List: Top Ten Concept Cars Of 2011

By Brandon Turkus

December 27, 2011


Bentley Interior Concept at Frankfurt 2011: Any seat in a Bentley is a pretty nice way to spend time. The back seat of this Bentley Mulsanne though, is a nice place to get some work done as well, thanks to an Apple Store’s worth of electronics, including iPads, a Mac Mini, a pair of wireless Bluetooth keyboards, and an iPod/infotainment controller. It may only be a concept, but if Bentley has already built it, we suspect you could outfit your ride the same way if you have the coin.


GMC All-Terrain Concept at Detroit 2011: Ford has its SVT Raptor, and Dodge has released a Baja blasting kit for the Dodge Ram, so it was only a matter of time before GM jumped into the off-road rally truck game. The GMC All-Terrain is still a concept, but we’re digging what it’s selling, especially its 35-inch wheels, an extra three inches of ground clearance, and a 6.6-liter Duramax diesel. Manliness, thy name is GMC.


Porsche 918 RSR at Detroit 2011: We like racecars and we like concept cars, so naturally, we’ll like a concept racecar. The 918 RSR is a racing version of the 918 Spyder Concept that debuted at the 2010 Geneva Auto Show, and packs the same hybrid drivetrain as the 911 GT3 R Hybrid racecar that participated at the Nürburgring 24-hour race. The 918 RSR’s drivetrain also makes use of an F1-style energy recovery system, allowing bursts of power at the press of a button.


Fiat 500 Zagato Coupe at Geneva 2011: This one’s just a styling exercise, but what an exercise it is. Styled by Zagato, this fastback 500 looks ready to take on the Mini Cooper Coupe, if it were ever given a chance. Fiat might want to up the power if the 500 Coupe were to go into production though, as the Zagato Concept is powered by a mere two-cylinder turbo. Still, it’s a stylish little car that has the looks to compete.


Fisker Surf Concept at Frankfurt 2011: It’s no secret that we are big fans of the whole shooting brake idea. So when a stunningly good looking vehicle like the Fisker Karma comes along and slips into something a bit more “usable,” we get pretty excited. Frankly, the Fisker Surf’s looks alone are enough to warrant an entry on this list. The fact that it features the same plug-in hybrid drivetrain of the Karma is just a big, Greenformance bonus.


Subaru BRZ STI Concept at LA 2011: We are geeked to drive the Subaru BRZ/Scion FR-S, and that’s only the one with a naturally aspirated, 200-horsepower engine. When and if a production version of this STI BRZ arrives, we reckon our heads might just explode. It should still pack the same rear-wheel drive setup, along with a manual transmission, and we’re guessing some sort of forced induction. It should also have gold wheels, too.


Volkswagen Beetle R Concept at Frankfurt 2011: Volkswagen gave a very strong hint that its Beetle would get the same R treatment as the forthcoming Golf R and a Euro-exclusive Scirocco R. That means lots more power from the 2.0-liter, turbocharged engine as well as brake and suspension upgrades, and racier aesthetic treatments. Odds are we’ll see this one soon, which isn’t a bad thing.


Kia GT Concept at Frankfurt 2011: Rear-wheel drive and a blown V-6 engine aren’t exactly normal for a Kia. Then again, this sexy, four-door coupe isn’t your average Korean sedan. Packing around 400 horsepower, the GT is Kia’s first real hint that the other South Korean brand is willing to do a sporty entry. It looks good, the powertrain is laid out the right way, now it just needs a green light. Kia, we approve.


Jaguar C-X16 Concept at Frankfurt 2011: If it makes production, the Jaguar C-X16 will represent the British brand’s competitor to the very awesome Porsche Cayman R, and may even do so under the XKE or E-Type banner. Besides looking like the lovechild of a Jaguar XKR-S and a Maserati GranTurismo, the C-X16 features a supercharged 3.0-liter V-6, good for 376 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque. Oh yeah, it also has an electric motor that produces an extra 92 horsepower, and allows spurts of power via the steering-wheel-mounted boost button (awesome).


Alfa Romeo 4C Concept at Geneva 2011: If, and when, Alfa Romeo returns to the United States, it’s very likely that the production 4C will be one of the first models we see, which is just fine by us. Being an Alfa, it’s a looker from just about every angle, and it can back up those good looks up with a low curb weight (around 1900 pounds), and a 200-horsepower turbocharged four-pot. Alfa, come over whenever.

Bentley GMC Porsche Fiat Fisker Subaru Volkswagen Kia Jaguar Alfa

There are few things that get us going like a major international auto show. The sheer level of excitement that comes with new production models is trumped only by the concept cars that preview advanced technologies, new design directions, or near-future models. There have been more than a few concepts over the past 12 months that have struck our fancy, and we’ve gathered together ten of our favorites. Also, keep an eye out for the next issue of Winding Road, where we’ll be breaking down our outright favorite autos of the year.