Monterey Car Week: All the concept cars and hypercars at a glance
Monterey Car Week might be wrapped around the world's most important celebration of automotive heritage, the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, but over the last decade it has grown to become far more important to the world's elite hypercar industry than any other single event. It's a unique opportunity to see the world's most advanced, exotic and expensive cars together in the one place – and many for the first time.
The following is a synopsis of the most important new models that were shown on the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance Concept Lawn, the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, Gordon McCall's Motorworks Revival, and The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering.
We've included links to our articles on each of these cars, or other key sources.
2019 Acura NSX
After two years on the market (25 if you count the original), the mid-engine hybrid all-wheel-drive Acura NSX has had a significant refresh for 2019, which the company claims will make the 573 hp day-to-day supercar even more pleasurable to live with and more exciting to drive on the race track. The changes include upgrades to the chassis, new tire specs, retuning of the hybrid power unit and an updated exterior design. Prices have gone up US$1,500 for 2019, starting at $157,800.
2019 Acura NSX GT3
If you fancy spending four times (and then some) that amount on an NSX, you can buy an Acura NSX GT3 race car, but your $650,000 outlay includes a $100,000 spare parts pack and a competitive package capable of getting you to the pointy end of most fields.
Audi PB 18 e-tron
Audi set things off nicely with a new, 764-hp high-performance electric streetcar concept.
The design for the Audi PB 18 e-tron was inspired by the Aicon concept of 2017, but wind tunnel conceptualizing and other driver-focused elements set it apart from the earlier concept that was meant to be a fully automated. As a driver-focused vehicle, the PB 18 e-tron borrows a lot of ideas and technology from the R18 e-tron World Endurance Championship Racer.
Indeed, the interior elements of the PB 18 e-tron are unusual in that the driver's cockpit is a one piece monocoque. It can slide from the left to center and back again in order to accommodate more cargo, a more traditional driving position, or a passenger. When the doors are closed, the monocoque "locks" into position to prevent movement while driving.
Automobili Pininfarina PF0 Design Prototype
The 2,000-hp PF0 is one of the most exciting new cars from an exciting new brand, spun out of the best known automotive design company in the world – Pininfarina. The PF0 was shown behind closed doors in Monterey, but we did get one image, and we recently documented the entire story so far.
Bentley Mulsanne W.O. Edition by Mulliner
Bentley was founded on January 18, 1919, which means it is now in its 100th year. Centenaries don't come around that often, so the Mulliner bespoke division is creating a 100-only limited edition: the Mulsanne W.O. Edition by Mulliner pays tribute to Bentley's founder, and remarkably contains part of his very own car. They've taken the original crankshaft from the original car and cut it into 100 bits, with each one mounted in a display inside the car.
BMW Concept Gran Coupe
This seemingly production-ready concept vehicle was first shown at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2018, and BMW heralded its styling for upcoming generations of automobiles. The German automaker revealed the M8 Gran Coupe as a four-door fastback with a next-generation style for the brand. The BMW M8 Gran Coupe follows the 8 Series coupe unveiled last year.
Pebble Beach was the world premiere of the new open-top two-seater BMW Z4 M40i First Edition just as it served as the stage for the presentation of the BMW Concept Z4 last year. BMW has designed the Z4 with a perfect 50:50 front-rear weight distribution, a wide track, compact wheelbase, and specifically, "for intense driving pleasure." The M40i First Edition produces 340 horsepower (250 kW) through its straight-six engine. Electronically-controlled dampers and an M Sport braking system and differential control the Z4's stability and road control. The M Performance model sprints from 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) in 4.6 seconds.
Monterey was our first chance to see the Brabham BT62 track-only in the flesh, and what a sight it is. Weighing just 972 kg (2,143 lb) dry and packing a 700-hp (522 kW), 667 Nm (492 lb-ft), 5.4-liter V8 engine, the BT62 has an otherworldly power-to-weight ratio (730 ps per tonne) to go with huge downforce from its advanced aerodynamics. Brabham is now in its 70th year, and the BT62 livery at Pebble Beach was in the original green and gold of the car in which Dan Gurney became the first ever driver to win a Formula 1 Grand Prix in a Brabham racing car, at the French Grand Prix of 1964.
A new Bugatti is always something to write home about, and although the Divo is, in essence, a re-skinned Chiron with a focus on fast cornering rather than top speed, its insanely sexy looks (including the coolest tail light design we've ever seen) and US$5.8-million price tag make it a must-see event.
