Lots of variety on this list

2018 has been a crazy year for concept vehicles. We’re used to seeing “traditional” concepts sporting traditional powertrains, and while those concepts still arrived in abundance this year, automakers mixed their offerings up to introduce what we like to call “new-age” concepts that tout electrification, autonomous driving technology, and over-the-top power and performance numbers. We saw a lot of those concepts, too. The specs and features of these concepts may be arbitrary and far-fetched, but their features point to where automakers are spending their time and money with an eye towards the future of the industry. Picking this year’s coolest concept cars was more challenging than in past years, but we were able to narrow it down to 10 concepts that, we believe, best embodies the year in the business that’s about to come to a close.

Volvo 360c

2018 Volvo 360c
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We start things off with a concept that could, in theory, revolutionize the way we travel regionally. Volvo’s plan for the 360c Concept is unique in a lot of different ways.

The concept’s identity is centered on its focus to offer an alternative way for people to get to their destinations without having to pay for airline tickets.

Ever thought there’d come a day where a road-bound car could do it? Well, that’s Volvo’s intention for the 360c. The concept is, for all intents and purposes, a bedroom on four wheels. It’s powered by autonomous driving technology, and while Volvo didn’t expound on the level of autonomy the 360c has, its purpose suggests that the concept could have Level 4 or Level 5 autonomy. The 360c’s most important feature is its interior, which is basically a living space that can serve a variety of functions. It can be a bedroom, a mobile bar, a rolling restaurant, and an entertainment area. The 360c is the personification of cool. That’s defined by a glass canopy that doubles as a touchscreen display. There’s a lot to like about the 360c Concept. Too bad it’s not heading to production anytime soon.

Powertrain: Autonomous driving technology
Power: N/A
Torque: N/A
0-to-60-mph: N/A
Top Speed: N/A
Range: N/A
Level of Autonomy: Level 4 and Level 5
Likelihood of production: Unclear

Read our full review on the 2018 Volvo 360c.

Lexus LF-1 Limitless

2018 Lexus LF-1 Limitless Exterior Wallpaper quality
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The Lexus LF-1 Limitless Concept made its debut at the 2018 North American International Auto Show.

It’s been more 11 months, but we still think about it and how it could become the world’s first flagship crossover.

In typical Lexus fashion, the LF-1 Limitless Concept looks out of this world. Our man, Ciprian, described the concept as having “the ride height of an SUV, the width of a race car, the roof of a coupe, and the overall stance of a full-fledged sports car.” The interior’s no less different. The overall layout is clean, and there’s a lot of craftsmanship involved that justifies its flagship concept status. The powertrain is the big question mark at this point. Lexus didn’t say anything specific in this department, opting only to say that the LF-1 Limitless Concept could be powered by a "fuel cell, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, gasoline, or even all-electric" drivetrain. Personally, I would prefer a V-8 engine, but given the climate of the industry these days, it wouldn’t be surprising if Lexus went in a different direction. Whatever powertrain Lexus uses— a production model isn’t a certainty — it’s going to be interesting how much of the concept will translate to a possible production model.

Powertrain: Fuel cell, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, gasoline, or even all-electric
Power: N/A
Torque: N/A
0-to-60-mph: N/A
Top Speed: N/A
Range: N/A
Level of Autonomy: N/A
Likelihood of production: Possible if Lexus thinks it can do well in its specific segment

Read our full review on the 2018 Lexus LF-1 Limitless

BMW Concept M8 Gran Coupe

2018 BMW Concept M8 Gran Coupe Exterior
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BMW usually drops the hammer when it rolls out concept vehicles. Every so often, though, the German automaker presents a more restrained concept that’s almost ready for production. That’s what it did with the BMW Concept M8 Gran Coupe. The concept is a good example of why Bimmer is one of the best automakers when it comes to designing concepts, Vision iNext notwithstanding.

The Concept M8 Gran Coupe looks like a proper flagship sedan. It features overtly muscular haunches, a gold-tinged grille, and a pearlescent Saleve Vert paint finish that looks positively evocative on the sedan.

