Top car concepts of 2013

We pick this year's finest show cars and rate their chances of making it to production.

AUDI SPORT QUATTRO

What is it: This is an updated concept version of the 2010 show car, which first previewed Audi's ambition of reviving the Quattro nameplate last used in 1980.

What's cool: The Sport Quattro has a 4.0 litre twin-turbo V8 coupled to an electric motor producing 700hp, in contrast to the 408hp 2.5 litre turbo five-pot first seen three years ago.

Will it be made: Audi is still struggling to find a business case for it. Instead of that wild V8, spinning off a four-pot turbo from the A5 Coupe should just do for a more sensible price.

HYUNDAI HND-9

What is it: Korea's top car maker is giving some clues to how its next Genesis Coupe could look like now that today's generation is five years old. Powertrain consists of 365hp 3.3 litre turbo V6 and eight-speed automatic.

What's cool: The voluptuous design cues the HND-9 bears simply looks astonishing for a car penned by designers at Hyundai. It's the Aston of the Far East.

Will it be made: Hyundai isn't saying anything yet, but the chance of the second-gen Genesis Coupe looking like this appears very high.

LEXUS LF-NX

What is it: This is a wild interpretation of how a Lexus compact SUV could look like to go head-to-head with the Range Rover Evoque and Porsche Macan, as well as BMW's pending X4 which will be a sport derivative of today's X3.

What's cool: Two relevant engines were separately shown this year at Paris and Tokyo: a 2.5 litre petrol-electric hybrid currently used by the ES300h and a brand new 2.0 litre petrol-turbo engine holding key to Lexus' engine-downsizing future.

Will it be made: Yes, as the all-new NX early next year, just that designers have been told to ease off the sake for the showroom-ready article.

MITSUBISHI XR-PHEV

What is it: This is one of the three concept cars highlighted in Tokyo last month. The XR-PHEV is a sporty looking compact SUV riding on chunky mag wheels and wearing an aggressive-looking snout.

What's cool: In order to keep up with the eco-friendly brouhaha, the XR-PHEV gets a 1.1 litre three-cylinder petrol-turbo engine hooked up to an electric system with plug-in facility.

Will it be made: It would be great if it could be because there still isn't such a model made by any mass-market brand yet.

NISSAN IDX

What is it: Nissan has sprung a surprise show debut at the Tokyo motor show with this retro-looking IDx Nismo, spun off from the more ordinary IDx Freeflow. It has been made from inputs of potential customers wanting an entry-level coupe.

What's cool: The retro looks aping that of the Datsun 510 should really induce enthusiasts who would like an alternative to the Toyota 86.

Will it be made: Nissan is discussing two potential powerplants: 1.2 and 1.6 litre with direct-injection and turbo tech, although a dual-clutch automatic would certainly sound better than the proposed CVT automatic.

SUZUKI CROSSHIKER

What is it: Like Mitsubishi, Suzuki used this year's Japanese motor show to highlight three concept cars of which this one strikes us as the most interesting due to the brand's repertoire of small SUVs.

What's cool: The Crosshiker features a compact and lightweight body that should prove great for the concrete jungle. Adding relevance to its urban concept is a 1.0 litre three-cylinder petrol engine.

Will it be made: That's difficult to say, but that three-pot motor is confirmed for the all-new Alto city car to be made in Thailand next year.

VOLKSWAGEN DESIGN VISION GTI

What is it: Volkswagen has stuffed a fiery 500hp 3.0 litre twin-turbo V6 into the seventh-gen Golf whose dual-clutch automatic transmission transfers power to all four wheels. It appeared at a meeting for Golf GTI fans in Austria earlier this year.

What's cool: Just look at it _ it's that kind of a car you should be finding wallpapered on desktop computers of fans of go-faster hatchbacks.

Will it be made: The Design Vision would probably be a little too mad to handle with all that kind of power under the bonnet, but that blown sixer will appear in bigger Vee-dubs of the future.

VOLVO CONCEPT COUPE

What it is: Although it totes the apparel of a coupe with some semblance to the P1800 of the sixties, Volvo says the Concept Coupe previews the face of next-year's long-awaited replacement for the XC90 flagship SUV.

What's cool: Cosmetics aside, the Concept Coupe incorporates two crucial things for Volvo's future: a scalable platform that can underpinning anything from a coupe to SUV and a four-cylinder turbo engine with different power outputs and the ability to have an electric hybrid system attached to it.

Will it be made: The platform and engine will certainly be made, although Volvo should also consider this beautiful two-door body as a replacement for today's ageing C70.

Share your thoughts

Discussion 1 : 29/12/2013 at 07:14 PM
Why do today's cars look like dogs/cats with their mouths wide open? Oops I forgot about Hello Kitty. Now I understand it all. I still love my '67 XKE roadster, totally sexy then and totally sexy now. Sorry no place for Kitty stickers.
Discussion 2 : 29/12/2013 at 03:10 PM
and still the volvo looks the most boring. They cant even have any imagination for a concept. yawn

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