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 exterior design of the Tonale concept 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 in 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
Last year in Geneva 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 and easy access for passengers. 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 the 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 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 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; first deliveries are scheduled for the end of March 2019. The e-tron Sportback will be presented later this year, followed by the Q2L e-tron for the Chinese market and production versions of both the high-performance Audi GT e-tron and Q4 e-tron 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 need.
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 this prototype is practically ready for production, Honda says there are no plans to bring the final version to America.
Imagine by Kia Concept — Geneva
Kia introduced an all-electric concept car at this year’s 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 show here, the automaker does state 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.
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 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 it 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 expected in the 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 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 axle 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. Lexus has a history of bringing the design of the LF-LC to production as the Lexus LC. Will the LC Convertible Concept be the next concept to go into production?
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, nubuk 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 announced no plans to put this concept vehicle into production, but we expect to see some of the features and styling cues in future models from the German carmaker.
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 plans the world premiere of a series production EQV at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2019.
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 is 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 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.
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, such as the best car gadgets, are available for consumers to build their own custom Volkswagen Atlas.
Volkswagen ID. BUGGY — Geneva
One of the most engaging vehicles introduced in Geneva is 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 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 multi-functional 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.