Automotive

The most remarkable concept cars of 2018 serve up the taste of future

The most remarkable concept ca...
Mercedes debuted the radical Vision EQ Silver Arrow at Monterey Car Week 2018
Mercedes debuted the radical Vision EQ Silver Arrow at Monterey Car Week 2018
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Warm Cognac leather in the Genesis Essentia concept wraps the front occupants while a full-length digital dash keeps them engaged 
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Warm Cognac leather in the Genesis Essentia concept wraps the front occupants while a full-length digital dash keeps them engaged 
Hyundai's luxury brand flashes its sexy side
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Hyundai's luxury brand flashes its sexy side
The Essentia's Quad Lights are made possible by laser optical technology
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The Essentia's Quad Lights are made possible by laser optical technology
Genesis emphasizes the Essentia's carbon fiber monocoque and suspension with a transparent hood
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Genesis emphasizes the Essentia's carbon fiber monocoque and suspension with a transparent hood
Popping the driver-side butterfly door on the Genesis Essentia
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Popping the driver-side butterfly door on the Genesis Essentia
The Essentia is a sleek, sporty GT with all-electric powertrain
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The Essentia is a sleek, sporty GT with all-electric powertrain
Genesis Essentia in the carbon
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Genesis Essentia in the carbon
Genesis first showed the Essentia at the 2018 NY International Auto Show, and here it shows it later at the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este
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Genesis first showed the Essentia at the 2018 NY International Auto Show, and here it shows it later at the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este
Mercedes debuted the radical Vision EQ Silver Arrow at Monterey Car Week 2018
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Mercedes debuted the radical Vision EQ Silver Arrow at Monterey Car Week 2018
The 1937 W 125 Silver Arrow served as inspiration for the all-electric 2018 Vision EQ
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The 1937 W 125 Silver Arrow served as inspiration for the all-electric 2018 Vision EQ
The single seat of the Vision EQ awaits a daring driver
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The single seat of the Vision EQ awaits a daring driver
With limited space inside the single-seat cockpit, Mercedes gives the Vision EQ a central steering wheel display and digital instrument screen
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With limited space inside the single-seat cockpit, Mercedes gives the Vision EQ a central steering wheel display and digital instrument screen
Classic meets cutting edge
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Classic meets cutting edge
The Mercedes-Benz Vision EQ stands as a fascinating clash of retro and futuristic 
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The Mercedes-Benz Vision EQ stands as a fascinating clash of retro and futuristic 
Mercedes drapes the Vision EQ in several coats of "alubeam silver"
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Mercedes drapes the Vision EQ in several coats of "alubeam silver"
The Vision EQ features a dramatic racing-style fin
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The Vision EQ features a dramatic racing-style fin
The Vision EQ is powered by a 738 hp electric drive and 80 kWh battery
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The Vision EQ is powered by a 738 hp electric drive and 80 kWh battery
A closer look at the digital cockpit of the Mercedes Vision EQ Silver Arrow
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A closer look at the digital cockpit of the Mercedes Vision EQ Silver Arrow
Genesis Essentia on show at Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance 
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Genesis Essentia on show at Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance 
Infiniti debuts the Q Inspiration concept at the 2018 North American International Auto Show
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Infiniti debuts the Q Inspiration concept at the 2018 North American International Auto Show
We enjoy the look of the Q Inspiration overall, but that front-end is a little too much
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We enjoy the look of the Q Inspiration overall, but that front-end is a little too much
Infiniti focused on creating a minimalist, human-centric interior with the Q Inspiration
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Infiniti focused on creating a minimalist, human-centric interior with the Q Inspiration
As a concept, the Q Inspiration was powered by a VC-Turbo engine, but it will inspire an electric car platform
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As a concept, the Q Inspiration was powered by a VC-Turbo engine, but it will inspire an electric car platform
Aston Martin explores a Level 4 all-electric concept within its new Lagonda brand
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Aston Martin explores a Level 4 all-electric concept within its new Lagonda brand
Aston Martin is positioning Lagonda as the world's first all-electric premium vehicle brand
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Aston Martin is positioning Lagonda as the world's first all-electric premium vehicle brand
Swivel seats add to the autonomous ambiance of the Lagonda Vision
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Swivel seats add to the autonomous ambiance of the Lagonda Vision
The Lagonda Vision features a steering wheel that can slide from left to right seat and retract away in autonomous mode
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The Lagonda Vision features a steering wheel that can slide from left to right seat and retract away in autonomous mode
The Lagonda Vision Concept debuts at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show
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The Lagonda Vision Concept debuts at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show
Aston Martin Lagonda Vision cockpit
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Aston Martin Lagonda Vision cockpit
The VIP position enjoys a full lounge seat
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The VIP position enjoys a full lounge seat
Infiniti Q Inspiration
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Infiniti Q Inspiration
Infiniti gives each Q Inspiration occupant his or her own touchscreen
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Infiniti gives each Q Inspiration occupant his or her own touchscreen
Infiniti Q Inspiration
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Infiniti Q Inspiration
Infiniti showed the Q Inspiration concept at the Beijing Motor Show a few months after its debut in Detroit
