A series of new concept cars have pulled up in 2011, and as we hope that they come in to production sooner rather than later, read on to find the best concept cars we can't wait to drive
From the moment Mr Ford started building for the masses, technology has played a vital role in the automotive industry. Most commonly associated with safety features, car tech has also made driving a more pleasant experience.
From the carphone of the 80's to something as simple as windscreen wipers, technology has been making sure we have to do less, and with less effort. This may sound like technology is taking away the joy from driving, we think not, and to prove it we've got some of the most desirable and tech-filled concept cars being shown off at the moment.
See below for T3's pick of the concept cars we want to drive now
Alfa Romeo 4C
Love child of the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione and 8C Spider sports models, this rear-wheel drive concept is the sportiest nipper since that British 12-year-old who does diving. The four-cylinder, 1,750cc turbo petrol engine is capable of, according to Alfa Romeo, “over 200bhp”. Given that the 4C’s carbon-fibre shell only weighs 850kg, it should accelerate like a bullet. Also keeping velocity upscale is the direct injection, dual continuous variable valve timing turbocharger, with a scavenging control system to kill turbo lag.
T3 PREDICTION: £38,000
Launch date: 2012
Link: Alfa Romeo
How many clowns can you fit in a Mini? How about feminists? It’s a trick question: if you’re in the Mini Rocketman, it depends on how you choose to fold it. The Rocketman’s seats are fully adjustable, so you can drive it as a spacious two-seater, or a slightly less spacious three- or even four-seater. The doors are double hinged, sliding forwards instead of out – handy in tight parking spaces – and the boot opens like a drawer for more storage space. You can also remove a section of the control unit and use it to plan your MP3 playlist before you get in the car.
T3 PREDICTION: £40,000
Launch date: 2015
Mercedes Benz Concept A Class
Unlike certain future concepts we could mention – long-standing readers may recall the T3 01 Phone, for instance – the Mercedes-Benz Concept A-Class is not just a flight of fancy. From the menacing look to the smartphone controls, it’s a tech-head’s dream car. There’s a berth for your precious smartphone, letting you operate it using the car’s controls. The looks are low and menacing, like the front row of a scrum, while the rear has a more traditional coupé look.
The car’s shape was inspired by the wind and the waves, the designers say. Climb inside, however, and it’s clear that aviation engineering provided an even bigger inspiration. Dashboard air vents mimic the shape of a jet engine, the central control unit resembles a modern flight panel, while the gearstick takes the form of a thrust control – instead of pushing it forward to take off, you pull it back before you mirror, signal and manoeuvre.
T3 PREDICTION: £55,000
Launch date: 2013
Link: Mercedes Benz
The IQon in-car entertainment system in this Saab concept uses Google Android, so you can download and use apps, surf the web and check your emails on its eight-inch touchscreen – it connects as soon as you start the engine. Other nifty tech extras include a heads-up display and tiny cameras on slim stalks that provide your rear view – no outdated mirrors here, thank you very much. The incredibly aerodynamic-looking, liquid-metal teardrop shape is topped off with a glass roof inspired by the canopy of a jet, while the DeLorean-style gullwing doors add another note of totally over-engineered, 80s retro chic.
T3 PREDICTION: £47,000
Launch date: 2012
This six seater concept – three in front, three in back – won’t win any beauty competitions, but it will save you money, running on a lithium-ion battery for up to 186 miles on a single charge. Bored of standard ways of operating a car? The Bulli has a button to turn the engine on or off and instead of a gear lever, you shift with a rotary switch to the right of the steering wheel. It’s like a dimmer switch for your car. Finally, the satnav and in-car music can be controlled using a centrally mounted iPad, which the Bulli will charge when not in use. Ugly but functional, then.
T3 PREDICTION: £34,000
Launch date: 2014