers were looking at hydrogen-powered options. The i8 Hydrogen is slightly less radically styled than its electric relative, but its drivetrain is far more exotic. The hydrogen fuel is kept in a cryogenic tank, something you would never expect to find in any car. Although stealthy, the i8 has dramatic fender flares that seem to be borrowed from BMW’s DTM aero packages. It means this thing looks sick. Low and wide always looks good, and a cryogenic tanks sound pretty damn cool. Just try to avoid fender benders, as Hydrogen combusts well in all sorts of situations.
5 Mercedes Benz Vision 6 Cabriolet
BMW has a vision, and so does Mercedes. They're very different visions, but both are super sick. While BMW sees a future of streamlined smart cars, Mercedes envisions classically styled luxury. The taper of the body is incredibly appealing and begs the eye to make multiple passes. There's a certain shark-like quality to this beast, with the toothy grille and the taper from tip to tail. This car is gorgeous and another example of Mercedes-Benz's lust-worthy concepts. To go with the vintage styling, Mercedes plans for this car to be completely electric but are still promising impressive performance numbers, which is good because you can’t look this good without wanting to go fast. Along with speed, the concept is designed to last long between charges, perfect for long and scenic coastal drives—the only type of driving this car should really be doing.
4 Volkswagen Golf R400 Roadster
This is another go-fast Volkswagen. It’s time VW started putting some of these rockets into production. Teasing is only fun for so long; it hurts after a while. This is apparently based on the current Golf, but the resemblance is vague at best. I didn’t know that the Golf has a giant wing and ultra-aggressive styling. Also, the regular production has a roof. This thing doesn't; it’s not even a convertible—this is a true roadster. If a company is going to do a roadster, it makes sense to go all in. There are plenty of other models in VW’s lineup for those who want boring things like roofs. If the styling wasn’t sick enough, VW’s quote of almost 400 bhp is certainly sick. The turbo-four cylinder should hustle this thing up to 100 km/h in just under four seconds. Want one yet?
3 Mercedes Benz Ener-G-Force
It seems like Mercedes may have teamed up with NASA on this concept. The array of fog lights, monster tires, and a sky-high ride height combine to create an all-conquering all-terrain vehicle. The technology in this concept is incredible. There are roof-mounted basins to capture water, which is recycled and stored in the vehicle's hydrogen fuel-cell tanks. The tank-link styling is thanks to a collaboration with the LAPD, the Ener-G-Force being designed as the force's cop car of tomorrow. Small windows keep the good officers safe, and thick body panels are impervious to all sorts of threats. For us civilians, this means Mercedes has worked even harder than usual to create an ultra-durable, highly resilient vehicle. With its long-lasting design coupled with space-age aesthetics, this concept is super sick.
2 BMW X7 iPerformance Concept
This is how BMW hopes the SUVs of tomorrow will look. From the outside, this concept is fairly mundane, and under the hood, it promises no radical new drivetrain platform. But in the driver's cabin, the X7 concept takes off into fantasy land. Tablets for every row of passengers, endless amounts of connectivity, and various modes of driver assist make this car a technical marvel. BMW has chosen to explore different aspects of future vehicles with different concepts, and this allows the X7 to focus solely on the interface of the driver with the car. Long gone are the archaic days of dying cell phones and bad reception, along with dangerously fiddling dials to adjust your music. With marvels like the X7, soon, we'll be able to control all of our media with ease, meaning we get to focus on the most fun part of being in a car: driving.
1 Audi Aicon
Luxury, baby—fully autonomous luxury, that is. There’s no steering wheel in this, and there are no pedals. Inside the sleek sedan are two plush chairs, inspired by business-class seats on planes—luxury, for certain. It gets better. The car's electronic brain will learn to anticipate passengers' needs, providing amenities before they're even asked for. A little creepy, huh? As well, a movement as subtle as a flick of your eye will trigger the gesture-controlled electronic servant. Everything Audi could think of has been crammed into this car. The sickest part of this car is how safe it promises to be. Audi wants the self-driving function to be so effective that occupants won't ever need seatbelts, as the car will never slow down harshly or crash. Now that’s sick.
Sources: motortrend.com; mercedes-benz.ca; audi.ca; vw.ca; porsche.com