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Year after year, automakers continue to push the envelope on concept cars that preview their next-generation models.
Some concept cars never make it to production, but these days, most are realistic visions of what’s to come. This past year’s concept cars may not have been the most exciting we’ve seen compared to other years, but many of them will be heading to production and should stick to their overall design.
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Other concept cars that really caught our eye in 2017 preview future design languages, while there’s a couple that we really hope get signed off for production.
10. MINI John Cooper Works GP Concept
MINI is having a bit of an identity crisis, at least in the U.S. This year, the company showed off an all-electric car concept that previews the British automaker’s first EV, but that isn’t terribly exciting for most car enthusiasts. What is however is the John Cooper Works GP Concept, proving that MINI can make badass track cars. The concept is significantly wider than the standard MINI Cooper with plenty of carbon fiber on the body to shed weight. The aggressive styling is what we believe the MINI brand truly needs to stay relevant, but sadly, it’s likely the brand will be focusing more on electrification than large rear spoilers.
9. Toyota FT-4X Concept
Although the Toyota FT-4X was mostly disappointing for those hoping to see a true successor for the FJ Cruiser, it’s a realistic concept that likely previews a future model. It’s no secret that compact crossovers are wildly successful in today’s market and since the concept rides on the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) it wouldn’t be very difficult to put into production. The concept was designed for Generation Y city dwellers in mind, with Toyota saying its research shows that basecamp for Gen Y explorers was oftentimes the destination itself. The “Multi-Hatch” is one of the main features of the concept, which opens two ways – horizontally and vertically. This gives the FT-4X added versatility depending on how the vehicle is being used.
8. Volkswagen I.D. Buzz Concept
As Volkswagen works to repair its image from the massive diesel scandal, one of its primary focuses is electrification. The I.D. family is already growing and we can’t help but love Volkswagen’s willingness to develop a Microbus of the future with the I.D. Buzz Concept. The German automaker has already confirmed the I.D. Buzz is heading to production, and you shouldn’t expect to see any significant changes to its design
7. BMW Concept 8 Series
BMW is betting big on high-end luxury vehicles, and the first step is the new 8 Series flagship coupe. The German automaker impressed with a stunning concept that modernizes its current design language, while adding a bit of style for the future. Looking to take on other luxury sports cars from companies like Aston Martin and Bentley, the 8 Series could be one of the best looking cars in the segment if the production version stays true to the concept.
6. Mercedes-AMG GT Concept
While BMW is making headlines this year with a stunning coupe concept, Mercedes-AMG is looking to shake up the four-door coupe segment. Mercedes arguably introduced the first four-door coupe model with the CLS, and the AMG GT Concept is basically a four-door version of the awesome GT sports car. The model will be entirely developed by AMG, and you should expect to see hybrid powertrains for the production version.
5. Kia Proceed Concept
Wagons and shooting brakes aren’t terribly popular in the U.S., which makes us really sad when we saw the Kia Proceed Concept earlier this year. The Korean automaker says the concept is “a bold vision for the future” and gives hints as to what the next-generation cee’d could look like. It’s basically a wagon version of the Stinger that’s already surprisingly stylish from bumper to bumper. One can only hope if the Proceed Concept heads to production that it will somehow, someway find its way to North America.
4. BMW Concept Z4
The BMW Z4 is one of the most anticipated roadsters heading to dealerships in the near future and BMW really got our appetites going with the stunning Concept Z4. Riding on a new sports car platform that was jointly developed with Toyota, the new Z4 will surely turn some heads if the production version is similar to the concept. It’s just a matter of time before the actual BMW Z4 debuts and we will finally get to see if the company’s partnership with Toyota has resulted in something truly special.
3. Mazda Vision Coupe Concept
Making its debut later in the year at the Tokyo Motor Show was the Mazda Vision Coupe Concept. We already consider the current Mazda6 one of the best looking cars in its segment, and if the next-generation model follows the Vision Coupe Concept, then it might just be the best looking car in that market. In fact, we hope design elements from the Vision Coupe Concept eventually find their way to other Mazda models, as it’s one of the most attractive concepts we laid eyes on this year.
2. Infiniti Prototype 9
There’s so much to love about the Infiniti Prototype 9, which made a very surprising debut at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. The retro-inspired concept doesn’t exactly preview a future model or Infiniti’s future design language, but it is a fully-functioning prototype powered by an electric motor that’s similar to what’s found in the new Nissan Leaf. Maybe, just maybe, Infiniti decides to produce a limited number of the Prototype 9 – but that’s very unlikely.
1. Honda Urban and Sports EV Concepts
Most concept cars feature flashy styling that’s designed to grab attention at auto shows. But Honda did something entirely different with its Urban and Sports EV Concepts. The company went straight to the basics, and somehow it works marvelously. In fact, the retro Urban EV concept might be our favorite concept car all year after debuting at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Here’s to hoping Honda adds some real excitement to the EV market by putting either (or both!) of these into production.