Thursday, January 15, 2009

Top 10 Concept Cars

Concept cars are what make auto shows fun. Nobody really wants to see the latest evolution of a car that has existed for decades. No, the people want hope for the future, and more importantly, to know how soon they’ll be able to buy flying cars like in “The Jetsons.” Concepts give us an idea what can be achieved with a little creativity and innovative thought. Here are our picks for the top 10 concepts at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show.

Audi Sportback concept
This slick ride is called “Sportback” because it has a hatchback instead of a trunk, and is rumored to be a carbon copy of the much-anticipated A7. Stefan Sielaf, Audi board member in charge of design, says the minimalist look is meant to help people focus on the overall shape, not flashy design tricks like those that adorn its competitors. It’s propelled by a 3.0-liter 6-cylinder turbo diesel that produces 225 horsepower, and will have Quattro all-wheel drive and a 7-speed automatic transmission.

Cadillac Converj
If this sexy looking coupe is any indication, GM’s luxury brand is hot to trot in the race for zero emissions. Like the Chevy Volt, which is due to go into production by the end of 2010, the Converj is an extended-range electric vehicle (EREV), which means it will be equipped with an electric motor as well as a gasoline engine. The electric motor provides primary propulsion, while the gas-powered engine acts as a generator to recharge the vehicle’s batteries.

Chrysler 200C
This EREV Concept promises a 400-mile range, with 40 of those possible on 100 percent electric power. The 200C features goodies like a “panoramic multimedia touch screen,” which takes the place of all switches and levers, and can be customized down to the desktop background. It’s based on a shortened version of Chrysler’s rear-wheel drive platform. Designers tell us that the 200C’s sweptback nose and “wind-cheating shape” make better use of the ENVI drivetrain.

Fisker Karma S
When the Karma goes on sale in November for $87,900, it will be the first mass-produced plug-in electric vehicle sold in the United States. It will accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds and has a top speed of 125 mph. Two electric motors send 408 horsepower and 959 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels, and the Karma will go about 300 miles on fully charged batteries and a full gas tank.

Kia Soul'ster
It’s a two-door, four-passenger, open-air utility vehicle with a canvas top that covers the rear seating row. Roll bar-style rails connect the half-top to the rear, and the front bumper features an anodized skid-pad insert, which is matched by anodized surfaces on the fender vents, roll bar header and 19-inch wheels. The headlights, fog lights and taillights all use blue-tinted LEDs, and the side vents and exterior-mirror turn signals incorporate a blue tint as well.

Lincoln C Concept
The C Concept is based on Ford Motor’s Global Small Car platform, which also hosts the Mazda3 and the European Ford Focus. The wheels are pushed to the corners and the low-slung appearance yields what Lincoln calls “go-cart visual stability.” The front end features an aggressive version of Lincoln’s signature double-wing grille, and the all-glass roof is cantilevered with a wide rear pillar and no center pillar. The rear doors open suicide-style.

Mercedes-Benz BlueZERO
These three cars could represent a monumental culture shift for the luxury carmaker. The BlueZERO E-Cell is a plug-in electric vehicle that can drive around 125 miles on a single charge. The BlueZERO E-Cell Plus adds a small 3-cylinder gasoline engine and has a range of more than 370 miles, while the BlueZERO F-Cell, has a fuel cell that converts compressed hydrogen into electricity. It can drive 350 emissions-free miles on one tank of gaseous hydrogen.

Subaru Legacy Concept
The concept is powered by a 3.6-liter, horizontally opposed boxer 6-cylinder engine that is mated to Subaru’s symmetrical all-wheel drive. The engine is presumably this big because we’re looking at a sporting version of the new Legacy, as evidenced by the aggressively flared wheel arches and a front fascia that says “get out of my way.”

Volvo S60 Concept
The front is unmistakably Volvo, with an enlarged, trapezoidal grille flanked by sweeping LED headlights inspired by Viking longboats. Pronounced shoulders form a “double wave” belt line that runs the length of the car. In the rear, integrated exhaust tips and trapezoidal license-plate mounting space are topped by a retractable diffuser that improves aerodynamics. Inside, the floating center console is made of solid Orrefors crystal.

Volkswagen BlueSport
Boasting a top speed of 140 mph while managing to get a claimed 55 mpg on the highway, the turbocharged 2.0-liter diesel concept puts out 180 horsepower and 258 lb-ft at just 1750 rpm. Coupled to a 6-speed double-clutch transmission, the TDI engine launches to 60 mph in 6.2 seconds. Vehicle weight is kept to a minimum (2,600 lbs) through extensive use of aluminum and other lightweight materials.

No comments:

Post a Comment