The 15 Most Intriguing Concept Cars of 2012

by: Esteban On  Thursday, October 4, 2012

awesome intriguing coolest 2012 concept cars

A few weeks back we took a look at some of the best new practical cars for 2013. And while that was nice, let’s be real—when you were a kid, you didn’t want to play with the Hot Wheels with good gas mileage and an affordable sticker price. You wanted to play with futuristic supercars.

Well, it just so happens that one of the most important auto shows in the world is going on right now—the biennial Paris Motor Show—and every major car manufacturer in the world is unveiling their latest concept cars. So what better time to forget practicality and dream big?

Thus, today we present you with the 15 most intriguing concept cars of 2012. It doesn’t matter that you can’t afford them because they’re not for sale anyway, so have a look.

15. Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo

15 porsche panamera sport turismo concept car

Porsche is calling this concept “the sports cal of the future.” What does that really mean? Well, they certainly can’t be referring to it’s appearance. The Panamera concept looks like a hybrid of a typical european sports car and a station wagon. So I guess the conceptiness lies under the hood, where there is a a plug-in hybrid power train.

14. BMW Concept Active Tourer

14 bmw-concept-active-tourer

Though this one only looks slightly futuristic, it actually represents a huge departure for BMW. You see, the Active Tourer is a small plug-in hybrid with front-wheel drive as opposed to the typical rear-wheel drive found in BMWs. It’s got a small (i.e. space-efficient) three-cylinder engine powering the front wheels and an electric motor driving the rear for a combined HP of just 190. So yeah, like I said, it’s a big change for BMW.

13. Bentley Continental GT3

13 bently continental gt3 concept car

A straight-up race car from one of the world’s premier luxury car makers? Yes please. It’s actually pretty fantastic how they managed to incorporate the iconic Bently grill while still making the car look sleek and sporty. Hopefully this concept will turn into an actual model sometime in the next few years, and not just something we see on the track at Le Mans.

12. Peugeot 2008

12 peugot 2008 concept car

Guess what? The small crossover trend that’s so strong here in North America? It’s strong in Europe, too. So Peugeot recently unveiled this eye-popping concept at the Paris Motor Show, which is scheduled to go into production some time next year. The target demographic for this one? People they call “cool young urbanites who value being connected to the virtual world above all else.” Um, whatever, dudes.

Still, marketing nonsense aside, I have to admit that this car looks pretty awesome. Matte neon yellow finish? Black chrome wheels? It’s the 2008 is pretty unique.

11. Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive

11 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive concept car

In terms of looks, the only thing that’s radical about this compact hatch is the blue chrome paint job—which almost certainly will not be available to consumers. However, under the hood, this one is pretty forward thinking. It has a 134 hp electric motor with a top speed of 93 mph and a range of about 124 miles. And it can be charged in a standard 230-volt outlet…like your phone, or you iPod.

10. Audi Crosslane Coupe

10 audi crosslane coupe concept car

Though the design of this car is pretty striking, that’s not where the “concept” is. This car is an engineering concept. You see, its frame is constructed with “space age” materials—aluminum, carbon fiber-reinforced polymers, and glass fiber-reinforced polymers. What is all that? No clue. But I know they are extremely light, and thus reduce the weight of the vehicle dramatically, making it more fuel-efficient.

9. BMW i3

9 bmw i3 megacity concept car

Now we’re getting into the funky concepts. With the i3, BMW is trying to make the compact urban people-mover stylish and inviting—a place you’d want to hang out with your friends. That’s why they don’t call the cabin a cabin. They call it a “life module.” (Uh huh.) Anyway, as you can see, it’s radical doors open the whole car interior up and made it easy to get in and out. Though good luck in a parking garage.

8. Lexus LF-CC

8 lexus lf-cc concept car

The LF-CC is one of a whole line of similar concept cars that Lexus has been showing in recent years. They call the design scheme “L-Finesse”—which sounds toolish, but looks fantastic. As for mechanical innovations, well, it’s got three individual LEDs for headlights (one set on each side). I guess that’s innovative. And apparently it has some kind of hybrid engine that gets more than 200 hp. So that’s kind of cool, too.