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Infiniti showed the Q Inspiration concept at the Beijing Motor Show a few months after its debut in Detroit
With the GR Super Sport, Toyota will join the likes of Mercedes, Aston Martin and McLaren in building an all-out halo performance machine
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With the GR Super Sport, Toyota will join the likes of Mercedes, Aston Martin and McLaren in building an all-out halo performance machine
The Toyota GR Super Sport Concept features a 986-hp hybrid powertrain derived from racing
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The Toyota GR Super Sport Concept features a 986-hp hybrid powertrain derived from racing
Toyota prepares to build a hypercar with the GR Super Sport Concept
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Toyota prepares to build a hypercar with the GR Super Sport Concept
Toyota showed the GR Super Sport Concept at the 2018 Tokyo Auto Salon and again at Le Mans
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Toyota showed the GR Super Sport Concept at the 2018 Tokyo Auto Salon and again at Le Mans
Toyota's GR Super Sport Concept is closely related to the TS050 Hybrid WEC race car
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Toyota's GR Super Sport Concept is closely related to the TS050 Hybrid WEC race car
Porsche reckons its 800 V charging architecture will add 250 miles (402 km) of range in roughly 15 minutes
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Porsche reckons its 800 V charging architecture will add 250 miles (402 km) of range in roughly 15 minutes
Debuted as a concept car in Geneva, the Mission E Cross Turismo is on its way toward production 
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Debuted as a concept car in Geneva, the Mission E Cross Turismo is on its way toward production 
Without many accompanying details, Aston gave the Lagonda Vision an all-wheel electric drive with 400 miles (644 km) of range
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Without many accompanying details, Aston gave the Lagonda Vision an all-wheel electric drive with 400 miles (644 km) of range
Aston Martin Lagonda Vision
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Aston Martin Lagonda Vision
The coach door and lifting roof panel make it easier to step into the Lagonda Vision
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The coach door and lifting roof panel make it easier to step into the Lagonda Vision
The Porsche Mission E Cross Turismo concept features a rear cargo system and pass-through
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The Porsche Mission E Cross Turismo concept features a rear cargo system and pass-through
The Mission E Cross Turismo exterior yells "rugged rally wagon," but its interior adds quietly, "luxury four-door"
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The Mission E Cross Turismo exterior yells "rugged rally wagon," but its interior adds quietly, "luxury four-door"
Porsche puts its Mission E face on a larger, more muscular body 
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Porsche puts its Mission E face on a larger, more muscular body 
The Mission E Cross Turismo is part electric four-door, part station wagon, part crossover and a little part rally car
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The Mission E Cross Turismo is part electric four-door, part station wagon, part crossover and a little part rally car
The Cross Turismo boasts an adaptive air suspension with up to 1.9 in of increased clearance, flared fenders and big, grippy tires
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The Cross Turismo boasts an adaptive air suspension with up to 1.9 in of increased clearance, flared fenders and big, grippy tires
Mission E Cross Turismo power comes from a 600+ hp all-wheel electric drive
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Mission E Cross Turismo power comes from a 600+ hp all-wheel electric drive
The interior of the Honda Rugged Open Air Vehicle (ROAV) concept is all side-by-side
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The interior of the Honda Rugged Open Air Vehicle (ROAV) concept is all side-by-side
Honda brings Civic Type R seats trimmed in waterproof Pioneer 1000 fabric, RAM Mounts smartphone holders and a Pioneer 1000 steering wheel into the ROAV cockpit
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Honda brings Civic Type R seats trimmed in waterproof Pioneer 1000 fabric, RAM Mounts smartphone holders and a Pioneer 1000 steering wheel into the ROAV cockpit
The ROAV is a modified Ridgeline pickup body with powersports attitude
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The ROAV is a modified Ridgeline pickup body with powersports attitude
Sadly, Honda didn't give any ROAV powertrain details, but the thing looks like it's fun no matter what's driving the wheels
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Sadly, Honda didn't give any ROAV powertrain details, but the thing looks like it's fun no matter what's driving the wheels
Honda blends the speed and off-road thrills of a UTV with the utility of a pickup
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Honda blends the speed and off-road thrills of a UTV with the utility of a pickup
Honda debuted the Rugged Open Air Vehicle concept at SEMA 2018
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Honda debuted the Rugged Open Air Vehicle concept at SEMA 2018
Peugeot rolls together past, present and future with the e-Legend concept
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Peugeot rolls together past, present and future with the e-Legend concept
The Peugeot e-Legend concept features modernized-classic lines, a 456-hp electric powertrain and full autonomy
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The Peugeot e-Legend concept features modernized-classic lines, a 456-hp electric powertrain and full autonomy
The e-Legend poses with the classic 504 Coupe that inspired it
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The e-Legend poses with the classic 504 Coupe that inspired it
Shown here with its steering wheel retracted, the Peugeot e-Legend features two human drive modes and two autonomous modes
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Shown here with its steering wheel retracted, the Peugeot e-Legend features two human drive modes and two autonomous modes
Peugeot lists a sub-4 second 0-62 mph time, 137-mph (220 km/h) top speed and 373-mile (600-km) range
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Peugeot lists a sub-4 second 0-62 mph time, 137-mph (220 km/h) top speed and 373-mile (600-km) range
Peugeot e-Legend concept
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Peugeot e-Legend concept
Peugeot packs the e-Legend interior with no less than 16 digital displays, including a 49-in dashboard display and a pair of 12-in displays in the sun visors
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Peugeot packs the e-Legend interior with no less than 16 digital displays, including a 49-in dashboard display and a pair of 12-in displays in the sun visors

