Why do car manufacturers make concept cars? To taunt, mock, jeer at, or hoot at the miserable plebs (aka ‘us’) as they unveil the unattainable?
The official line is that concept cars are one-offs designed to gauge our reaction to new and radical styling and build, which may or may not have a chance of being rolled out en masse. I say they’re big teases a la Loch Ness and Area 51. Tsk!
That said concept cars are pure eye candy and we thought we’d spotlight the latest and greatest that sashayed by the Swiss Alps this week at the prestigious Geneva 2010 Motor Show.
From the land of mussels in wine (oh wait, that’s Belgium), ratatouille, crusty bread, cheeeeeeese and a loathing for all things English comes a pretty car. Did I say pretty plastic car? Oh Peugeot, when will you ever get the interior design of your vehicles sorted out? I grew up on these French beasts of burden and I still shudder at the memories of picking up fallen door handles from a peeling synthetic floor, gluing up the wilting fake leather panels and manually opening the windows (I mean get out of the car, grab window edge and tug up or down to suit). Oui, Oui, c’est malade. However the new Peugeot SR1 Concept could be more than just a Barbie Bus, with power to the rear wheels generated by a 1.6-liter turbodiesel and an electric motor. 313 horsepower and a remarkable (and alleged) 57 mpg European efficiency rating? The car sounds like the perfect combination of madness and conscientiousness. So French. Despite the tight proportions, this car seats three (the back seat is almost as cool as the front) and a fully removable plastic (oh, oh) roof. Even Pepe Le Piew may just score a girl in this machine d’amour!
WARNING: more hybrid fusion synthesis dead ahead! Ferrari, the horsepower kings, who thought nothing of burning up copious oil fields in Nigeria to power just one of their machines a few years back, are now suffering a major guilt trip. Their anxiety laden jaunt to the psychiatrist’s couch (or local confession booth) has birthed the new immaculate Hy-KERS Hybrid Concept which uses know-how more close to what you’d find in a university project electric car puttering by a leafy forest. It’s not all bad news … despite the “Hybrid” badge, the Ferrari has managed to hold onto its V-12 powerplant. The electric motor, which, like all big half-hybrids these days, is sandwiched between the engine and transmission, adds 107 horsepower to the party. That’s a serious punch in the arm, to be sure, and while it will most certainly help the car turn heads at the SLS Hotel parking lot/popular hang-out, it also does plenty to curb that thirsty V-12’s appetite for fossil fuel. Still think a hybrid Ferrari is blasphemy?
Lambo’s 2010 Gallardo LP 570-4 Superleggera. It’s superfantafristiclicious! It’s a wild beast that will not be tamed especially when its heart is a pumpin’ new direct-injection 5.2-liter V10 with 570 horsepower. It’s light, powerful and very green. Did I mention that 2010 is the year car manufacturers are trying on the environmental suit and coming off a little ill fitted? So in an effort to throw off radical environmentalists Lambo’s not so genius paint crew gave the poor Superlegerra a frightening bottle green coat. Eugh!
( retain this empty space for a sardonistic lift of the brow )
This concept car for posers (eeek, c’est vrai!) sports a 500-horsepower V-8 engine packed into a lightweight shell along with two electric motors — good for 109 hp each, for a grand total of 718 hp. Apparently the 918 Spyder Concept will reach 60 mph in 3.2 seconds, which IS fast, for a lime/lemon/poser. “Here’s hoping this sucker makes it past the concept stage.”
Citroen unveiled its brand new Survolt Concept, a sporty streamlined design car that’s apparently environmentally conscious. Sheesh, the vehicle is sentient! Its all-electric drivetrain is capable of burning rubber, and giving you that special vroooom tingle down the spine – all in virtual silence. (Isn’t the point of a throbbing, growling engine half the fun? Ah well! I guess the neighbours & council won’t hit you with noise ordinance notices when you pull into your garage.) The design is amazing might I add, a hot curvy bonnet and full rounded sides flanks highlighted by sexy wheel arches as well as a front end that has slitted curled headlights that frame the ovular grille with Citroën’s integrated double chevrons and vehicle badge. Wait … sounds like a woman I used to know …