The Concept M8 Gran Coupe concept was unveiled at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show in March, and nine months later, the German automaker followed it up by unveiling the production version M8 at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show. As expected, the M8 drew some cues from the concept, including the availability of a 4.4-liter V-8 engine that produces north of 600 horsepower. A 6.6-liter V-12-powered M8 is coming soon, too, but the Concept M8 Gran Coupe paved the way for the M8 to happen. At the very least, the concept signaled BMW’s plan to become a serious contender to models like the Bentley Continental GT and the Aston Martin DB11. The days of Bimmer looking up to models like the Continental GT are gone. Now it’s come to play with the big boys, and the Concept M8 Gran Coupe laid the foundation for that to happen.

Powertrain: Either a 4.4-liter V-8 or a 6.6-liter V-12 engine
Power: More than 600 horsepower
Torque: Somewhere between 550 pound-feet to 600 pound-feet of torque.
0-to-60-mph: N/A
Top Speed: N/A
Range: N/A
Level of Autonomy: N/A
Likelihood of production: With the BMW M8 already out, the four-door performance sedan could follow soon

Read our full review on the 2018 BMW Concept M8 Gran Coupe

Fisker eMotion

10 of the Coolest Concept Cars from 2018
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If looks could kill, the Fisker eMotion is about as lethal a concept as we’ve seen all year. Debuting at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show in January, the eMotion is more than just a comeback for noted auto designer Henrik Fisker. It’s also a peek into a future production model that could turn the electric luxury sedan market on its head.

The e-Motion’s aesthetics is provocative, to say the least. The four-door model utilizes a unique door setup in which all four doors use a butterfly configuration.

We’ve seen two-door models use this look before, but we haven’t seen it on a four-door model until the eMotion showed up. The concept’s interior is a work of art on its own, but it’s the sedan’s powertrain that really elevates the eMotion into this list. According to Fisker, the eMotion features an electric powertrain that has a range of more than 400 miles. It also utilizes five Integrated Quanergy LIDARs, which is responsible for the sedan’s autonomous driving capabilities. The system itself comes with S3 solid-state LiDar Sensors that are integrated into different sections of the car, including one integrated behind the front wheel and another hidden in the lower rear rocker panel. If all goes according to Fisker’s plan, these LIDARs will enable the eMotion to achieve Level 4 autonomy in the future. Production of the model is scheduled to start in 2019, and the company has pegged a base price of $129,900 for the sedan.

Powertrain: All-electric
Power: Over 600 horsepower
Torque: N/A
0-to-60-mph: N/A
Top Speed: 161 mph
Range: Over 400 miles
Level of Autonomy: Level 4
Likelihood of production: A question of “when,” rather than “if.”

Read our full review on the 2019 Fisker eMotion

Porsche Mission E Cross Turismo

2018 Porsche Mission E Cross Turismo Concept Exterior
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The Porsche Taycan is getting all the headlines when it comes to Porsche’s electrification efforts, and justifiably so. Porsche is already accepting orders for the all-electric sedan ahead of its product launch in 2019. But just as the Taycan is grabbing the spotlight, Porsche unveiled the Mission E Cross Turismo Concept at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show.

The Mission E Cross Turismo Concept is, effectively, the crossover version of the Taycan.

It was launched in March as a “design study” to gauge public opinion of the crossover. As expected, the Mission E Cross Turismo Concept was a hit, spearheading efforts on Porsche’s part to launch a production model, possibly as early as 2020. Really, what’s not to like about the Mission E Cross Turismo Concept. It embodies a similar design language as the Mission E Concept from which it was based on. More importantly, the concept is powered by a pair of permanent magnet synchronous motors that can produce a total of 600 horsepower, allowing the concept to accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in less than 3.5 seconds. It’s only a matter of time before Porsche’ all-electric lineup gains new models. The Porsche Taycan is arriving next year, and the production version of the Mission E Cross Turismo expected to follow suit a few years from now. For now, it takes up space in our list as one of the coolest concept vehicles to debut this year.

Powertrain: All-electric
Power: Offer 600 horsepower
Torque: N/A
0-to-60-mph: N/A
Top Speed: 161 mph
Range: 250 miles or so
Level of Autonomy: N/A
Likelihood of production: With the Taycan launching soon, this could be the next EV model in Porsche’s plans.

