concept cars

concept cars

  A concept car is a car prototype made to showcase a new vehicle's styling, technology, and overall design before production. They are often shown at motor shows to gauge customer reaction to new and radical designs which may or may not have a chance of being produced.

Ferrari F12 berlinetta

In 2011, Ferrari broke its own profit record by selling 7,195 cars and raking in a cool €321 million. That was all well and good, but one year wasn’t enough. The low-sales-high-profit automaker was already up 7 percent in total unit sales and 13 percent in profit at the halfway point of the year and the trend hasn’t slowed.

The increases put Ferrari on pace to sell 7,328 units and pull in €304 million in profit, so it has a little work to do in the profit side of the ledger, as 2011 had a strong finish. With the F12 Berlinetta debuting in Europe in September, hitting the second-half growth needed to break its record shouldn’t be a problem.

Ferrari chairman, Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, is set on the fact that the company will break its own record profits again, making it back-to-back years of setting records. This is all coming while the rest of the automakers, particularly those in Europe, are struggling to sell cars and lower losses. This shows that Ferrari obviously knows how to keep its operating costs low and still maintain quality control and customer retention.

Regardless of it breaking the record, seeing a low-volume auto manufacturer making that type of profit is impressive. To boot, Ferrari is just about in line with the pricing of its competitors, Lamborghini and Aston Martin , so it’s not a matter of Ferrari just jacking up prices in hopes of profit. Simply good business by itself and parent company, Fiat S.p.A., is all we can attribute this success to.

Subaru BRZ Concept STI

We all know and mostly love the WRX STI that Subaru pumps out each year. The latest model produces a stout 305 horsepower and 290 pound feet of torque through Subaru’s famed AWD system, all for a relative bargain of $34,000. Unfortunately, the STI nameplate has never extended beyond the WRX lineup.

That may become a thing of the past, as Subaru debuted its Forester TS, which is tuned by STI to pump out 259 horsepower and 256 pound-feet of torque from its 2.5-liter 4-banger, to its newest market – Russia. What in the world does an STI-tuned Forester in Russia have to do with more STI models in other countries? Well, according to a report by Autocar, this is simply a test market.

This test will gauge the demand of an STI-tuned car, besides the WRX, in a market other than Japan. A Subaru insider was quoted as saying “It’s clear that STI’s abilities and experience could work on other cars in other markets,” and “Confining them to WRX projects doesn’t make sense when the demand is there.” This would lead us to believe that if the Russian Forester TS succeeds, then Subaru would be start expanding its STI lineup in other markets, like the U.S.

All we can hope for it that the Forester TS takes hold in Russia and Subaru decides to expand the STI lineup in the U.S. to the Subaru BRZ . We know that’s beating a dead horse, but this insider info really shows that this is becoming more of a possibility. This also points to the possibility of a turbocharged Forester STI coming to the U.S., which could give Subaru some much needed help fending off the turbocharged 2013 Ford Escape .

Who knows, we may just run into a performance crossover SUV war soon.

Hmm, that’s kind of scary... We guess little Billy and Sara would always make it to soccer practice on time.

Source: Autocar
Bentley Hunaudieres

Most people won’t remember the 1999 Bentley Hunaudières (pictured here), a concept car created shortly after Volkswagen took ownership of Bentley . It was built on a Lamborghini platform and powered by a W16 engine, shining a whole new light on the otherwise limousine-filled Bentley lineup. This supercar was so unlike anything Bentley would ever push towards production that we wouldn’t doubt it if not one person ever thought they would see this car again.

We can’t promise that the Hunaudières will come back from its 13-year-long hiatus, a la the Porsche 928 H50 Concept/Panamera return, but we can say that Bentley is making some changes and bringing another cool sports-car concept out into the open. This new Bentley sports car will be making its first appearance at the 2012 Paris Auto Show in September.

There are no details available on this new concept at this point, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see this sports car concept be put into production solely because of Bentley’s sales target of 15,000 units annually. This new model will join the company’s upcoming facelift version for the Continental Supersport , the four-door Continental Flying Spur , the open-top version of the Mulsanne , and the SUV set to be launched in 2015.

