LA Auto Show 2009: Concept Cars


By Evan Ackerman

You can have your exotic cars, and you can have your eco-friendly cars, but no, you can’t have concept cars. Not yours. These flights of imagination are never for sale, are rarely street legal, and often don’t work at all. But damn are they cool looking, and their very unobtainability and uniqueness make them that much more interesting.

OhGizmo was at the LA Auto Show yesterday, and we’ve got a bunch of pictures of concept cars for you from the likes of Honda, Audi, and BMW. Check out the non-gallery plus links to high res versions of the pics, after the jump.

Audi e-tron Concept


This concept from Audi, based on the sexy R8, is a pure electric sports car with four (four!) electric drive motors, one at each wheel. That works out to 313 hp and 3,319 (that’s not a typo) lb-ft of torque. What does that much torque get you? The ability to accelerate from 40 to 75 mph in about 4 seconds, not to mention being able to control the torque at each wheel individually, which Audi says “allows for dazzling dynamics and an undreamed-of level of agility and precision when cornering.” The batteries are water-cooled and actually help heat the interior of the car while offering a useful range of about 150 miles. And best idea ever: it charges wirelessly through the magic of induction.





Subaru Hybrid Tourer Concept


The gigantic gullwing side doors are obviously the coolest feature of the Subaru Hybrid Tourer, so it stands to reason that Subaru has stated that the doors are the one thing that will definitely NOT show up in any of their production cars. Oh well. Otherwise, um, it’s sort of a hybrid and has red tinted windows that Subaru says reduce eyestrain but will probably just fill you with rage.


Cadillac Converj Concept


The Converj is an extended range electric vehicle, meaning that it runs on batteries until it’s out of battery power, and then it kicks in a gas motor to recharge itself. The inside makes “broad use” of renewable materials, there are OLED displays, and cameras instead of side mirrors (like on pretty much every other concept car in existence).


Volkswagen Up! Lite Concept


As a concept, the Volkswagen Up! Lite is the world’s most fuel efficient and sustainable car (or so they say), consuming 70 mpg on the highway and emitting 65 g/km of CO2. It’s a hybrid that uses a 2 cylinder turbo diesel engine, electric motors, and a 7 speed gearbox, and somehow weighs only 695 kilograms. The Up! Lite goes 0-60 in 12 seconds and tops out at 100 mph. You’ll notice in the pics that the radiator grille opens and closes, which lets it cool the engine only when necessary to preserve the aerodynamics of the car. Instead of a gear knob, there is a “manual control ball” which you move back and forth like a computer mouse to shift gears. When the car is parked on a hot day, a vent opens at the back of the roof to let hot air naturally rise up and out.


Lexus LF-Ch Concept


I guess some of these cars offer more in the way of “concept” than others… The Lexus LF-Ch is nice looking, is a hybrid, and has a bunch of LED lights and an integrated iPhone dock. Yay? I do like the color, though.


Scion xB DJ 2.0 Concept


It’s got a roof that folds out into two gigantic speakers (the whole system totals 2000 watts) and a dance floor in the back with integrated disco lights. Plus a DJ mixer. What more do you want, the kitchen sink?

Scion Kogi xD Mobile Kitchen Concept


Well, here you go, it’s the kitchen sink, with a reverse osmosis filter installed on it. Plus there’s a fridge, cutting board, ice chest, and tailgate barbecue grill. There are cooking utensils in the left tail light and condiments in the right, and even a couple LCDs so that you can watch the Food Network.

Volvo S60 Concept


Not bad for a Swedish (okay, no longer Swedish) turbo brick, right? The rear passenger doors on the Volvo S60 concept open by sliding backwards like a minivan door and then opening outwards. Like most of these four door concepts, there’s no central door pillar. The front headlights are styled to represent two Viking longboats sailing side by side. The center console is handmade Orrefors crystal (seriously, they have pics of the process), whatever that is.


