Virtual-reality racers, fantastical roadsters and plenty of futuristic SUVs: we look back at the concept cars that stole the limelight during 2014
21 December 2014

This year's motor shows haven't disappointed with their capacity to produce great concept cars.

Traditionally a glimpse into the automotive future, 2014's concept cars have brought us highlights including Aston Martin's virtual racer, the DP-100, Maserati's astounding Alfieri sports car and a string of Audi concepts to preview the new TT. Here are our favourite concepts from the past year.

Alfa Romeo 4C Spider

Unveiled for the first time at the Geneva motor show back in March, the 4C Spider is powered by the same 1750cc turbocharged four-pot as the coupé. Despite a modest weight gain of 60kg over the coupé, Alfa claims the Spider will hit 0-62mph in 4.5sec and go on to 155mph. Weight distribution still remains 40 per cent front, 60 per cent rear. Production will begin early in 2015.

Aston Martin DP-100 Vision Gran Turismo

Created specifically for the Gran Turismo 6 racing simulation game, Aston Martin’s designers were given total freedom with the DP-100. Available for download, gamers can sample the mid-engined concept car which is powered by an 800bhp twin-turbocharged V12 motor with 774lb ft of torque. Sadly, it will never turn a wheel in reality.

Audi A3 Clubsport Quattro

Endowed with 518bhp from its heavily tweaked 2.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine, the A3 Clubsport Quattro boasts the same power-to-weight ratio as Audi’s flagship R8 V10 Plus. The 0-62mph sprint is cracked in just 3.6sec and it keeps on going up to 193mph.

To harness this speed, the concept gets 370mm carbon-ceramic brake discs which work in conjunction with an air brake function integrated into the spoiler. Although officially described as a concept only, Audi says elements of the new car will make their way onto future models.

Audi Allroad Shooting Brake

Audi describes the Allroad Shooting Brake, which had its debut at the Detroit motor show back in January, as “a concrete look into the future”. Measuring 4.2m long and made from aluminium and carbonfibre-reinforced plastics, it’s powered by a hybrid e-tron powertrain with total outputs of 402bhp and 480lb ft. Watch this space.

Audi Sport Quattro Laserlight

Also revealed at the start of 2014, this concept is said to demonstrate the future of lighting technology. Featuring a combination of matrix LED and laser light technologies, the headlights can provide twice the lighting range and three times the luminosity of LED high-beam units.

Audi TT Offroad

The most likely of this year’s Audi concepts to make production. Arriving in 2015 at the earliest, the four-door compact SUV will have the Range Rover Evoque and Porsche Macan in its crosshairs. Powered by the same hybrid e-tron powertrain as the Allroad Shooting Brake, it’s said to be capable of 0-62mph in 5.2sec. Top speed is 155mph.

Audi TT Quattro Sport

The wraps were pulled off this “extreme driving machine” at March’s Geneva motor show. Created as a tuning exercise for Audi’s 2.0-litre TFSI petrol engine, the company wanted to see how far it could push that powerplant's boundaries. The answer was impressive: 414bhp, 332lb ft and 0-62mph in 3.7sec.

Audi TT Sportback

The designers and engineers at Audi were clearly working overtime as yet another concept was showcased, this time at the Paris motor show. Potentially another member of the TT family, Audi execs say it closely previews a new liftback model with individual rear seats.

Bentley Grand Convertible concept

Unveiled last month at the Los Angeles motor show, it’s described by its maker as “the most sophisticated open-top car ever created by Bentley”. Powered by the same 6.75-litre twin-turbocharged V8 as the Mulsanne Speed, company officials told Autocar last month that the car will make production.

BMW Vision Future Luxury

The Vision Future Luxury boasts pillarless doors front and rear, state-of-the-art laser headlights, three-dimensional graphic displays and a brushed aluminium and wood interior. Expect some of the technology to feature on the next-generation 7-series, mooted to arrive late 2015.

Citroën Divine DS

With its debut at October’s Paris motor show, the Divine DS concept symbolises the future styling of the DS brand, according to Citroën.

Highlights include the lack of a rear window, which is substituted by a rear-view camera with its image projected where you’d normally find the rear-view mirror. The luxurious cabin is the result of a partnership between jeweller Swarovski and embroidery company Lesage.

Ford S-Max Vignale

Adorned with the company’s new flagship brand's badge, the S-Max Vignale concept gets quilted soft-touch leather seats, "woven texture embossed" aluminium, 21-inch alloy wheels and a unique paint finish. Ford has confirmed that a production version of this will follow the Mondeo Vignale next year.

Honda Civic Type R concept

Previewed at the Paris motor show in October, Honda has made no bones about its ambition to make the next-generation Civic Type R the fastest front-wheel-drive car yet around the Nürburgring.

Power will come from an all-new 2.0-litre turbocharged i-VTEC petrol engine, with sources saying it will produces at least 300bhp and 300lb ft of torque.

Honda is promising a “sensational driving experience”. We can’t wait to try it.

Hyundai Intrado

The Korean car maker chose the Geneva motor show earlier this year to showcase its vision of the future. The super-lightweight crossover coupé is powered by a hydrogen fuel cell powertrain.