7. Smart ForStars

7 Smart ForStars concept car

The regular floor models you’ll find at any SmartCar dealership are pretty whacky looking, so you know a Smart concept car is going to be trippy. And the ForStars unveiled at the Paris Motor Show definitely fits that description. Heck, the thing looks like a character from Disney Pixar’s Cars. The smiling bastard even has dimples.

Anyway, in addition to the futuristic design, this concept is also revolutionary in it’s size—for Smart, it’s downright huge. The ForStars is 33.7 inches longer than the SmartCars you see driving around, which works out to about a 30% increase. It’s also 5.9 inches wider…so I guess it can better handle McDrivers.

6. Nissan Pivo3

6 nissan pivo3 concept car

The Nissan Pivo3 is the closest thing to a bona fide Jetsons car on display at the 2012 Paris Motor Show. And here the designers thought outside the box in terms of design and function. The doors of this little city pod don’t open outward; they slide. So if you see a teeny tiny little parking spot nobody else wants, it’s all yours with this baby. Other futuristic features include all-wheel steering that allows the thing to almost spin around on its axis, and in-wheel electric motors that obviously save tons of space. But best of all is this cars AVP feature, which stands for Automatic Valet Parking. In the future you’ll be able to drop your car off at the entrance to the parking lot and it will park itself.

That’s almost as good as the car folding up into a brief case.

5. Nissan Terra

5 Nissan Terra concept car

At #5 we have our second straight Nissan. This one looks like a bug from the front (google it if you don’t believe me), but is gorgeous in a space-age kind of way from the side. However, the looks aren’t the only thing going for this concept car. It’s a zero-emission all-wheel-drive crossover with a Nissan Leaf power train driving the front wheels, two individual motors powering the real wheels, and a hydrogen-powered fuel cell.

4. Citroen Tubik

4 citroen tubik concept car

The Tubik is perhaps the whackiest car to hit the floor at the Paris Motor Show. Citroen calls it a high-end, high-tech “shuttle” (i.e., van) designed to carry 9 passengers in its comfortable “lounge” (i.e., cabin).

Also, it looks like a pig with wings, which is fantastic.

3. Peugeot Onyx

3 Peugeot Onyx concept car

I want it.

French automaker Peugeot unveiled this beauty at the 2012 Paris Motor Show. How about that two-tone body, huh? That’s real copper sheeting on the fenders and doors.

Anyway, this car is not just good-looking. It’s also pretty innovative…for a supercar. The rear wheels are powered by a 3.7L V8 hybrid diesel engine that gets a whopping 680 hp, and the interior is made from recycled materials instead of the usual leather and mahogany. Take a look.

2. Mercedes SLS AMG Coupe Electric Drive (technically not a concept)

2 Mercedes SLS AMG Coupe Electric Drive concept car

Meet the world’s first fully electric supercar.

Yes, you read that right: electric supercar. The Mercedes SLS AMG Coupe Electric Drive is a fully electric version of the regular SLS AMG supercar they released in 2009. And here’s the kicker: it’s actually more powerful than the original gas-powered version. Each wheel has it’s own motor, and the total output is an insane 740 hp. (The regular 6.2L V8 only gets somewhere around 600 hp.) So, if you have an extra $500,000 just burning a hole in your pocket, you can buy one of these in a couple of years and be totally awesome while also saving the planet.

1. McLaren P1

1 mclaren p1 concept car

We don’t know too much about the insides of this sick new supercar from McLaren. However, they are claiming that it’s performance will dwarf that of it’s first entry into the road car market, the MP4-12C, and that car has 592 hp and goes from 0 to 60 in 3.3 seconds. For starters, the P1 will have an engine exceeding 600 hp and, most interestingly, over 1300 pounds of aerodynamic downforce. This won’t make it faster, of course, but they are saying it will make the P1 the most to drive. And I’m inclined to believe it.