Byton K-Byte concept
California-based Byton, a self-described "intelligent electric vehicle maker," showed its new K-Byte during 2018 Monterey Car Week. The self-driving sedan with integrated, retractable sensors had already been shown at CES Asia in mid-June. Byton has partnered with autonomous driving technology company, Aurora, and claims the K-Byte will be able to drive itself Level 4 autonomy, which is the last step towards a fully autonomous vehicle that can operate without humans at all. This is considered to be "near-term" achievable in today's automotive market and Byton hopes to capitalize on that, with a fleet of prototype vehicles on the road by the end of 2020. The Byton K-Byte follows on the Byton Concept (now called the M-Byte), shown in January of this year. The two concepts share a common chassis and engineering design, with the K-Byte being a sedan and the M-Byte being a crossover.
This pair of Curtiss Zeus prototypes turned up in several locations in Monterey and are apparently a pretty good representation of what to expect when the twin electric motor piece of industrial art becomes available in 2020. If you haven't heard of Curtiss, it is the zero emissions reinvention of the company formerly known as Confederate, the Salvador Dali of motorcycle manufacturers. Watch this space, because the word "exciting" just really doesn't cover the future prospects for this company.
Ferrari 488 Pista Spider
Ferrari stormed Pebble Beach with a virtual concours comprised just of Ferrari Spiders on the First Fairway. The newest 488 Pista Spider joined the line-up as the 50th drop-top model from the Prancing Horse and examples were shown of all past drop-top models including the 212 Export, 250 Monza, 335 S, 250 Testa Rossa, 412 S, 275 GTS4 NART Spider, 250 California, F50, F60 America and LaFerrari Aperta.
The Ferrari 488 Pista Spider contains the most powerful Ferrari V8 engine ever built, and has been named best engine in the world for the third consecutive year at the 2018 International Engine of the Year Awards. The 3902cc twin-turbo V8 peaks at 720 hp and combines that power with increasing torque at all engine speeds for continuous and unending acceleration all the way to the red line. Listening to a rampantly accelerating V8 engine sound is a primal experience that is significantly enhanced when you are in the car, and the car in question has an open-top configuration.
Ford GT40 Heritage Edition
In 2016, Ford celebrated its breakthrough 1-2-3 1966 Le Mans win by launching the GT '66 Heritage Edition to commemorate the 50th anniversary of that win. Students of automotive history will be aware that Ford had a purple patch in endurance racing in the latter half of the swinging sixties, winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans race four consecutive times. Hence in 2017, Ford celebrated the second of those wins with the fiery '67 Heritage Edition and for 2018 and 2019, the Ford GT40 Heritage Edition will be presented in Gulf Oil tribute racing livery.
Genesis Essentia Concept
Genesis was spun off as Hyundai's luxury marque in 2015, and has kept up Hyundai's tradition of excellent concept machines. These days however, most marques have pretty awesome concept cars, and having a fledgling brand name without much recognition makes it hard to make an impression. As C.C. Weiss observed when this concept car first surfaced in New York though, the electrified Essentia Concept GT might well be the missing piece of the Genesis puzzle. All-electric, with scissor doors and some of the smoothest bodywork in Christendom, the Essentia's carbon curves look like they're shaped out of molten metal.
The Genovation GXE is basically a Corvette C7, with the internal combustion engine replaced with an entirely new 800-hp, 700 lb-ft electric powertrain. The result? 0-60 mph in 2.5 seconds and a top speed over 220 mph. It has a transmission too, unusually for an electric: either a 7-speed manual or an 8-speed auto. We've previously written about this car, and at a price of $750,000, you'll still need to be quick because only 75 production units are planned.
Hennessy Venom F5
It was a long time coming, but Hennessey's Venom F5 finally arrived at SEMA in Las Vegas last November. Hence this is the first Pebble Beach the 300 mph, 1,600-hp Venom F5 has attended. The twin-turbo V8 is claimed to put out more than 1,600 bhp through a seven-speed paddle shift transmission, with the drag coefficient listed as 0.33, a decent dip from the Venom GT's 0.44. A newly-designed chassis and carbon fiber body make for a curb weight of 2,950 lb (1,338 kg).
Infiniti Concept 10 Speedster
The Infiniti Concept 10 Speedster was given its world debut at Pebble Beach, following the old-school racer style of the Concept 9 from 2017 – another electric single-seater in the shape of a vintage Grand Prix car. It is intended to serve as inspiration for future all-electric vehicles and e-POWER vehicles, which employ a gasoline engine to charge the car's battery.
