An overwhelming amount of cars grace the L.A. Auto Show each year. Most of them are already on their way to dealerships, some are debuting for the first time, and a good chunk of them – often the most evocative and engaging – never even make it that far. Now that the 2012 L.A. Auto Show is officially winding down, we wanted to take a moment and salute the top 10 concept vehicles that had our eyes pulsating, our hearts pounding, and our mouths drooling. They might not all make it to the road, but they’ll certainly be in our dreams.
The BMW i8 concept made its first appearance at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show and three years later it’s still one of the sleekest, sexiest cars we scoped at the 2012 L.A. Auto Show. Admittedly we’re someone cheating because the i8 is going into production late 2013 for an official production debut in 2014, but it’s on our list. Deal with it.
Honda, Honda, Honda, we simply don’t know what to do with you. Nearly untouchable at one point in the 1990s, the Japanese automakers continues to sell cars like no other, but its recent designs have been anything but exciting and interesting, which is exactly why the EV-STER concept gives us so much hope that this disappointing trend will change. More than that though, its appearance in L.A. hints at a possible production release in the U.S., and that would be simply amazing.
Lexus clearly brought its A-game to the 2012 L.A. Auto show. In addition to showing off a stunning Nurburgring limited edition version of its retina-blasting LFA supercar, Lexus also graced us with a super stylish future concept design study: otherwise known as the LF-CC. Everything from its uniquely tri-LED headlamps to its windswept profile, to its three-dimensional, layered rear-tail lamps , is simply stunning to behold. If this is the future of Lexus, put us down for two.
Powered by recycled water that is converted into hydrogen and oxygen by an onboard “hydro-tech converter,” featuring a roof-mounted “Terra-Scan” unit capable of mapping topography (which in turn automatically adjust suspension settings), and able to travel almost 500 miles, Mercedes-Benz Ener-G –Force Concept reads like a car of the future – and it is. But it also exists in the present (sans all crazy tech we just listed off), and was spinning triumphantly on display in L.A. this week. We only have one thought after seeing this sophisticated, yet bad-ass behemoth: The future can’t get here fast enough.
While we love all the cars on this list, most carry with them three major problems: They’ll never end up see the light of day, they’ll see the light of day but end up being stripped of everything that made them unique and eye-catching in the first place, or will be priced well beyond what our modest piggy banks can afford. That’s exactly why we are so excited by Chevy’s Tru 140S concept. Not only does it exude sportiness and style, but if it makes it to production, Chevy has said it could enter in as low as $20,000.
Don’t think of the Fun-Vii as a car, but more an opportunity to show off your creative side. That’s because the Fun-Vii is essentially a mobile desktop background on wheels. Drivers can customize the exterior by displaying pictures, personalized text, and even switch the color altogether; the possibilities are near endless. While other cars at the L.A. Auto show are much snazzier, the Fun-Vii gets our nod simply for being unapologetically Japanese and awesomely quirky. After all, why should we be limited to just one paint job for the entire life of our cars?
Robert Downey, Jr. may have gotten to drive a modified version of the NSX in the recent Avenger’s flick, but we got to see it splayed out in all its glory at the 2012 L.A. Auto Show. Okay, so Mr. Downey, Jr. has us beat, but that didn’t stop us from falling in love with Acura’s futuristic supercar. Acura might be on our naughty list as of late for its current designs, but we can’t complain a lick when it comes to the NSX, we just want the opportunity to do more than just breath on one. Pretty please, Acura?
The BMW i3 Concept Coupe is another member of BMW’s upcoming i sub-brand of vehicles and is the second BMW to grace our top concept picks of this year’s L.A. Auto Show. While the i3 will actually make it to production sometime in late 2013, the Concept Coupe – which you see here – transforms the original five-door hatchback into a sportier two-door coupe (hence the name). The coupe form has yet to be confirmed, however, we wouldn’t be surprised to see it puttering down the autobahn shortly after the five-door version rolls into dealerships.
The way EVs are priced, it’s surprising that outside Tesla’s award winning Model S, there isn’t much to offer in terms of all-electric luxury cars. Infiniti has a plan, though. And much like its parent company did with the Leaf, Infiniti is looking to blaze new ground by being the first mainstream luxury nameplate to deliver an all-electric luxury vehicle to the market. Positioned on a spinning display, we caught glimpse of the LE concept in L.A. and were completely seduced by its flowing lines and glowing grille. A simply beautiful concept that we sincerely hope is granted a chance at life.
Another showroom stunner, the Lexus LF-LC is automotive art personified. Ironically, and not long ago, Lexus received quite a lot of flak for what many in the auto industry considered boring, conservative, and dream-inducing design language. The LF-LC is none of the above. This 2+2 hybrid sports coupe just goes to show that Lexus isn’t just capable of building a sexy car; it can also be uncharacteristically daring, too.