Read our full review on the 2018 Porsche Mission E Cross Turismo

Lagonda Vision Concept

Aston Martin Just Put Bentley and Rolls-Royce of the Future in Check with the Lagonda Vision Concept Exterior
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The Lagonda Vision Concept is proof that Aston Martin is taking its all-electric future seriously. Described as the luxury model driven by zero-emission powertrain technologies, the Lagonda Vision Concept is a showstopper in a lot of different ways. It comes in a sleek shooting-brake design that visibly captures the distinct styling that Aston Martin wants out of its luxury brand. The short front hood is there simply for aesthetics — there’s no engine, gearbox, and transmission tunnel in the concept — while the rear section has an arrow-like shape when viewed from the side. The concept’s distinct styling continues in the interior where materials like carbon fiber and ceramic are used to great effect. As you might expect, Aston Martin didn’t skimp on the luxury, either. The cabin is heavily dressed in plush materials, including hand-woven wool.

On the performance front, the Lagonda Vision Concept is highly autonomous, thanks to its SAE Level 4 capability.

This tech feature allows the car’s steering wheel to live from left-hand drive to right-hand drive and retract entirely, creating ample space in the interior to function as a living space. And in case there are any questions about the concept’s production status, Aston Martin is planning to showcase the production model — it’s going to be an SUV! — by 2021. That’s enough time for the concept to take shape with all the necessary technologies that will enable it to become the model that’s going to spearhead the British automaker’s all-electric efforts.

Powertrain: Powerful motors paid with solid-state electric batteries
Power: N/A
Torque: N/A
0-to-60-mph: N/A
Top Speed: N/A
Range: 400 miles
Level of Autonomy: Level 4
Likelihood of production: Very likely if Aston Martin is serious about building Lagonda up

Read our full review on the 2018 Lagonda Vision Concept

Mercedes EQ Silver Arrows

2018 Mercedes EQ Silver Arrow
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The Mercedes EQ Silver Arrows is probably the most outlandish concept of 2018. That’s high praise considering how many concepts we saw this year. The concept debuted at the Pebble Beach Concours d’ Elegance, and immediately, it was met with the kind of praise and adulation Mercedes normally receives when it rolls out one of its upstanding production models.

The EQ Silver Arrows is a true showpiece in every sense of the word. The design is a modern rendition of the German automaker’s W 125 Grand Prix championship race car from 1937.

That explains the concept’s single center seat, the sensual body lines, and the ridiculous interior that’s dressed to the nines in fine leather and solid walnut wood. On the performance front, the concept doesn’t have an actual powertrain sitting inside that finely shaped body. Mercedes did say that if the EQ Silver Arrows made it to production, it would feature an 80 kWh battery pack and an electric motor that can produce a total of 738 horsepower. The thought of an 80 kWh battery pack that can provide enough nice to power a 738-horsepower electric motor sounds outlandish today, but that’s where the power of imagination comes from. Besides, the EQ Silver Arrows is unlikely to hit production anytime soon. This concept is simply a peek into the electric future that Mercedes is trying to create. Nevertheless, the presentation of that electric future is something else, isn’t it?

Powertrain: 80 kWh battery pack and electric motor
Power: 738 horsepower
Torque: N/A
0-to-60-mph: N/A
Top Speed: N/A
Range: 400 miles
Level of Autonomy: Level 4
Likelihood of production: Don’t count it on

Read our full review on the 2018 Mercedes EQ Silver Arrows

Peugeot E-Legend

2018 Peugeot e-Legend Concept Exterior
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Of all the concept vehicles we saw this year, the Peugeot E-Legend was probably the one that took us most by surprise. A retro-styled futuristic electric car is not something you normally see out of Peugeot these days. And yet, the French automaker delivered the goods at the 2018 Paris Motor Show, presenting the E-Legend to much fanfare and acclaim. It’s hard to not get excited about the E-Legend, too.

Inspired by the late 1960s 504 coupe, the E-Legend is a proper retro-futuristic nod to the old guard, reimagined aesthetically to give it a more modern look.

