Concept cars in focus at Geneva
From track-tuned executive sedans and SUVs with a V8 grunt yet four-pot thirst, through to electric-hot hatchbacks and a Singaporean supercar, this year’s Geneva motor show offered a fascinating mix of concepts.
Aston Martin Rapide AMR
Aston plans to launch a new sub-brand that takes technology developed on the track and brings it to the tarmac. To show what it has in mind it unveiled the Rapide AMR, a four-door fastback with enhanced track credentials and a 600PS V12 under the vented hood that gives the car a 210mph top speed, making it potentially the fastest four-door road car in the world.
Audi Q8 Sport Concept
The exterior is the clearest indication yet of what the company’s future flagship SUV will look like, but it’s the under-the-hood innovation that really impresses. Audi has mated a third electronically controlled turbine to the two standard turbos on its 3-liter V6 and then mated the whole lot with a mild hybrid system. That gives the car the same performance levels as a naturally aspirated V8. Yet it uses the same amount of fuel as, say, an average 2-liter four cylinder engine.
Bentley EXP 12 Speed 6e
Bentley says this plug-in electric convertible is simply a way of testing customers’ appetite for an electrified car. But it is also the strongest sign yet that the company is going to introduce another new model line that will be marketed as a more compact, sporty two-seat alternative to the larger, four-seat Continental GT.
Hyundai FE Fuel Cell Concept
The fuel cell car is only just rolling out to consumers beyond California’s borders but Hyundai is already thinking about the next generation of hydrogen powered cars. “Our FE Fuel Cell Concept is an important evolution of our pioneering hydrogen leadership, and moves us closer to our vision for a ‘Hydrogen Society’, where transportation is clean, efficient and enhances the lives of our customers,” said Hyundai Vice Chairman, Woong Chul Yang.
Infiniti Q60 Black S Concept
Of all the concepts on show this year, this one’s simply a couple of signatures away from being a reality. Based on the Q60, this Infiniti has been endowed with the hybrid system developed for F1 plus some serious external aerodynamic improvements giving the car’s V6 engine as much as 25% more power.
Mercedes-AMG GT Concept
The company is calling this elongated supercar -- a four-door fastback with a monstrous AMG engine propelling it forward -- a concept, but something very much like the Mercedes-AMG GT Concept is almost certain to become a production reality within the next 12-24 months -- especially considering how popular cars like the Porsche Panamera are proving with customers.
A futuristic shooting break, Peugeot’s show car is an attempt to reassure drivers that even when autonomous cars become the norm, in the case of the company’s cars at least there will be a setting that makes them drive in a “sharper,” more human way. Level 5 autonomous driving is more than a decade from being a real-world reality but the car’s stance, design cues, cabin and hybrid engine could all be on the average production Peugeot before 2020.
Renault Zoe e-Sport Concept
Proving that it can be fun to be responsible, this is a plug-in electric Zoe in extreme hot-hatch form. Stripped back to two seats and with a carbon fiber and Kevlar construction to up rigidity and cut weight, the car has 460hp and a 0-100km/h tim of just 3.2 seconds.
This is the latest in a growing number of Toyota studies into what will replace the car-sized car in the clean, green, congested city of the future. This one has scissor doors and a 1+2 seating formation, is not much bigger than a motorcycle, and can actively lean from side to side in the bends so that it can corner at greater speeds with a lower center of gravity.
Vanda Electrics Dendrobium
This is Singapore’s first supercar, or at least will be when it moves from this year’s concept stage and into production in 2020. But even in this state, thanks to developmental assistance from Williams, the Formula 1 team, this all-electric car is capable of incredible acceleration and a top speed in excess of 200mph. And it is the first car in the world to feature a roof that opens backwards simultaneously with both doors to ensure that it’s easy to enter and exit.