VOLKSWAGEN SEDRIC: Looking more science fiction than science fact, the Sedric is everything a concept car should be. It looks futuristic, has level 5 self-driving capabiilities and is powered by electricity. So it’s a shame about the 1950s name – derived from SElf-DRIving-Car.
TOYOTA I-TRIL: The i-TRIL offers an insight into what Toyota expects an autonomous city car of 2030 to look like. The ultra-slippery EV can lean into corners and offers seating for three along with a range of at least 185 miles and voice control for all the major functions. We’ll take it.
TOYOTA FT-4X: Here’s a novelty: a concept car with an internal combustion engine – albeit an imaginary on, because the FT-4X is a non-runner. The urban SUV has a built-in GoPro and outer panels that can be swapped when you get bored with the colour. Admittedly both of these have already been seen in production cars, but the FT-4X does look rather neat.
SSANGYONG XAVL: Offering an insight into what Ssangyong’s forthcoming seven-seat SUV will look like, the XAVL features lots of technology that’s new to the brand but which has been on some rivals’ production cars for years.
TOYOTA CONCEPT-I: If you like marketing speak, you’ll love this one: the Concepto-i features ‘kinetic warmth design philosophy’. Which is nice. It also incorporates Artificial Intelligence aplenty; this system even has its own name (Yui) and can communicate with its user via spoken messages, lights and touch-sensitive features.
SKODA VISION E: Skoda’s first electric vehicle is no dud aesthetically, so if the 2020 production car that it previews looks as good, the VW sub-brand is onto a winner. While the electric powertrain is a highlight, the emphasis is on the interior packaging, thanks to the compact running gear.
VOLKSWAGEN ID BUZZ: Following on from the ID that was unveiled at last year’s Paris motor show, the ID Buzz is a 21st century interpretation of the classic split-screen van. It's powered by electricity and designed to seat eight. VW is making noises about putting the ID Buzz into production by 2022.
RENAULT RS2027 VISION: Here’s something a bit different: a glimpse into the future of the most cutting-edge racers on the planet. With its hybrid powertrain, the RS2027 has a megawatt of power at its disposal; that’s 1341bhp in old money. Connectivity and autonomous tech are also part of the mix.
RINSPEED OASIS: You won’t find more fertile imaginations than those at Rinspeed. Every year they come up with something, er, unconventional, and for 2017 it’s this. The Oasis can turn within its own axis and features virtual reality technology and an on-board garden. And a secure pizza delivery drawer for good measure.
PININFARINA H600: Now owned by Mahindra, Pininfarina teamed up with the Hybrid Kinetic Group to create this 800bhp-plus saloon with a hybrid powertrain that uses a turbine as a range extender. Capable of 0-62mph in just 2.9sec, the H600’s range is pegged at an impressive 621 miles.
RENAULT ZOE E-SPORT: The regular Renault Zoe is the opposite of a performance car, so this 460bhp version, which mates a Formula E drivetrain with a pumped-up three-door version of the Zoe’s hatchback bodyshell, is intriguing. There are no plans for production, but it shows what’s possible.
VOLKSWAGEN ID CROZZ: The third in Volkswagen’s ID series, the ID Crozz shares the same platform and running gear as its siblings. Rated at 302bhp and featuring four-wheel drive, the crossover is significantly shorter than the Tiguam Allspace but has a more spacious cabin, thanks to the electric powertrain.
INFINITI QX80 MONOGRAPH: The QX80 is one of the ugliest cars currently in production, and while this concept isn’t quite as offensive, we’d say it needs a bit more work yet. No technical details have been released; the Monograph was created to show off Infiniti’s new design language, but something seems to have been lost in translation.
NISSAN VMOTION: Nissan didn’t release much information about its Vmotion 2.0 concept, suggesting that it was created largely to gauge feedback to key design elements. These include the V-shaped grille along with the floating roof – a glass panel supported by blacked-out pillars.
MG E-MOTION: We’ve been underwhelmed with MG’s production cars of late, so if this all-electric coupé was to go into production by 2020, as the company claims it might, it would give the brand a major shot in the arm. The claimed range is 310 miles, with MG aiming to sell the car for £30,000.
HYUNDAI FE FUEL CELL: With its fourth-generation fuel cell tech, the FE (Future Eco) Fuel Cell concept is more efficient and better packaged than any hydrogen-powered car yet created by Hyundai. It’s a sharp-looking thing too, the design inspired by water and nature.
HONDA NEUV: Taking the monobox school of design to its ultimate conclusion, the funky-looking NeuV is a pure electric city car with artificial intelligence at its core. No details of the powertrain have been released; the focus is much more on autonomous systems.
GENESIS GV80: We’d be lying if we said that the GV80 is the most attractive SUV we’ve ever seen, but the fact that it’s powered by a plug-in hydrogen fuel cell is enough to get any tech-head excited – even if Hyundai offshoot Genesis hasn’t revealed any details of the powertrain.
PEUGEOT INSTINCT: The Instinct has no production future, but it does showcase Peugeot’s autonomous capabilities; it’s a level 5 car, which is as advanced as it gets. The French company says it’s aiming to have its first fully self-driving car on the market by 2025.
CHRYSLER PORTAL: Chrysler’s concepts are generally more impressive than its production models, and nowhere is this more evident than here. This EV features level 3 autonomy, voice and facial recognition tech plus twin sliding doors on each side that promise unparalleled cabin access.
CITROEN C-AIRCROSS: This doesn’t look quite as bonkers as some of the stuff here, but that’s largely because you’ll be able to buy one soon; it’s the replacement for the C3 Picasso. But it still looks futuristic and we rather like it. Designed to take on the Nissan Juke, the production version will reach showrooms early next year, looking much like this.
BMW I INSIDE FUTURE: That awful buzz-phrase ‘thinking outside the box’ was dreamt up for stuff like this. BMW’s designers didn’t feel constrained by convention with this astonishing concept, which combines living room ambience with cutting-edge tech such as a holographic screen that works via gesture control.
AUDI Q8 SPORT: Another one from Geneva, the Q8 Sport previews Audi’s plush new full-size SUV that’s set to appear in production form next year. At the heart of the petrol-electric hybrid is a turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 that takes the car to 171mph and gives 0-62mph in 4.7sec.
AIRBUS POP.UP: Far-out concepts are nothing new, but this is perhaps the wackiest project for years. Unveiled at the Geneva show on March, the Pop.Up is a pod that can be transported by drones or on a four-wheel skate, so in effect it's a flying car. Mad, but very, very appealing.
BENTLEY EXP 12 SPEED 6E: In our letters pages, its nose has been likened to the late 1990s Toyota Corolla but, not entirely surprisingly, the Bentley is even faster and more luxurious. The EXP 12 Speed 6E is a drop-top version of the EXP10 coupé concept shown two years ago. Bentley has remained tight-lipped about motive power for this one.
Car design studies, usually shown as concept cars at motor shows or other big events, have been around for more than eight decades and there’s no sign of the creativity slowing.
Indeed, modern materials, production processes and powertrains have lead to ever wilder wacky concepts being created in recent years, and that is demonstrated by the bumper crop of concept cars unveiled already in 2017.
From autonomous city cars and reimagined camper vans to a future vision of Formula 1, check out the gallery above to see what the next 20 years of cars will (possibly) look like.