Infiniti Q Inspiration
Infiniti's Q Inspiration Concept was introduced at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January 2018, so this was the West Coast debut. Built to showcase the company's design language going forward, the Infiniti Q Inspiration Concept integrates the next-gen Variable Compression-Turbocharged (VC-T) powertrain. The VC-T engine was first shown a couple of years ago, and is capable of varying cylinder compression from 8:1 to 14:1, enabling both muscular turbocharging to give larger-than-displacement power, and for high efficiency to give better-than-size fuel economy.
The four-cylinder engine demonstrating the VC-T displaces only two liters, yet outputs horsepower and torque equivalent to a six-cylinder unit nearly twice the 2.0's size. It achieves almost 30 percent better fuel economy than that same V6 – all in an engine that weighs only about 20 lb (9 kg) more than an equivalent four-cylinder. It's set to appear in the 2019 Infiniti QX50.
Jaguar E-Type Zero
Jaguar Land Rover Classic dropped the biggest bombshell of Monterey Car Week by announcing the production of electric-powered Classic E-Type Jaguars, and the provision of electric power conversion services for existing Jaguar E-Types. The iconic E-Type, famously eulogized by Enzo Ferrari as "the most beautiful car in the world," will begin emerging from Jaguar Land Rover Classic as the most beautiful electric sports cars in the world in 2019.
Jaguar I-PACE Trophy
In 2016, Jaguar was the first premium car manufacturer to join Formula E, and later this year it will stage the world's first all-electric production-based international race series. The Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY will be the main support championship to FIA Formula E, run over 20 races in 10 cities utilizing the same race circuits on the same weekends. The good thing about the series is that the cars are prepared and shipped for you, so all you need to do is pay the money and turn up to race. If you or your company wish to be one of the twenty cars involved in the inaugural 2018/2019 season, email Jaguar: firstname.lastname@example.org. It won't be cheap, but flying into all these cities as one of the stars of the show offers a priceless automotive experience of the first order.
I-PACE First Edition
Jaguar set out to make a mark during Monterey Car Week, taking the the new $70,000 Jaguar I-PACE HSE First Edition to nearby WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca and setting a production EV record lap time of 1:48.18 ahead of its display at the 2018 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion.
Read more about the I-PACE First Edition
When the Fisker Karma launched in 2011, it instantly turned heads. Forget about the environmentally friendly construction, just looking at it was enough to get gear heads fired up. Unfortunately, the financial realities of mass production killed the car before it could truly make an impact. Then, thanks to a fresh injection of Chinese cash, Fisker's gorgeous Karma was reincarnated as the Karma Revero.
Lamborghini Huracan Performante
The Lamborghini Huracan Performante first made waves with a scalding lap of the Nürburgring in just 6:52.01, setting a production car record in March, 2017, then showing the car at the Geneva Motor Show a few days later.
Read more about the Lamborghini Huracan Performante
Lamborghini Aventador SVJ
Lamborghini finally showed the Aventador SVJ, whose Jota suffix denotes its track focus. The new Lamborghini Aventador SVJ made its first mark with its dominating run around the Nürburgring, setting a 6:44.97 record around the 20.6-kilometer course. Only 900 units of the SVJ will be made.
The Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance display included a special edition SVJ 63, paying homage to the company's founding in 1963.
Read more about the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ
Lincoln Aviator SUV
Lincoln dazzled at last year's New York International Auto Show with the all-new Navigator, a much sleeker, more modern interpretation of its full-size SUV. It was back in the SUV driver's seat at this year's show, this time showing a completely new utility vehicle: the midsize Aviator. An impressive vehicle on its own, the Aviator also previews the beginning of an expanded SUV lineup and increased electrification at Lincoln.
Maserati Levante GTS & Trofeo
Maserati first showed its new Levante GTS and Trofeo SUVs at the Goodwood Festival of Speed a few weeks back, but Pebble Beach was the American debut of the high-performance V8 versions of the Levante SUV, the first in Maserati's century-plus history. The Levante GTS sports a 550 hp V8 engine and Q4 Intelligent All-Wheel Drive. The Levante Trofeo is the top-of-the-range Maserati SUV, with a 590 hp V8 engine, the ability to go from 0-100 km/h in 3.9 seconds, a top speed of over 300 km/h and Q4 Intelligent All-Wheel Drive.
McLaren P1 LM
In April, 2017, the limited-production, $3.6 million 986-hp McLaren P1 LM became the world's fastest production car around the most demanding circuit in the world, the 20.8 km Nürburgring Nordschleife. The time of 6:43.2 was so extraordinary that it was a significant automotive landmark for McLaren, the Lanzante team that executed the mission, and the car that was used. When they finished, they drove the car home across Europe to England.