Lincoln C Concept


The Lincoln C is supposed to be a car that’s small on the outside (smaller than your average Lincoln, anyway) but big on the inside, and it even kinda works, due to its impressive width and apparent lack of trunk space. It’s also got an all glass roof, which helps. The distinctive seats are “crafted from luxurious, chromium-free leather and filled with soy foam.” Yay, edible seats! The steering wheel is hubless, which is kinda neat, and there’s also a roof-mounted webcam for some reason.



Honda P-NUT Concept


Honda’s “P-NUT” stands for “Personal Neo Urban Transport.” The car only seats three, but thanks to the center driving position everybody gets a huge amount of leg room. The powertrain is designed to be modular, running from a small gas engine to a pure electric powerplant. There’s a heads-up display for the driver, but not too many other details… Honda spends most of their press release talking about how stylish the P-NUT is, instead of what they should be discussing, which is why on earth they decided that P-NUT was a good acronym for a concept car.





BMW Vision EfficientDynamics Concept


The BMW Vision EfficientDynamics concept is a plug-in hybrid that uses electric motors and a three cylinder turbo diesel to go from 0-60 in 4.8 seconds with a 155 mph top speed, all while getting over 60 mpg. The rear lights act as wings to help maintain smooth airflow around the car, and the front grille opens only when necessary to cool the engine, further reducing drag. There’s a 3 dimensional heads-up display above the instrument panel, and the car is smart enough to adjust its energy consumption based on your location and what it knows about your driving habits. And just look at this thing, it’s absolutely spectacular in that overblown way that makes concept cars so awesome:







I’ll be putting together galleries of exotic cars and innovative eco-friendly cars from the show over the next day or two, but in the meantime, here are some tidbits to tide you over…

Best Booth Experience:


Kia, who was serving peach cobbler with ice cream for lunch. Did I mention that Kia makes the best cars ever? I LOVE KIA!

Extra peach cobbler picture for franco1975 :


Worst Swag:


Mazda Concentrated Zoom-Zoom Energy Drink. For real.

Weirdest Car Costume:


Mini on a leash.

The LA Auto Show is open to the public from December 4th to the 13th.

[ LA Auto Show ]

16 thoughts on “LA Auto Show 2009: Concept Cars”

  1. Every time I think car designs can't get any worse, they make them even uglier. I have come to expect it from Europe and Japan, but now even the American concept cars are trying to look like badly drawn toddler scribbles.

  2. OOOO I'll take the Volkswagen Up! Lite Concept. Just one, that color would do, or if you have anything a bit darker, that would be nice. Thank you.

    God I love VW. They are my favorite car maker. Oh and I love the Mini on a leash. Those things are wild…lol

  3. I want concentrated Zoom-Zoom, is it for humans? I hope so, because it would be lame if it was just fuel injector cleaner for your car.

    The Lexus looks like a civic hatchback, don't they know that car already exists? The Honda would be a pain to drive with the massive vision obstruction those v pillars are going to create. The BMW, now there is a concept car, but I just know they would charge you a million dollars to replace the bodywork if you ever got in an accident.

  4. More pics of the peach cobbler please. Heck post more pics you took at the LA Food Show 2009 which rather inconveniently had cars parked all over the place.

  5. Ask and ye shall receive. Sadly, the peach cobbler was pretty much the only food I got all day, since I avoided the press conferences. I got some cheese crumbs from Porsche and some champagne at the end from Rolls Royce, but otherwise I was too busy taking pictures for you (YOU!) to stop to eat.

  6. Somewhere I remember reading the key to what a company calls it's newest car and the likely hood of it making it to a showroom floor.

    As with most of these, they will never make it to production, but styling elements in them will. Usually the grills are the first to show up in the next year's top of the line model.

    It is rather comical to see LED headlights in a Honda, even a concept, when they are only an option on 2 cars (well one, one next year), and they are about an 8 grand option.

  7. Its a shame that these cars are never going to be bought or seen on the roads. Maybe in time they will be and i hope i am there to see these amazing examples of peoples wild imagination.

  8. Its a shame that these cars are never going to be bought or seen on the roads. Maybe in time they will be and i hope i am there to see these amazing examples of peoples wild imagination.

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