It features a ground-breaking carbonfibre reinforced-plastic chassis made up of interconnected ‘hoops’. The structure is said to be 70 per cent lighter than and twice as torsionally rigid as an equivalent steel chassis. Hyundai hopes this material technology can find its way on to the mass market in the future.

Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge

Aimed squarely at the likes of the BMW M5 and Audi RS6, the Q50 Eau Rouge was first unveiled at the Detroit motor show back in January.

Power comes from parent company Nissan’s 3.8-litre turbocharged V6 engine. Also found in the GT-R, it has been lightly tweaked to develop 552bhp and 442lb ft . Zero to 62mph is said to be blitzed in "less than 4.0sec" with a top speed limited to 180mph. Read our first drive thoughts of the prototype, here.

Infiniti Q80 Inspiration

With its Q80 Inspiration, which was one of the stars of the Paris Motor show, Infiniti plans to "disrupt the premium saloon category" and battle with the Mercedes S-class and BMW 7-series. Powered by a hybrid powertrain featuring a 543bhp 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged V6 mated to an electric motor and a nine-speed automatic gearbox, combined economy is a claimed 51.4mpg.

The Q80 Inspiration has been given the production green light and should appear in "three to five" years.

Kia GT4 Stinger

The GT4 Stinger is pitched as a direct rival to the Toyota GT86 and is expected to go on sale by 2016. The rear-wheel-drive coupé is powered by a 315bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged four-pot motor and mated to a six-speed manual gearbox.

The Korean brand is also planning a four-door fastback variant with a 390bhp 3.3-litre V6 turbo. Exciting times ahead.

Lamborghini 5-95 Zagato

Enjoying its debut at the prestigious Villa D’Este Concours D’Elegance back in May, the 5-95 Zagato is based on the underpinnings of a Gallardo. The pillarless body is surrounded by continuous glass surfaces and harks back to Zagato’s 1940s design theme.

Lamborghini Asterion

When the wraps came off the Asterion at the Paris motor show, it stole the limelight. Right at the heart of the concept is a naturally-aspirated 5.2-litre V10 mated to three electric motors to produce a combined 898bhp. In front-wheel drive pure electric mode, the Asterion is claimed to possess a range of up to 38 miles at speeds ofup to 78mph.

Land Rover Discovery Vision Concept

Revealed at the Beijing motor show back in April, the Discovery Vision Concept points the way forward to at least four SUV models that will wear the Discovery badge. A raft of driving technology was showcased with this car, including the ability to control the car remotely via an app in situations such as extreme off-roading.

Lexus LF-C2

Despite Lexus calling this an “open-top design study”, the LF-C2 could be a preview to the forthcoming RC convertible. There is a strong hint of performance with the design of the car, which could see feature RC F’s 471bhp 5.0-litre V8 later down the line.

Lincoln MKX

Based on the Ford Edge and unveiled at the Beijing motor show, the MKX marked the first time Lincoln revealed a concept car outside of North America. Aimed directly at the Chinese car market – the world’s largest – it’s predicted to go into production within the next year.

Maserati Alfieri

The Jaguar F-type-rivalling Alfieri concept was flaunted at the Geneva motor show earlier in the year and has now been given the production green light. It has recently been confirmed that the car will keep its conceptual name and will launch in 2016. 

The entry-level version will be powered by 404bhp 3.0-litre turbocharged V6, while a 513bhp all-wheel-drive range-topper has also been mooted.

McLaren P1 GTR

Revealed at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the P1 GTR's aerodynamic performance has been even further enhanced over the standard P1, while power has increased from 903bhp to 986bhp. The track-only McLaren P1 will cost prospective buyers a cool £1.98 million when it goes on sale in the middle of next year.

Mercedes-Benz G-Code

This innovative, hydrogen-electric SUV concept has the Audi Q1 in its crosshairs. The bold twin-blade grille, angular headlights and mammoth 21-inch wheels on the short-overhang body accentuate Mercedes’ current design language. Compared to the Audi Q1 concept, it is 110mm shorter, 20mm wider and 10mm higher.

Mini Superleggera Vision

Previewed mid-year at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, this is the result of a partnership between Mini and Italian design and coach house Touring Superleggera. The Superleggera Vision two-seater concept hints strongly at a new roadster model that could rival the Mazda MX-5.

Which of 2014's concept cars has been your favourite? Let us know in the comments section below

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Our Verdict

Alfa Romeo 4C
Alfa 4C is built to encapsulate all of the Alfa Romeo brand values

The 4C is Alfa's first true driver's car for decades, and it shows how brilliantly a small turbo four can go and sound in a lightweight package

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Comments
6

21 December 2014
6 Audi concepts? Wow...

 

 

21 December 2014
and not a mention of the three volvo concepts...

21 December 2014
The 4C is a stunning piece of design absolutely stunning but like most beautiful things in life, it's likely to be high maintenance.

21 December 2014
The 4C is a stunning piece of design absolutely stunning but like most beautiful things in life, it's likely to be high maintenance.

TS7

21 December 2014
... is widely considered to be fundamentally flawed, why would the roofless version - which of course is for p00fs, poseurs and ladies only - be any different?

22 December 2014
What a vile ignorant person you are, bigotted and a total waste of space, thankfully i am not related to you, as I would be totally embarrased to have you as a friend or family mamber.

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