McLaren 600 LT
Surfacing earlier this year at the top of McLaren's Sport class, the carbon fiber chassis 1,247kg (2,749 lbs) 600LT makes 600 metric horsepower (hence the name) from its mid-mounted 3.8-liter twin turbo, and its twin exhausts point upward behind the engine bay to save weight ... and turn heads.
The McLaren Senna and Senna GTR Concept make their debut appearance at The Quail during Monterey Car Week. The Senna is finished in stunning "Fux Green" tinted full-visual carbon fiber.
McLaren Automotive unveiled the Senna hypercar as a road-legal track missile in late 2017. Its mid-mounted 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 packs 789 bhp (589 kW) and 590 lb-ft (800 Nm) of torque driving the rear wheels via a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission.
Read more about the McLaren Senna
McLaren Senna GTR Concept
McLaren followed up at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show with a track-only version of the Senna, the GTR Concept. According to McLaren, "the McLaren Senna GTR Concept produces more power and torque than the road-legal McLaren Senna, and achieves the quickest McLaren lap times outside Formula 1."
Mercedes Vision EQ "Silver Arrow"
If we had to choose one concept to lose our proverbials over this year, here it is. From the front, it looks like a blob of liquid metal. From the rear, you'd almost be convinced it was an open-wheeler with some of the weirdest aerodynamic wheel protection you've ever seen. Then, when the cabin lifts off to reveal the single-seat cockpit, you know you're looking at something truly unique. Extraordinary.
This thing is a weapon of the first order. The GT-R50 was designed by Nissan and engineered and built by Italdesign to celebrate this year's 50th anniversary of Italdesign and 2019's 50th anniversary of the GT-R. It was first shown in all its tire-shredding dynamic glory at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. The stunning piece of 710-hp artwork leaves us asking, Why haven't these guys been working together for the entirety of the past half century?
Pagani Huayra Gyrfalcon
Still one of the world's most desirable supercars, the Pagani Huayra is always an attendee on the concept lawn, though this year the Pagani Huayra Gyrfalcon made an even greater impression than normal. The ultimate bespoke Huayra was facilitated by the world's first Pagani-only dealership, Pagani Newport Beach
Initially launched in October, 2017 and fully revealed at the Geneva Motor Show in March this year, the Polestar 1 grand tourer is wickedly fast. Packing 600 hp (447 kW) and 738 lb-ft (1,000 Nm) of torque, the Polestar 1 will also be able to cover 150 km (93 mi) in electric-only mode, which Volvo claims is the farthest for any hybrid car in the world. The $155,000 price tag isn't the only way to drive the Polestar 1 as it will also be available with a subscription option, where a monthly payment will cover all on-road costs.
Porsche 911 reimagined by Singer
The result of the California-based boutique restoration house Singer Vehicle Design's Dynamic and Lightweighting Study (DLS) was shown at the 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed in July and again at Pebble Beach this week.
In 2017, we wrote: The highest-profile 911 restorations have, lately, come from the Singer Vehicle Design team in California. Chris Harris set the internet alight with his deep-dive into the design process behind creating a Singer, before James May paid tribute to the company during a review on Top Gear.Since then, the small team of enthusiasts has been featured in most of the world's biggest car magazines. Perhaps unsurprisingly, all the reviews have been overwhelmingly positive.
Having started with an old 964-generation (1989–1994) car, Singer sets about turning it into a stunning greatest hits album. The regular body panels are reconditioned or, in some cases, replaced with carbon fiber units, while the wheel arches are lovingly flared for a punchier stance. We don't need to tell you the cars look fantastic but, well, they look fantastic.
Power comes from a choice of three air-cooled flat-six engines, ranging in output from 270 to 390 hp (201 to 291 kW). A four-liter flat-six is currently being developed with Williams Advanced Engineering and Hans Mezger, and is expected to produced upwards of 500 hp (373 kW).All this bespoke goodness doesn't come cheap. Along with the cost of a base car, restoring a 911 to Singer Vehicle Design standards costs at least US$390,000.
Porsche Mission E (Taycan)
It was billed on the concept lawn under its long-time working title, which is "Mission E Concept," but it has now been given an official name – the first purely electric Porsche will be known as the Porsche Taycan when it goes into production next year.
Rimac California Edition C_Two
Rimac unveiled a special California edition of its C_Two hypercar in Pebble Beach. The C_Two is an all-electric beast capable of 258 mph (415 km/h) and (eventually) Level 4 autonomous driving that debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in March. The new California edition adds room for two champagne bottles.
