Digital Trends best concept cars of 2011


There is no denying that automobiles and cutting-edge technology have formed a successful partnership that even most Hollywood couples would envy. While some may take umbrage with the host of concept cars shown off by automakers and designers that never make it to production, apart from teasing us with stunning feats of engineering we will most likely never get to drive, these showpieces often serve the larger purpose of allowing car companies to experiment with new technologies and innovative designs, and more often than not implement these designs and technologies  in actual production cars down the road. Here we have compiled a list of our favorite concept cars of 2011. We know car enthusiasts are a passionate bunch, so tell us what you think and let us know if we missed any of your favorites.

Toyota-Fun-Vii-Toyota Fun-Vii

The Toyota Fun-Vii concept is a prime example of how quirky concept cars can be. By far the most innovative aspect of the Fun-Vii allows drivers to change the exterior of the car, displaying pictures, personalized text, as well as various other colors and backgrounds – the possibilities are near limitless. Other cars on this list might look flashier or sport an edgier design, but the Fun-Vii warrants its place because of how truly unique it is.

Honda-AC-X-Honda AC-X Concept

One look at the Honda AC-X, which stands for Advanced Cruiser eXperience, and you would be safe in assuming that such a car could quite plausibly exist in the real world. While we’re not taking away from its design aspects, which we feel are edgy and exhibit a zest that has been lacking in many Honda cars, both concept and production, it’s not until you examine the technology hidden within the car that you truly get a sense of why the AC-X is a true concept. The AC-X features technology that most likely won’t make it to production any time soon. Namely, the “Automatic Drive Mode Support” which would make autonomously driven cars seen in science fiction films such as iRobot and Minority Report a reality.

Ferrari-Millenio-ConceptFerrari Millenio Concept

You can’t help but look at the Ferrari Millenio and think of the future. The aptly named Millenio not only looks the part, with its sharp angular design and smooth long running curves adorning its body, but also incorporates solar panels atop its frame — harnessing the power of the sun and fueling the dual electric engines underneath. The Ferrari Millenio doesn’t really share too much in common with the production Ferrari’s you see zipping around the Hollywood Hills, but then again that’s the point.

Citroen-CCrabCitroen CCrab 

It’s no secret that most people detest traffic, whether it’s on the highway, main roads, or in the city. It’s never fun getting stuck in what seems to be an endless cycle of gas, break, and repeat. The Citroen CCrab concept looks to take inspiration from the animal kingdom’s small Cuba Crab and crawl around that ugly reality, quite literally. The idea behind the CCrab was to create a vehicle that could move and operate omni-directionally in and around the city, weaving effortlessly through traffic and in and out of tight spaces. Whether such a feat could actually be pulled off is yet to be determined, but it would appear having a CCrab wouldn’t be so bad if you were in a traffic jam pinch.

Nissan-Pivo-3-Nissan Pivo 3 Concept EV

There was a time not so long ago when designing an all-electric vehicle (EV) would firmly cement a car’s place as a concept and cause people to question whether it could be done on a one off – let alone mass produced for consumers. Well, that era is rapidly passing and while cars like the Nissan Pivo 3 are starting to become more commonplace, it isn’t the electrical motor powering the diminutive EV that helps the Pivo 3 stand out, but rather its sleek design, and perhaps more notably, the Pivo 3’s driverless features such as its “Automated Valet Parking” system and the ability for the Pivo 3 to come to you via smarphone controls

Ferrari-CeleritasFerrari Celeritas 

The only brand to make it on our list twice, the galloping stallion from Italy has always been at the forefront of automotive design and innovation. And while many amazing concepts and ideas originate out of Maranello, this particular Ferrari does not. The two-seater Ferrari Celeritas comes to by way of designer Aldo Schurmann and features independent twin spoilers, a visible engine block in the rear, and punchy design that is decidedly very un-Ferrari like, while at the same time retaining some familiar aspects of the famous Italian automaker.

BMW-328-HommageBMW 328 Hommage

You don’t always need to look to the future or incorporate some non-existent or unrefined technology when designing a stunning concept car. Sometimes simply looking to the past and devising an elegant design that both honors the history and acknowledges the future is enough. Case in point: the BMW 328 Hommage. The Hommage is a re-envisioning of the famous BMW 328 roadster from the 1930’s. In fact, the Hommage is as minimalist as concept cars go, weighing in at just 1,719 lbs, with its sparse instrument panel, interior, and deep recesses where doors would normally feature.

Mercedes-F125Mercedes –Benz F125

Trying to develop a car that is totally emission-free is no easy task, but that is what Mercedes-Benz is aiming for in the luxury segment of the future with its F125 concept. The Mercedes F125 intends to incorporate a hybrid electric/hydrogen engine, which would achieve distances of up to 1000 kilometers without having to recharge, and offer semi-autonomous driving. The luxury concept would also feature an equally impressive array of technologies within its interior such as gesture controls, a 3D projection-beam for displaying navigation information –replacing more traditional instrument displays, and stunning gullwing doors that allow access to both front and rear passenger seats.