The E-Legend looks like the concept that you’d want to see a production version of as soon as possible. In addition to its looks, the concept also comes with a massive 100-kWh battery pack that can run 372 miles on a single charge. The accompanying electric motors provide the juice, which adds up to an impressive 455 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque. It doesn’t have the highest of top speeds - pegged at just 136 mph — but the E-Legend is quick off the line, capable of sprinting from 0 to 62 mph in just under four seconds. Overall, the Peugeot E-Legend is one of the best examples of a concept done right. It’s not only a preview of what’s to come from the French automaker but if the production version is as evocative as the concept, that electric future that Peugeot is planning is one that we all want to be a part of.

Powertrain: 100-kWh battery pack
Power: 455 horsepower
Torque: 590 pound-feet of torque
0-to-60-mph: Under four seconds
Top Speed: 136 mph
Range: 372 miles
Level of Autonomy: N/A
Likelihood of production: Peugeot wants it, and we want it

Read our full review on the 2018 Peugeot E-Legend

Genesis Essentia

10 of the Coolest Concept Cars from 2018
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Our list of coolest concepts to come out in 2018 wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the Genesis Essentia. Developed as an all-electric, two-door, Gran Touring model packed with the very latest convenience features, the Essentia is Genesis’ crown jewel. It’s the model Hyundai’s luxury brand is touting as the masterpiece that’s going to give the brand a shot of legitimacy. There might be some hyperbole mixed into that grandiose statement, but the statement rings true for the most. The Essentia’s deadly looks and high-tech capabilities paint a very bright future for Genesis.

The coupe’s design is drop-dead gorgeous. It features prominent angles and curves that make even the strongest of knees tremble.

The Essentia is powered by a multi-motor electric powertrain, previewing Genesis’ intentions for the model should it enter production. Hyundai’s luxury brand didn’t announce power figures, but it did say that the Essentia is capable of accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in under three seconds. We still don’t know what to make of Genesis’ plans for the Essentia, but rest assured, if Genesis decides to build a production model that’s based on this concept, it’s not going to find any difficulty convincing people of its merits.

Powertrain: Multi-motor electric powertrain
Power: N/A
Torque: N/A
0-to-60-mph: Under three seconds
Top Speed: N/A
Range: N/A
Level of Autonomy: N/A
Likelihood of production: It’s happening. Genesis eyes a 2020 or 2021 production date

Read our full review on the 2018 Genesis Essentia

Rimac Concept_Two

10 of the Coolest Concept Cars from 2018 Exterior
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The last concept on this list also happens to be the one we’re most excited about. Simply put, the Rimac C_Two is carbon fiber-clad destroyer of worlds. The concept’s design is staggering, and the specs of this machine is fantasy-come-to-life. It’s also dripping in the latest technology, giving it the trifecta of what a perfect concept car should be. The Rimac C_Two actually doesn’t look like a concept in the traditional sense. It already looks like a production model that Rimac developed specifically with speed in mind.

The butterfly doors normally count as highlights on a concept’s design, and yet, in the C_Two, it’s just two of the many aesthetic qualities that stand out.

As you might expect, the C_Two is a monster on the road. It comes with a liquid-cooled 120-kWh battery pack that connects to four electric motors, one per corner, making for AWD grip. The motors come with a bespoke dual permanent magnet design with oil cooling and a 97-percent efficiency rating. Each motor also connects to its own individual gearbox, and when you combine all of that, you have a car that produces a staggering 1,914 horsepower 1,686 pound-feet of torque. Since we’re in the topic of posting outrageous numbers, the Rimac C_Two is also capable of sprinting from 0 to 60 mph in 1.85 seconds with a one-foot roll out. Top speed tops out at 258 mph, making it the fastest concept car on this list.

Powertrain: Liquid-cooled 120-kWh battery pack and four electric motors
Power: 1,914 horsepower
Torque: 1,686 pound-feet of torque
0-to-60-mph: 1.85 seconds
Top Speed: 258 mph
Range: N/A
Level of Autonomy: N/A
Likelihood of production: Very likely

Read our full review on the 2019 Rimac Concept_Two

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