Source: CarAndDriver
Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4

Lamborghini’s “entry-level car,” if you want to call the $187,000 Gallardo “entry level,” is getting on in age and we already know that a successor is due out in 2014. We also know that the Gallardo came in a dizzying amount of formats, trim levels, body styles, and special editions, which tended to confuse the casual Lamborghini buyer and was somewhat intimidating.

In an interview with Car and Driver, Lamborghini America COO, Michael Lock, let us know that the Gallardo’s successor, which may be named the Huracán, will be a much simpler lineup to navigate. It’s not that Lambo will eliminate all of the options, but rather streamline them into precise packaging. The basic configurations — coupe, convertible, all-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, and lightweight — will be available, but you will not be able to walk into a dealership and pick a Lamborghini that meets every spec (i.e. convertible, all-wheel drive, and lightweight).

That will be a relief to most buyers, as is the much needed elimination of the aging Gallardo. We will continue keeping an eye out for news on the upcoming Gallardo replacement and let you know as soon as we hear something. We expect to start seeing a lot more details rolling down the pipe by the end of this year and we should see an actual production concept sometime in early-2013.

Also addressed in the meetup was the manual transmission option making a return in the Gallardo’s replacement. It was confirmed by Lambo’s COO that the manual option will not return in this model, or ever again to the Lamborghini lineup.

We seriously lost count of how many times Youngman was blocked while trying to purchase Saab before it was finally awarded to a lower, but more “suitable” bidder. Finally, after numerous swings and misses, Youngman has found a suitable partner in its automobile-manufacturing venture. Ironically, it is with the company he was originally blocked from buying Saab from, Spyker .

Spyker and Youngman have just inked a framework deal that assigns 29.9 percent of Spyker’s stock to Youngman. In turn, Youngman will pay €10,000,000. Of the initial investment, €6.7 million will be used to pay for the 29.9 percent ownership, while the remaining €3.3 million will act as a shareholder loan. The entire deal should be completed within 45 days of the signing of the deal, as that is the time frame that Youngman has to pay the deal in full.

In this deal, the two companies will form a joint venture called Spyker P2P B.V. (Spyker P2P) Youngman will contribute an additional €25 million to this venture and take 75 percent share hold in it. Spyker’s 25 percent share hold comes in the form of technological contributions. Spyker P2P will use this technology to develop the Spyker D8 Peking-to-Paris super sports utility vehicle (SSUV). The $250,000 SSUV is set to launch in 2014 and Spyker P2P B.V. will use its technology to help launch additional models.

A second joint venture, dubbed the Spyker Phoenix , will see Youngman contribute the Phoenix platform technology that he bought from Saab and fund 100 percent of the venture. This will net Youngman an 80 percent share hold on the Phoenix and give Spyker 20 percent — we assume this share is for Spyker manufacturing the car.

This is certainly a great big mess of numbers, but essentially, Youngman is giving Spyker a ton of money and Spyker is providing its technology on one vehicle and, we assume, the manufacture of the other vehicle to gain minority share in said vehicles.

We’ll keep a close eye on this one and let you know if it actually ever pans out or simply fizzles away.

Click past the jump to read the full press release.

The Lexus LF-Lc concept car was unveiled at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show, only to be rumored for immediate production just a short time later. The edgy sports car with hard lines and bold interpretation of the signature Lexus spindle grille and rear architecture made it a vehicle unlike anything in the Lexus lineup, and people couldn’t wait to see its production counterpart.

That wait has just been extended.

Lexus has announced that they will be attending the 2012 Australian Motor Show in Sydney in October and they will be bringing the second iteration of the LF-Lc Concept to the party. They haven’t revealed any details on the concept other than this teaser image as of right now, but we expect to see something that is similar to the original concept, possibly with less drastic design features to lessen the hit when the production model comes out looking nothing like the original. This second concept is rumored to wear an LC 600h badge and will be powered by a 5.0 liter V8 engine combined with an electric motor for a total output of 500 HP. This power figure will be enough to sprint the car from 0 to 60 mph in 5 seconds.

What we do know about the second LF-Lc Concept is purely speculation based so we’ll all have to wait until October to see what Lexus has in store. Our hopes lie with a sooner rather than later production model that is a successor for the company’s SC sports car .

