In less than two weeks, 2010 will draw to a close. So what better time to look back at the real stars of this year’s motor shows: the concept cars! Enter into a world where considerations like practicality and profitability fall by the wayside and the world’s designers and engineers show us their true potential. Let’s count down...my Top 10 Concept Cars of 2010!
10. Kia POP
Kia’s POP small electric vehicle study is a designer’s wet dream: a one piece glass windscreen and roof, scissor doors and an interior that looks more like a space capsule than a car. It also offers further proof that the South Korean company has evolved from a budget buyer’s first choice into a proper, world class automaker.
Again and again, Citroen has proved that it can do concept cars like no other automaker. Alas, with so many other awesome concepts this year, the Lacoste never made it further up our list than here. Still, this beach buggy for the 21st century has some standout features like its funky LED dashboard, semi-open design and plastic-clad body.
Renault has never been so cool. In a perfect world, this electric two-seater would be the French automaker’s Audi R8. In reality, it’s just another fantastic shoulda-been from France’s dullest automaker (Renault Sport models notwithstanding).
The BIOME is pure flight of fancy. Designed to be seeded in an orchard and grown like a cob of corn (no, really), the BIOME emits nothing but oxygen and marketing hyperbole. Am I the only one who thinks this looks a bit like the 2001 SEL from Spaceballs?
6. Peugeot EX1
Part car, part motorcycle: Peugeot’s eccentrically electric two-seat, three wheeler packs 250 kW / 340 hp between its narrow front wheels. This isn’t Peugeot’s first three wheel concept (remember 2005’s 20 Cup and 2009’s RD?) and is unlikely to be the last. Tres magnifique!
5. Lotus Elise
2010 has been a great year for Lotus concept cars, what with the Aston Martin Rapide rivalling Esterne and the relaunch of two classic nameplates in Esprit and Elan. Still, this teaser for the next-generation Elise is my favourite. 2013 can’t come too soon.
A fabulous one-off that’s drivable to boot, the new Stratos is underpinned by the same (if tweaked) 510 hp V8 that powers Ferrari’s 430 Scuderia. Designed and built by Italian design house Pininfarina, the new Statos recalls the much loved HF rally and road cars of the 1970s. Here’s hoping Pininfarina secures the licence to put this schoolboy’s wet dream into limited production.
If there’s one 2010 concept car that divided opinion like no other, it’s Lamborghini’s Sesto Elemento. Between its stealth fighter styling, cacophony of oddly shaped intakes and outtakes and the de-saturated grey and red colour scheme, this was one of the wildest concepts to come out this year. Still, there’s no arguing with its 570 hp V10. We’ll take two.
Raise your hand if you weren’t utterly enraptured by the rebirth of Audi’s ur-Quattro of the 1980s? No one? I thought as much. With its lightweight body, historically accurate 5-cylinder engine and 911-rivalling performance, what’s not to like? And the styling is to die for. The 1980s never looked so good.
1. Jaguar C-X75
And so here it is, my #1. 2010 had a lot of great concept cars, but none so much as Jaguar’s fabulous C-X75. Here is a gas / electric hybrid with 780 hp with a body fashioned out of texalium and vapour-blasted aluminium. This car is so cutting edge you have to wear gloves. It’s the perfect mix of exotic materials, futuristic technologies and pure styling jizz, and the top dog in our top ten.
So there you have My Top 10. What? You don't agree? Does putting a Kia on this list outrage your sensibilities? Are you disappointed that there are no American cars on the list? Is Jaguar's C-X75 and poorly conceived attempt to elevate the brand beyond its upper-class retiree roots? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.
By Tristan Hankins