Audi-Urban-ConceptAudi Urban Concept

Zipping around the city easily, effectively, and with a little style will probably be just as important to drivers of the future as it is now — and  it appears that Audi thinks so too. The German automakers concept creation isn’t all flair without function, though. While it won’t be winning speed contests any time soon, it certainly looks the part. As its name suggest, the Audi Urban Concept is most comfortable in the city where its inductively charged 7.1kWh battery, nimble two-seater design, and limited body weight of just a little over 1,000 lbs will make traveling through the city a breeze – and fun too.

Ford-Evos-ConceptFord Evos Concept

While there are a lot of buzzwords flying about within the auto industry right now — it would appear that ‘connectivity’ is one of the big ones that auto makers are looking to incorporate more readily than others. The Ford Evos is a cloud-connected, music streaming control center on wheels. In addition to the previously mentioned features, the plug-in hybrid concept would be able to communicate with mobile devices, offer unprecedented internet connectivity – and even turn off the lights in your home. Of all the concepts on this list, the Ford Evos Concept is the most likely to make it into actual production. Those sleek gullwing doors it’s sporting don’t hurt either.

Project-Flake-ConceptProject Flake Concept

Of the many concepts cars comprising our list, the Project Flake concept is perhaps the most unique, forward thinking — and conceivably least likely to ever make the leap from concept to realty. What truly makes the Flake exceptional is its use of over 250 active body panels, electro-hydraulic flaps and adaptive winglets. These panels can dramatically change the shape and performance of the vehicle. For example, when the car is being driven on a smooth flat surface the small carbon nano-tubes pull the panels downward to create a streamlined shape and less drag. Alternatively, if the Flake were to venture off road – the numerous panels would hinge upward to increase drag and offer better performance in less forgiving terrain.


Audi’s traffic light information system shows the challenges facing V2X tech

Audi’s traffic light information system is among the first commercial applications of potentially game-changing V2X tech. So how does it work in the real world? We spent a few days getting stuck at red lights to find out.
Product Review

The Ferrari Portofino is the super stallion you’ll want to drive every day

With the introduction of the Portofino, Ferrari addresses the California T’s stylistic shortcomings while improving comfort, convenience, and performance. There’s little “entry-level” about this super stallion.

Fiat wants to transform the cheeky 500 city car into an urban Tesla

Fiat is finally preparing a new 500. Scheduled to make its debut in early 2020, the retro-chic city car will go electric in part to comply with looming emissions regulations.
Emerging Tech

Robot assistants from Toyota and Panasonic gear up for the Tokyo Olympics

Japan plans to use the 2020 Olympics to showcase a range of its advanced technologies. Toyota and Panasonic are already getting in on the act, recently unveiling several robotic designs that they intend to deploy at the event.

This modified Land Rover Discovery is heading to Africa to help fight malaria

A Land Rover Discovery will be used by the Mobile Malaria Project for a 3,900-mile trek across Africa to study malaria. The SUV is equipped with a mobile gene-sequencing laboratory, as well as everything necessary for serious off-roading.

Volvo wants to use speed limiters, in-car cameras, and data to reduce crashes

Volvo believes new tech is the best way to improve car safety. The Swedish automaker will let owners set speed limits when loaning out their cars, install cameras to monitor drivers, and use data to design better safety features.
Product Review

2019 Volkswagen Jetta offers German refinement and tech at an affordable price

With enough tech to make villains jealous, the Volkswagen Jetta punches above its class as a forward-thinking sedan. Spacious, comfortable, and efficient, the Jetta is a refined offering. German refinement comes with a serious attitude.

BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe teased way ahead of its November debut

The BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe is coming to the United States, eventually. The new compact BMW won't be unveiled until the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show in November. The Gran Coupe will be based on a front-wheel drive platform.

Tesla lets you skip the dealership, order a car from the comfort of your couch

Tesla has always bypassed traditional dealerships, and it has now adopted an online-only sales model that lets customers configure and order their car without leaving their couch. Here's what you need to know.

Autonomous shuttle rides coming to New York City via Optimus Ride

Workers at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in NY City will soon be able to make their way around the 300-acre industrial park in Optimus Ride's self-driving shuttles. The tech startup says it's the first trial of its kind in the state.

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi group uses Microsoft cloud platform for connected cars

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance is launching a new cloud platform for its cars. Based on Microsoft Azure, the Alliance Intelligent Cloud will enable features like connected services and over-the-air updates.

The 2019 Toyota C-HR gains a popular tech feature as its price comes down

Toyota has updated the C-HR, its entry-level crossover, by adding an entry-level trim level to the lineup. Every model regardless of price also comes standard with an 8.0-inch touchscreen compatible with Apple CarPlay.

The 2020 Porsche Cayenne Coupe is an exercise in form-over-function design

Porsche expanded its lineup of SUVs with a swoopier evolution of the Cayenne named Cayenne Coupe. Don't let the name fool you: it still has four doors. It stands out with a fastback-like roofline that's lower than the Cayenne's.
Product Review

Chris is the virtual co-pilot phone-obsessives need in their car

Driving while using your phone is dangerous, and often illegal. Meet Chris, the digital assistant for your car that wants to help keep your hands off your phone, and your eyes on the road.