Cool and crazy concept cars
The Geneva motor show always turns up an array of concept cars from all over the globe. Some preview future models and are almost production-ready, while others are off-the-wall crazy and are never going to see a real road. This year saw the usual mix of both.
Bentley presented the handsome EXP12 Speed 6e, an electric convertible based on the EXP 10 Speed 6 coupé concept from a couple of years ago. Bentley hinted that the concept could see production if the response was sufficiently favourable, but more realistically it should be seen as an indicator of what the next Continental GT and GTC models should look like when they arrive in the next year or so.
Mercedes-AMG showed off a sleek four-door saloon (no, Mercedes, there is no such thing as a four-door coupé) which previews the replacement for today’s CLS model and is aimed at the successful Porsche Panamera. Combining a petrol V8 and an electric motor, Mercedes claims the GT Concept can generate 800hp when both power sources are combined.
Audi had a revised version of its Q8 concept from Detroit on its stand, this time with an upgraded V6 petrol engine boosted by an electric turbocharger. Audi has been working hard on electric turbo technology, and the Q8 Concept Sport is a clear indication of its intent. The concept also includes a 48-volt electrical system and mild hybrid regeneration technology to boost efficiency.
Famed Italian design house Pininfarina displayed two concepts at Geneva this year: firstly, a track special supercar for a new brand being founded by double F1 world champion Emerson Fittipaldi, and secondly a handsome luxury saloon for a Hong Kong car company called Hybrid Kinetic Group.
The H600 saloon uses a turbine engine as a range extender, in a similar concept to the Jaguar C-X75 supercar concept from a few years ago (and immortalised with a regular petrol engine in the James Bond movie SPECTRE). The H600 is similar in size to a Mercedes-Benz S-Class, and aimed at a similar clientele. However, the H600 claims 800hp from its electric drivetrain, so it will deliver a rather different driving experience.
Citroën had both a concept and a sketch to provide a visual roadmap of its future models. The C-Aircross concept is said to preview the forthcoming replacement for the current C3 Picasso, while the company also had some conceptual illustrations of its forthcoming C5 Aircross model, which is expected to make its public debut at the Shanghai motor show in April.
Hyundai showed off a hydrogen fuel concept SUV, which is said to preview a production version set to be revealed in 2018. While the production model will be considerably toned down, it reaffirms Hyundai’s commitment to the fuel cell concept for electric propulsion.
On the slightly crazier side, Renault pumped up its little Zoe electric car with two electric motors producing 460hp. And also pumped out the guards so far that the Zoe s-sport was pretty much as wide as it was long.
ItalDesign had a big show, with both a flying car conceptual collaboration with Airbus (see next page) and the launch of its own supercar. Now owned by the Volkswagen Group, the Italian styling house founded by legendary designer Giorgetto Giugiaro, unveiled the Italdesign Zerouno, which is based on the mechanicals of an Audi R8 V10.
Most of the concept cars on display had an autonomous driving aspect to them, as it is an area of intense development for every manufacturer. So let’s look at the key offerings from this year’s Geneva motor show…
Next page: Autonomous driving draws ever closer