It’s 2014, and while we don’t have the flying cars of The Jetsons cartoon fame, there are still some really cool concept cars catching the attention of auto enthusiasts everywhere.
Some of the latest trends car companies are moving towards are:
- Boosted horsepower
- Improved aerodynamics
- Green technology in the form of hybrid cars
- Super-futuristic, sporty designs
- Smart vehicles packed with mobile connectivity, automation, and more
Alas, still no flying cars, although some of these look like they’re ready for takeoff. The following are some of the top concept models on our radar.
With dozens of high-end concepts from car makers like Maserati, Audi, and BMW, what’s so special about a Toyota? Motor Trend blogger, Kim Reynolds, calls the FT-1, “Easily the most radical looking sports car concept at the 2014 Detroit show.”
Not just a souped-up Supra, this car includes a retractable rear wing and aerodynamics that make it ready for the race track. Too bad Toyota refused to reveal any details about the powertrain.
Nissan Sport Sedan Concept
While the bulk of concept cars on display are hardcore sports cars, the radically designed Nissan sport sedan concept hints at what we’re likely to see in the 2015 Maxima.
This concept sports a V-Motion front end, a long, low sloping roofline that seems to float, and sporty boomerang-shaped headlights and taillights.
Under the hood you’ll find a powerful 300-hp V6 and a continuously variable transmission, the same technology used in the current Maxima and Altima.
Volkswagen Beetle Dune
If you’ve been mourning the loss of the Baja Bug, you may soon have a chance to own a piece of (revamped) history. The new Beetle Dune is based on the Beetle R, but sits two inches higher than the production model R. The yellow-orange metallic color, called Arizona, reminds us of a sunrise, further contributing to the car’s outdoorsy image.
While the car boasts a 210-hp engine, the most interesting parts of the car sit below and above the main body: a chrome-plated underbody skid plate and a ski rack that can also hold a snowboard.
Audi AllRoad Shooting Brake Hybrid
This crossover with off-road capability has a marginally-extended hatchback as its name implies, and the two-door body makes it shorter than you’d expect from a true, wagon-like crossover hatchback.
This concept is the first to use the new version of the e-tron hybrid system. It boasts three motors (two electric and one 2.0-liter TFSI turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine) that combine to offer 408 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque.
Audi also made waves at the Consumer Electronics Show this January. At this Las Vegas gathering of all things tech, the company demonstrated a self-parking A7. If visions of Knight Rider spring to mind, you’re not far off. However, the self-driving A7 is, so far, still just a concept.
Mercedes Benz S-Class
The newly redesigned S-Class coupe is also just a concept, but it includes technology that permits it to drive on its own, slowly, and in traffic. This is an amazing option available now on some Benz models.
This technology includes stereoscopic 3D cameras, adaptive cruise control, active collision avoidance, and the Intelligent Drive option. At the North American International Auto Show, Mercedes revealed it spent $1 billion remaking the S-Class into the pinnacle of luxury cars.