Automotive technology continues advancing forward at blinding speed. Electric vehicles are inching toward their big tipping point; self-driving technologies are growing and improving; and even the good, old internal combustion engine is learning new tricks. Pretty soon we'll all be zipping around in the swarm of self-driving, self-charging electric taxi pods. Before we do, we'll continue getting a taste of that future through the high-powered lens of concept cars. This year's most memorable concepts included retro-styled electrics, next-gen hypercars and one very uncommon type of off-road hybrid.

Peugeot e-Legend

Modern vehicles may have fast-evolving technology on their side, but oftentimes their styling leaves us nostalgic for our favorite rides of the past. Peugeot very effectively brought past and future together in the present when it debuted the e-Legend concept at this year's Paris Motor Show. The concept gives the 504 Coupe from the 60s and 70s an ultramodern makeover, leaving an appearance that's retro while also sleek and contemporary.

Peugeot e-Legend concept
Peugeot e-Legend concept

Not only does the e-Legend look good, it's loaded with all the next-gen tech a proper concept car should have. It zips from driveway to parking garage under the power of a 456-hp electric drive that promises up to 373 miles (600 km) of range and 0-62 mph (100 km/h) acceleration ducking below 4 seconds. It packs full Level 5 autonomy but still allows for human driving, letting the driver select the perfect ride via two manual and two autonomous driving modes. When letting the vehicle drive itself, passengers can take full advantage of the 16-screen infotainment system.

Long story short, the e-Legend is an all-electric, fully autonomous car with the immutable soul of a classic.

Genesis Essentia

"Hyundai really designed that?" It was a question we found ourselves asking about two particularly inspired 2018 concept cars, debuted in the same month – the Hyundai Le Fil Rouge from Geneva and the Genesis Essentia of NY auto show fame. The Le Fil Rouge was but a lightly detailed design study, but Hyundai had a bit more info to provide on the Essentia. We also like the look of the Essentia a touch better, owing to styling cues like the pinched rear spoiler, laser lights and compact triangular grille.

Genesis Essentia on show at Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance 
Genesis Essentia on show at Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance 

Genesis' first all-electric effort, the Essentia is all about styling befitting a range-topping GT, a little something Genesis calls "athletic elegance." In short, that manifests itself in dramatic, swept-back proportions, muscular haunches, big wheels and a windshield that trickles gently into a transparent hood. With help from the reduced weight of the carbon monocoque and body panels, the Essentia's high-density battery pack and multi-motor powertrain push it from 0 to 60 mph (96.5 km/h) in a flat 3 seconds.

