TopSpeed’s Best of 2011: Concept of the Year
There are so many auto shows throughout the course of the year that it’s hard to keep up with all of the cool concepts brought to each one. Then again, some of these concepts are so outlandish that they will never see the light of production day anyway, leaving us with the feeling of being offered a delectable chocolate cake only to be reminded of our New Year’s weight loss resolution.
Even if production chances are slim for some, concepts hold a special place in all of our hearts because of the attention to detail automakers put into them. Automakers use these concepts to put out just how much they are capable of doing and quite possibly may do on their future models.
From three different, color coordinated layers of information to V12 engines with spectacular power outputs, concepts have a way of getting underneath our skin and staying there until the production model is attained. This year, our choices are unmistakable and in no particular order: the Jaguar C-X16 Concept, the BMW i8 Concept, the Aston Martin V12 Zagato Concept, the Chevrolet Mi-Ray Concept, and the Nissan Juke Nismo Concept.
Hit the jump for details on each of these imaginative concepts.
Aston Martin V12 Zagato Concept
The Aston Martin V12 Zagato Concept made its first appearance at the Villa D’Este Concours on May 21st, 2011 with its racing debut at Nürburgring following on May 28th, 2011. It is based on a V12 Vantage model, but incorporates the technologies applied in the One-77 supercar. The model is built on a handcrafted aluminum body, which allowed the team to easily model the car’s form. The result of this work is a car with a beautiful and muscular design.
Under the hood, the V12 Zagato features a 6.0-liter V12 engine that delivers a total of 510 HP and 420 lb ft of torque. The engine is mated to a rear mid-mounted, six-speed automated manual gearbox with auto shift manual/select shift manual (ASM/SSM) electric hydraulic control system that sends the power to the rear wheels.
Production model: Aston Martin V12 Zagato
Jaguar C-X16 Concept
The Jaguar C-X16 Concept made its debut at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show and was described as a production concept that would serve as the prototype for future Jaguar sports cars. It is built using a shorter version of the new XK’s aluminum chassis and measures 4.45 meters long, 2.048 meters wide, and 1.297 meters high with a wheelbase measuring 2.62 meters.
The design language of the C-X16 blends a mixture of the XK’s front end with what appears to be the rear of the C-X75 concept we saw at the 2010 Paris Auto Show. It is powered by a prototype hybrid "Puch to Pass" system that combines a new 3.0-liter supercharged V6 engine with 380 horsepower and 332 lb/ft of torque. This gas engine is then joined by an electric motor generator that has been integrated into an eight-speed automatic transmission. The electric motor receives its power from a 1.6kWh battery pack mounted just behind the seats, providing an additional 95 horsepower and 173 lb/ft of torque.
Production model: Still up in the air
BMW i8 Concept
The BMW i8 Concept was the first concept revealed by BMW that centered on its efforts to improve environmentally friendly vehicles. It debuted at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show and is based on the BMW Vision EfficientDynamics concept car. It features a unique plug-in hybrid solution that combines a combustion engine and an electric drive system to create an extraordinary driving experience complemented by extremely low fuel consumption and emissions.
The most impressive feature of the new concept is the upward-swiveling doors fixed to the A-pillars that underline the car’s sporting capability and opens up access to the front and rear seats at the same time. It also features CFRP components made from resonated carbon fiber weave, a process that began in BMW’s new M3 CRT. The i8 also benefots from a transparent roof that reveals the intricate CFRP structure of the roof, but at the same time offers an optimum view out of the cars and allow the passengers inside to experience the outside world while on the move.
Production Model: 2013 BMW i8
Chevrolet Mi-ray Concept
The Chevrolet Mi-ray Concept is a mid-electric hybrid-powered sports car that debuted at the 2011 Seoul Motor Show in Korea. It was built to celebrate the brand’s 100th anniversary and previews the company’s future design language evolution, which makes sense considering its name means "future" in Korean.
The new Miray concept combines design elements from the 1963 ’Monza (Monza) SS’ and 1962 Corvair Super Spyder and molds them into a futuristic design language. It features an aerodynamic body shape with Le Mans (Le Mans) racer-style vertical doors, a dual-port grille, LED headlamps, a carbon fiber spoiler, and a new set of wheels, 20" at the front and 21" at the rear.
The Mi-Ray is powered by a hybrid system that combines a 1.5-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine mounted behind the cockpit that drives the rear wheels with two front-mounted 15-kW electric motors for quick acceleration and zero emissions in urban driving. The electric motors will take their energy from a 1.6-kWh lithium-ion battery that is charged through regenerative braking energy.
No production model planned.
Nissan Juke Nismo Concept
The Nissan Juke Nismo Concept made its appearance at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show. The concept was built off of the Juke - a vehicle designed to "inject some masculinity and dynamism into the small car market" - but adapted to get even more agile and aggressive with the addition of the kickass Nismo package.
The new Juke Nismo Concept is distinguished by Nismo’s signature colors - pearl white with red highlights - and an extreme body kit that not only offers a sportier look but improves the car’s aerodynamics as well. The body kit includes revised bumpers in the front and rear, wider fenders, and sill side skirts.
Okay, so this one isn’t all that great, but we just love the Nismo package!
No production model planned.