It’s safe to say that luxury isn’t just about slick interiors and a stalwart V6 packed in a 4-door, all-black sedan anymore. Today’s quintessential elements of luxury car-making aim for more – to not only build a lush cruiser, but also stepping stones for future luxury mobility. However, in this pursuit of comfort and innovation, only a few eventually make the cut. For reasons unknown, luxury carmakers often hold back certain beauties from making it to production. With a dozen showroom builds and flaunting some serious finesse, here are our picks of the 10 luxury concept cars we wish made it to production.
Mercedes-Benz EQ Silver Arrow
Mercedes is no slouch when it comes to consistently rolling out conceptual 4-wheeled marvels. 2018’s ‘Silver Arrow’ is Mercedes actually paying respect to the classic W125, a Grand Prix race car from 1937. Flaunting a streamlined jetliner-inspired body with deep curves and a liquid silver paint, the single-seater drives in 3 modes: Comfort, Sport, and Sport+, which can accelerate 750 HP to a brisk 250 mph. The cockpit flaunts an all-leather interior and a single seat. Ground Clearance doesn’t say much since it’s originally a sports car turned luxury concept model.
The car was unveiled at the 2010 Paris Motor Show and made an on-screen debut in James Bond’s ‘Spectre’. Inside, the X75 lights up strictly with strip LEDs and has bespoke materials that include cream and grey leathers, polished and vapour-blasted aluminum and a soft-feel textured neoprene. With a raunchy 780 HP engine that could stretch a London to Berlin drive on a single tank, Jaguar certainly disappointed a lot of customers when they called off its production due to the global economic crisis. Five prototype builds later, the model classified as an F1 car.
Built with the vision to be Veyron’s successor, this 2010 Bugatti build was the perfect blend of power and sedan aesthetics. It kept the engine of the Veyron, a thunderous V16 which could easily give it a racecar sticker, but stuck to the streets instead of the track. Bugatti almost seemed like they had a last-minute switch with this one and instead opted for the Chiron to take over the Bugatti throne. The cockpit certainly maintained the Bugatti class of luxury, so one can comfortably cruise through the streets with a 1000 HP waiting at the push of a pedal. The bucket seats have been painstakingly sculpted with aluminum headrests, with windows built large and neat. Keeping a very clutter-free look, there are minimal gauges and buttons. Bugatti currently have a tentative 2020 launch marked on their calendar for a remodeled version, so hold tight.
Over 20 years ago, Chrysler showcased the Atlantic Concept at the Detroit Auto Show. It came from the same design era as the Plymouth Prowler, which explains the Art Deco 1930s looks. It had a 4.0-litre, straight-eight engine, fashioned from two Neon engines mounted together. And what business did Chrysler have trying to build this expensive and exotic car? None at all, which is why it never happened. Looks absolutely gorgeous, though.
Mercedes-Maybach Vision 6 Cabriolet
Launched in early 2016 with sheer Maybach class, the Cabriolet looks like it’s straight out of a billionaire’s garage. The navy colour and super sleek 2-seater makes it look like a beauty blended with futuristic design. Featuring a lavish, quilted, crystal-white nappa leather finish that seems to take inspiration from Chesterfield furniture, the hide is put into folds in a diamond pattern and secured to the frame with buttons. Think of it like a million-dollar yacht on wheels with a much heftier price tag.
The RX club came to a halt back in 2012 and so did the era of the rotary engine. It may have been a bit of a misfit engine, but it was also Mazda’s calling card since the 1960s. It eventually saw the light of day: The design of this concept looks more like a grand tourer than a pure sports car, but there are some definite RX-7 and RX-8 cues in it. The design is flowing and quite excellent, much like a Jaguar F-Type or an AMG GT S that was breathed on by anime.
Infiniti Prototype 10
This car may not appear to be the most practical but it’s the most elegant and futuristic we’ve seen in a while. Making its debut at the Monterey Car Week in 2017, this Infiniti Prototype 10 is an electric speedster that prioritises indulgence. The single-seater hypercar takes inspiration from the 1940 F1 race models but is way sharper. The interiors are sparse, with the design leaning more towards the track than road. Reports suggest that this beast will take another crack at being road-legal in 2021.
Launched in 2005, Maserati redesigned their Tipo 63 into a futuristic doorless sedan and called it the Birdcage. What sets this one apart is that it doesn’t have any doors – just an upward hatch that makes it resemble a submarine. Climbing in and out of this one would’ve been fun, but the world sees this model as being far from reality.
Pininfarina HK GT
The HK GT is Pininfarina’s idea of a sustainable GT car. Built in collaboration with Hybrid Kinetic Group, a tech brand based in Hong Kong, it is a battery-powered car. It’s coolest feature isn’t tech, though – it is its gullwing doors. Stepping in, the prototype comes with an elegant monochrome palette for its leather seats and dashboard. In classic Coupe fashion, its 2+2 seats are surprisingly comfortable, with display panels for each of them.
BMW Vision ConnectedDrive Concept
With this one, BMW claimed to have designed the most intelligent automobile to ever take to the streets. The most technologically advanced sedan on this list, the 2011 BMW Vision ConnectedDrive Concept strives to create a bond between the driver and car. With car-to-car interactive capabilities, road information, understanding capabilities and an AI that could work as well as Tony Stark’s Jarvis, BMW ticked all the right boxes for a futuristic model.
All images: Courtesy brands; Chrysler Atlantic: Courtesy Shutterstock.