The Essentia is as impressive inside the butterfly doors as it is outside. The cabin combines the cutting-edge with the classic, leather- and velvet-trimmed seats facing a fully digitized dashboard. Instead of merely creating a fast, efficient route, the Essentia's AI system tailors recommended routes to driver preference – anything from the shortest A-to-B, to a leisurely scenic tour, to a twisty, fast-paced sprint. The system adjusts vehicle settings like chassis tune and seat position accordingly.

Mercedes Vision EQ Silver Arrow

Revive a famous 1937 race car, update its retro-radical physique with a modern body that looks poured on, add in a 738-hp all-electric powertrain and, well, unless something goes horribly wrong, you're going to take home some "best concept of the year" recognition. That about sums up the Vision EQ Silver Arrow Mercedes debuted at Pebble Beach, and the car locked up its claim to a spot on this list before we even looked into the 248-mile (400-km) range or clean, single-seat cockpit lurking below the forward-lift half-canopy.

The Vision EQ is powered by a 738 hp electric drive and 80 kWh battery
The Vision EQ is powered by a 738 hp electric drive and 80 kWh battery

The concept pays homage to the W 125, an aero-optimized, Grand Prix-derived car Mercedes built in 1937 before sending it out on the autobahn to set a 268.9-mph (432.7-km/h) public-road speed record, a mark that stood until just last year. We kind of prefer the lines of the other Pebble Beach-debuted electric single-seater, Infiniti's Prototype 10, but the Vision EQ has a pedigree you can't ignore.

Honda Open Air Vehicle

There was a time not long ago when every electric concept was a big deal and something to look forward at auto shows. But EVs haven't even fully arrived and it already feels like electric GTs and crossover concepts have become entirely formulaic and predictable. If there's a major auto show going on, there's going to be an electric concept debut, probably a handful.

Much like electric concepts used to break up the auto show monotony of gas and diesel sedans and wagons, these days it sometimes takes a grumbling ICE to break up the silence of the electric concept parade. And when that ICE happens to sit inside a concept that's half pickup truck and half side-by-side, it breaks the silence with the knee-weakening thunder of worlds colliding.

The ROAV is a modified Ridgeline pickup body with powersports attitude
The ROAV is a modified Ridgeline pickup body with powersports attitude

The Rugged Open Air Vehicle concept mashes Honda's powersports and automotive sides together into one awesome off-roader. Honda hadn't yet unveiled its Talon all-out performance side-by-sides prior to the ROAV's SEMA debut, but its Pioneer 1000 UTV served as an appropriately stout and playful companion for the Ridgeline to commingle with. The result: a fast, furious but practical off-road machine that can just as easily haul lumber as it can rip a unique signature in sand and dirt. It's the type of old-school, off-the-wall concept car that today's cookie-cutter self-driving Tesla-fighter concept no longer is, proof that the auto industry still has creativity in its head and red blood pumping through its veins.

Aston Martin Lagonda Vision

It's quite common that we get to see a brand's future design language laid out in a forward-looking concept car, but it's less common that the brand in question is both the all-new spinoff of a well-established premium performance brand and the world's first zero-emissions luxury marque. That's what we were looking at with Aston Martin's Lagonda Vision Concept, which debuted at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show.

The coach door and lifting roof panel make it easier to step into the Lagonda Vision
The coach door and lifting roof panel make it easier to step into the Lagonda Vision

Aston's design team used the occasion of the new Lagonda sub-brand to burn the playbook and explore futuristic interior and exterior design, using a decentralized AWD electric powertrain and autonomous capabilities as the springboard to rearranging familiar dimensions. The car vaguely resembles the concept car wedges popular back in the 60s and 70s, but in a more modern, stretched-out four door form.

B-pillar-less coach doors and flip-open roof flaps provide a spacious entryway into a cabin that explodes in eye-catching materials like silk, cashmere and ceramics. Built with Level 4 autonomy in mind, the interior includes swivel front seats, a left-to-right adjustable, retractable steering wheel and a full-blown VIP lounge seat.

This was our first look at a Lagonda brand set to launch its first vehicle in 2021, and it made us very eager for a second look.

