Future Speed: Cool New Concept Cars

Your average car buyer looks for things like practicality, reliability, affordability and a little bit of style when it comes to looking for a new car. As such, those are the qualities that designers emphasize in their new vehicle ideas. But every now and then, they get to design something truly vibrant and fresh and exciting. These concept cars rarely make it to off the display and onto actual showroom floors, but it’s always fun to look at and dream of what could be. The following is a look at some of the coolest new concept cars that have come across our radar lately.

Lamborghini Asterion

This slick ride debuted late last year at the Paris Auto Show, wowing audiences with its fresh styling that invoked design elements from the company’s cars in decades past, particularly the 1970s. Under the hood, however, it was about as high-tech as things get. There was a 602-hp 5.2-liter V-10 producing 413 lb-ft of torque, and that alone would be more than enough to impress. However, when combined with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and an electric motor that serves as power booster, starter, and generator, you have an engine that can produce just under 900 horsepower and reach 62 miles per hour in three seconds flat. Dream on, indeed.

Photo courtesy Automobili Lamborghini

Photo courtesy Automobili Lamborghini

Volkswagen XL1 Sport

VW isn’t usually the first name one thinks of when it comes to advanced sports cars. But that’s exactly what the German engineers at Volkswagen have concocted with this sporty version of their XL1 concept car. While this version lacks the diesel/electric hybrid engine that could go 200 miles on a single gallon of diesel fuel, it does boast a Ducati-sourced V-Twin engine that happens to be the world’s most powerful two-cylinder engine. This modified engine can produce up to 197 horses and 99 lb-feet of torque, reaching speeds up to 168 miles per hour. There’s no word on whether or not this version of the XL1 will make it to production, but given the limited numbers of its predecessor and the even more limited run of the Ducati engine which powers it, it’s safe to say that if this does go to production, it will be difficult to obtain.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen Group.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen Group

Mercedes-Benz F015 Autonomous Car

Some (like our search engine overlords, Google) are insisting that autonomous, self-driving cars are in fact the wave of the future. And if that is truly the case, then Mercedes-Benz will, unsurprisingly, have you autonomously driven around in utter style with the ideas put forth in the F015 concept car. Purely from a mechanical perspective, this certainly feels futuristic. The car would be powered by a hydrogen fuel cell stack, a lithium-ion battery and two electric motors rated at 134 horsepower each and would effectively generate zero emissions. The intent is to allow the battery to be charged at home, and with a full charge carrying the vehicle as far as 124 miles on a single full charge. That increases exponentially when you include a full tank of hydrogen, up to 684 miles to be precise. The car has an autonomous drive system, of course, and passengers interact with the vehicle via gestures, eye tracking and LED touch screens. The wave of the future? Here’s hoping.

Photo courtesy Daimler AG

Photo courtesy Daimler AG

Infiniti Vision Concept

It would be interesting to learn how often a car designer is given the instruction (either directly or otherwise) to “make the Batmobile.” Because that’s certainly what seems to have happened with the Infiniti Vision Concept. Seriously, just look at that thing. Just add some bat-insignia and maybe an flame exhaust port, maybe some grappling hooks and you’ve basically got a vehicle that is just begging to zoom through the streets of Gotham in pursuit of The Joker or Catwoman. A car that sleek and stylish just begs to be driven, which means there’s both good and bad news here. You can drive this car, but you have to have a PlayStation 3 and a copy of Gran Turismo 6. You see, this car was part of a special event intended to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the revolutionary video game series. The Infiniti Vision (along with several others) is free to download.

Image courtesy Nissan Motor Company/Sony Computer Entertainment

Image courtesy Nissan Motor Company/Sony Computer Entertainment

Mazda LM55 Vision Concept

This is another of the Vision Concepts commissioned by Polyphony Digital in honor of its Gran Turismo series. However, this particular car holds a bit of a special place for Mazda, as it was designed as a tribute to the company’s legendary 787B that won the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in 1991. The 787B was one of the original four-rotor engines. This new version may not technically have that style of engine (it is a video game, after all) but it has been designed in the game to drive and feel like the real thing.

Image courtesy Mazda Motor Corporation/Sony Computer Entertainment

Image courtesy Mazda Motor Corporation/Sony Computer Entertainment

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