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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.