Captain America: The First Avenger” was chock-full of loads of action, but one thing automotive junkies couldn’t get enough of was the triple-axle car that Red Skull – the villain – drove in the movie. Though a lot of the scenes in the movie that showed the car were computer-generated, there was actually a real-life example of this beast built, and we found a video showing it in all of its glory.

The Schmidt Hydra Coupe is touted in the movie as being powered by a V-16 Supercharged engine and fueled by a power cube. In real life, however, this massive machine boasted a V-8 Ford engine pulled from a drag car. Taking its styling from the Mercedes 540K , Mercedes G4 Offroader, various Bentleys and Duesenbergs , this tank on wheels is both retro and futuristic at the same time.

It measures in at a massive 7.62 meters (25 feet), boasts six wheels, which is thanks to it being based on a truck chassis. This massive hunk of car is draped in a high-gloss red paint, matching its owner’s skull, and features massive white-wall tires.

It’s a pretty impressive build for a one-off movie car and we’re sure to see it at an auction one day. We’ll have to keep a keen eye out for it, so we can get together all of the details for you.

Until then, enjoy the above video showing us various parts of this awesomely crafted vehicle.

Source: YouTube

Automakers usually take great pride in unveiling concept cars and while most of them don’t even see the light of production, they make for interesting talking points on what kind of car they could’ve been if they were produced en masse. Very rarely do you see a concept version get sent back under the covers without being seen by the public for the next 25 years.

But that’s exactly what happened last weekend at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance when Porsche brought out what can only be described as the evolutionary concept predecessor of the Panamera , the 928 H50 Concept.

It must be noted that the 928 H50 Concept bears a striking similarity to the 928s that were produced from 1978 to 1995. The overall profile is similar, including the long, sliding hood that harkens back to the aesthetic profile of the 928. There are some awkward lines in there and the front-rear balance appears to be skewed to the former, but for all of its resemblance to the old 928, the 928 H50 Concept has one thing the other doesn’t have: two extra doors.

Continued after the jump.

Recently, we let you in on the news that Mercedes-Benz was working closely with the German government in testing vehicle-to-vehicle-to-object technology and that it brought models bearing this feature to the U.S. for its own testing purposes.

We have just received word that the testing process of these “connected” cars is not only a Mercedes job, as the DOT has brought in 3,000 vehicles to test their crash-avoidance skills. This is actually the second phase of product testing, but the first time that the DOT will actually test the Wi-Fi communication between these vehicles.

Once all of this information is gathered, the DOT will crunch the numbers and is expected to make a decision on continuing testing this technology or not sometime in 2013. the goal of this testing phase is to find out “how to apply the technology in an effective way in the real word,” according to David Strickland, NHTSA Administrator.

Now, don’t confuse this progress with movement toward automated vehicles. This is just one of the many major steps toward legalizing autonomous cars, but not the final decision. If this test goes well, then this does set the ball moving slightly faster on automated cars.

To read the DOT’s full press release, click past the jump.

From the folks that gave us the SR3 SL comes another race car set to get your hearts pumping on the track. The new SR1 by Radical Motorsports is an entry level sports-prototype racing car aimed at the track-day driver and club racer. It is priced at a measly £29,850, or $37,800 at the current exchange rates.

The new SR1 was designed by the same guys responsible for the Radical’s SR9 LMP2 racecar, so it follows in the same design direction, but tweaked for current track regulations. It has been designed to be ideal for both the driver and the passenger.

Under the hood, the racing prototype gets an RPE-Suzuki four-cylinder engine that delivers a total of 210 HP and is mated to a six-speed sequential gearbox as standard. The SR1 can go up to a top speed of 138 mph and sprints from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.6 seconds.

UPDATE 08/23/2012: The Radical SR1 has begun testing at Bedford Autodrome, one of the locations for next year’s Radical SR1 Cup championship for novice drivers and trackday enthusiasts. Radical has marked this time in their history with a new video introducing all drivers to their new Radical SR1. Check it out by clicking on the image above.

Hit the jump to read more about the new Radical SR1.


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