Infiniti Q Inspiration

The internal combustion engine may be facing increasing competition from newer alternatives, but it's not going out without a little evolution of its own. Infiniti revealed its VC-Turbo variable compression ratio engine back in 2016, and the sleek, mid-size Q Inspiration concept sedan was the first car designed around the 2.0-liter VC-Turbo. The engine's compact size allowed Infiniti designers the freedom to create a four-door coupe with spacious interior, and the results are more stunning than anything in Infiniti's current lineup, a long but athletic silhouette with sloped roofline, chiseled character lines and razor-sharp lights.

Infiniti Q Inspiration
Infiniti Q Inspiration

Circling back to the VC-Turbo, the innovative, little four-cylinder varies compression ratio between 8:1 and 14:1, putting the muscle of a turbo at the driver's toe tips but seamlessly scaling back to hybrid-like efficiency when the driver is merely cruising. It's complemented in the Q Inspiration by other cutting-edge technologies like automated ProPilot and an interior with digital displays for everyone.

As a concept, the Q Inspiration was all about VC-Turbo power, but it will help shape the design of an electrified vehicle platform.

Toyota GR Super Sport Concept

The Toyota GR Supra Racing concept seemed like the obvious choice for this spot at first, but the Supra's been in the works so long, we really just want to see the car, not a camouflaged racing variant. Toyota has confirmed the production Supra for a January debut at the Detroit auto show, and it will certainly be one of the biggest sports car debuts of 2019.

Toyota showed the GR Super Sport Concept at the 2018 Tokyo Auto Salon and again at Le Mans
Toyota showed the GR Super Sport Concept at the 2018 Tokyo Auto Salon and again at Le Mans

But here in 2018, the Toyota sports car concept that impressed us most was the GR Super Sport Concept, revealed at the Tokyo Auto Salon. Unlike the Supra, which has been dragging heels to market for years, the GR Super Sport kind of came out of left field late in 2017 ahead of its January debut. It was easy to write off as an interesting show car with no future, but then Toyota confirmed a production version just a few months later.

The GR Super Sport project will return a halo hypercar to the top of a Toyota lineup much better known for everyday commuting and practicality, and it appears it will be a full-blown race car for the road up there with the Aston Martin Valkyrie and Mercedes-AMG One. Toyota's concept pulls hybrid technology from the TS050 Hybrid WEC car, relying on a 2.4-liter twin-turbo V6 and electric drive for a full 986 hp. With specs like that, we're already just as anxious to see the production GR Super Sport as we are the Supra.

Porsche Mission E Cross Turismo

Changing things up from the electric sedans and SUVs that have become all too predictable, Porsche showed a different style of electric four-door this year with its Geneva-debuted Mission E Cross Turismo.

Adding a bit of electrifying adventure to the new sports wagon form factor it launched with the Panamera Sport Turismo, Porsche dazzled Geneva with a lifted light-rally car with 600+ hp electric powertrain. The Cross Turismo takes on/off-road control beyond simple dual-motor AWD, guaranteeing precise handling across various conditions with rear-wheel steering, dynamic chassis control and adaptive air suspension with up to 1.9 in (50 mm) of lift. The big tires and flared fenders ensure it looks the part.

The Mission E Cross Turismo is part electric four-door, part station wagon, part crossover and a little part rally car
The Mission E Cross Turismo is part electric four-door, part station wagon, part crossover and a little part rally car

With its off-road-ready construction and 3.5-second 0-62 mph capabilities, the Cross Turismo may very well become your new hobby, but it's also capable of supporting old ones. Porsche includes a rail-based cargo loading system and a pass-through for longer gear.

It looked like the epitome of a show car when it debuted, but the Mission E Cross Turismo was a drivable concept, and Porsche has already confirmed a production version.

Seeing is believing, so check out more exterior angles, closeups and interior dives in the photo gallery. Then let us know which choices you agree with, which ones you don't and what other 2018 concept cars we might have overlooked.

2 comments
guzmanchinky
I love cars. When I turned 16 in 1986, I got my license that very day. No restrictions, pure freedom (and a lot of danger). Today I guess most kids don't even care about driving. I wonder where the future will go? All electric and self driving for sure. But will we be in control of the vehicle at all? Will the idea of driving for fun be as silly as watching those people who used those vibrating belt machines? My vote goes to a car that drives itself when I want it to, but 100% prevents me from crashing if I want to drive...
AngryPenguin
@guzmanchinky A lot of us who grew up in the stranger danger era didn't get the chance. For myself, I would never trust a car that doesn't have a steering wheel. Google maps has tried to lead me down too many ATV paths.