Read more about the Rimac California Edition C_Two
Rolls-Royce Cullinan SUV
"We've now had our first chance to take an up-close look at Rolls-Royce's most fascinating car in a long time. An ambitious and almost self-contradictory attempt to blend rugged off-road capability with uncompromising luxury, the Cullinan is a muscular, six foot-tall tank, chock full of technology and creature comforts." That was how we summed up our first encounter with the Rolls-Royce Cullinan SUV.
The original RUF CTR achieved global recognition in a comparison test done by Road & Track magazine in 1987. Organized to determine the world's fastest car, the test assembled the fastest cars of the day including a Ferrari Testarossa, a Ferrari 288 GTO, and a Porsche 959, but the Yellow RUF embarrassed them all with quite superior performance.
Now, the legend is back, with a brand-new carbon and furious twin-turbo engine. How does a top speed of 340 km/h (210 mph) sound? Well that was the 1987 version. The new Yellowbird has a curb weight of 1,200 kg (2,640 lb), power peaks at 522 kW (700 hp) and torque tops out at 880 Nm (649 lb-ft) for a 100 km/h (62 mph) sprint of 3.5 seconds and top speed is a suitably ludicrous 360 km/h (225 mph).
The C2 is the culmination of a life's work in automotive design by Ex-Mazda Designer Carlos Salaff. After internships at Mazda and BMW, Salaff moved to Mazda's North American Design Studio where he worked on production and concept cars such as the Nagare, Furai, Mazda 3 and MX-5 before leaving in 2013 to found Salaff and create his dream of a handmade supercar. The C2 is the first step in that process, and is based around customers supplying a Lamborghini Gallardo V-10 as the base car upon which to build the limited-quantity, entirely bespoke C2, which will be created in either carbon fiber or hand-beaten aluminum.
The C2 is part of what Salaff envisages will become a three car line up, and will include a mid-engined C1 supercar with a three-seat layout similar to the McLaren F1 and rear-wheel-drive, and a C3 front-engine Grand Tourer with hand-beaten aluminum bodywork.
Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus SCG 003S
Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus (SCG) is owned by film producer, financier and rabid automotive enthusiast/entrepreneur James Glickenhaus, whose cars have graced our pages many times. SCG currently produces the SCG 003S, which appeared on the lawns at Pebble Beach (above), but far greater things are expected of the company in the future – we've already written up the next SCG 004S, and the company web site is already showing designs for a hairy-chested production version of the Steve McQueen-Bud Ekins off-road Baja Boot, a sixties-styled Grand Tourer SCG 006, and the SCG 007, which will be a Le Mans LMP1 car for the road. This company is going places ... fast.
The SCG 003S has been seen before, so the SCG presence at Pebble Beach was somewhat overshadowed by one of SCG's most recent projects, the restoration and commissioning of the famous Pininfarina Modulo Concept car, which appeared in the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.
The Tuatara has been coming to market for a long time. We first wrote it up in 2011, then reported on the completion of the 1700-hp engine testing in 2013, then ... nothing ... for five full years, until on August 25, the company published a press release and showed the car on the concept lawn at Pebble Beach.
Read more about the SSC Tuatara
Volkswagen Atlas Tanoak concept pickup
The VW Atlas Tanoak Pickup truck concept first surfaced at the New York Auto Show earlier this year.The dual-cab pickup is the first truck to be based on VW's MQB platform and is powered by a 276 hp 3.6-liter V6 driving through an eight-speed automatic transmission and using the 4Motion all-wheel drive system.
Read more about the Volkswagen Atlas Tanoak concept pickup
W Motors Fenyr
W Motors began in 2012, with the express intention of creating the world's most expensive, luxurious, and exclusive car. The first model was the US$3.4 million Lykan Hypersport, which was powered by a mid-rear positioned, twin turbocharged flat-six engine generating 750 horsepower. The limited-edition Lykan's claimed performance figures included a 0-100 km/h (62 mph) time of 2.8 seconds, and a top speed of 395 km/h (245 mph). Production was indeed limited – just seven were made.
The Fenyr was announced in November, 2015, so it isn't new, but its specs are even more outrageous than the Lykan. It packs 900 hp and 885 lb-ft (1,200 Nm) of torque from its 4.0-liter flat six-cylinder hooked up to twin turbochargers. That gives it a 0-100 km/h (62 mph) time of 2.7 seconds, and W Motors lists the top speed at 400 km/h (248.5 mph). Just 25 will be built.
There's more – lots more. Jump into our Monterey Car Week photo gallery for all the gasoline- and electric-powered exotica you can eat.