Concept cars are prototypes which show off a manufacturer’s vision for a potential new car in terms of technology, style and overall look. Usually showcased at motor shows, they are an easy way to gauge public opinion on a new styling direction or vehicle idea, or whether there’s still room for improvement.
As you can expect, most concept cars don’t make the graduation to series production, but some do flourish and go on to become truly great cars. Over the years, there have been countless amazing concept cars. I’ve tried to narrow them down into my favourite five concept cars of all time – it’s a tricky one though. Read on and see if you agree.
1. Aston Martin CC100 Speedster
Designed to commemorate the company’s 100th anniversary, the CC100 Speedster definitely lives up to its name. The team at Aston Martin call it “the epitome of everything that is great” – it’s not got a lot to live up to then! What I love about it however is the sleek design. It truly is a beautiful car and definitely cool enough for any future James Bond to drive. It’s hard to believe that the design only took six months, but unfortunately we are never likely to see a production version of this amazing concept car.
2. BMW i8 Spyder
More elegant than the customary Beemer, the i8 Spyder is definitely not a car for the shy and retiring. I’d love nothing more than to take this beauty out on the open road for a spin. Its tiny 1.5-litre three cylinder engine is combined with electric motors to give a consumption of 2.7L/100km. The i8 is one of the few concept cars which has made production, with the coupé version hitting the streets later this year and the Spyder soon after.
3. Maserati Birdcage 75th
Legendary Italian design house Pininfarina could have a list of amazing concept cars all to itself, but this one is probably its most dramatic of the last decade. Built to celebrate their 75th birthday, and as a tribute to the great Maserati ‘Birdcage’ sports racing cars of the 1960s, the Maserati Birdcage 75th concept is probably the lowest and sleekest things with wheels you could ever imagine. It also harks back to Pininfarina’s crazy Ferrari Modulo concept from the early 1970s. Despite many calls to put the Birdcage into production, it was sadly never feasible as a series production vehicle and remains a one-off dream machine.
4. Peugeot Onyx
Did you think you’d ever see the day when papier maché would be used to help make a car? Well that’s exactly what has happened with the Peugeot Onyx. One of the great things about the Onyx is that it was actually driveable, which is more than most concept cars manage. This hybrid creation has an electric motor which adds 80bhp to the petrol engine’s already-powerful 600bhp. One of the more intriguing aspects of the Onyx is its copper panelling on the bodywork. The older the car gets, the greener the copper will turn, so the effects of time will be noticeable. Greener than most cars out there, this model uses recycled newspapers to make up the dashboard and recycled felt for the interior panelling and steering wheel.
5. Renault Alpine A110-50
If a sleek and sporty look is what you’re after, the mid-engined Renault Alpine A110-50 concept car more than delivers. Meant to be driven with passion, you’ll want to up the revs and listen to this baby roar as it glides along the road. It’s nice and lightweight too, thanks to the carbon fibre body work. Despite deliberate throwbacks to the original Alpine A110 from the 1960s, this is in no way a retro design. A production version is planned, so fingers crossed it ends up looking just like the concept car (as much as road laws allow, anyway). Get racing, guys.
Your favourite concept cars?
There have been hundreds of concept cars produced over the years, but very few have ever made it into production. Which concept car do you wish had made the jump from concept car to production car?