What a concept!

Posted on 04 Nov 2016 at 6:15am

Meet the future of style and performance

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Acura proves its sex appeal with a sleek, cherry-red roadster that oozes next-generation style.

Concept cars — which can cost well over a million dollars, if even available — have far more importance than just adding auto show flash as turntable eye candy. These expensive forecasters of the future serve the important purposes of communicating brand direction, showcasing advanced technology, and preparing drivers for upcoming models. Sure, they sometimes have fanciful features like gullwing doors, glass dashboards, and ultra-expensive interior materials, but these concepts aren’t a mere drag show; they’ll directly influence autos you’ll see on the road in the next few years. All are pretty cool!

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Lincoln’s gullwing SUV reclaims the ‘family car’ with Range Rover bravado.

Lincoln Navigator Concept. Inspired by yachts, and maybe the Mercedes Gullwing, Navigator Concept mashes Range Rover with Continental. The cabin features middle row loungers, Revel audio, light blue leather, teak trim and a built-in wardrobe. Head restraint monitors with Wi-Fi allow music sharing. The 400 horsepower 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 gets it moving. Forget about the gullwings and retracting stairs.

Subaru XV Concept. Subaru is preparing to move Impreza production to Indiana from Japan later this year. And, here’s a preview of the 2018 Impreza-based Crosstrek that’s proven incredibly popular for its affordable price and rugged off-road “mini-Outback” looks. Expect more of the same, but refined with chiseled bodylines, smoother flanks and simplified infotainment systems.

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Attention, ladies! Subaru’s idea for the 2018 Crosstrek refines the Impreza base with mini-Outback styling.

Acura Precision Concept. Created at Acura’s design studio in California, the Precision Concept defines the automaker’s next generation of style. Attributes include a wide stance, long hood, faceted surfaces, LED headlamps and diamond trapezoid grille. Interiors feature a floating control pod, independent flat screen instrument cluster and head-up display screen. Design cues began rolling out on the current MDX crossover.

Buick Avista Concept. On opening night of the Detroit auto show, Buick rolled out the Avista Concept — an elegant Camaro-sized coupe with fluid bodylines, boat tail roofline, 20-in. wheels, and the brand’s new chrome winged grille. Curved swipe-screen controls extend to the console. Providing pace to grace is a 400 horsepower twin-turbo V6. Look for the Avista’s essence in the 2017 LaCrosse sedan and Envision crossover.

Lexus UX Concept. Unveiled at the recent Paris Motor Show, this compact crossover entices young buyers upgrading and luxury buyers urban-sizing. A coupe driving position, frame-and-strand seats, visible inner skeleton and see-through A-pillars set the stage for camera “e-mirrors,” holographic gauges and electro-chromatic windows. Expect a tamed down version in Lexus’ near future.

VW I.D. Electric Concept. VW sees this car as the next step in a history that includes the original Porsche-engineered Beetle and Giugiaro-designed Golf. I.D. will become the first VW built off of its Modular Electric Drive architecture circa 2020. Range will supposedly reach 373 miles via a 168-horsepower electric motor and batteries. A spacious high-tech interior greets passengers. Automated driving is a given.

Mercedes-Benz Generation EQ. This is the future of Mercedes-Benz. EQ is a futuristic crossover, but sets the stage for a generation of electric cars that connect via apps and Wi-Fi, offer autonomous driving and parking, can participate in shared ride services and replenish batteries via wireless charging. A glass cockpit brings infotainment to passengers. Driving range tops 300 miles. By 2025, Mercedes expects to offer ten all-electric vehicles.

Cadillac Escala. On the eve of the 2016 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, Cadillac rolled out its vision of the future — a range-topping 4-door that foretells its future. Escala takes Cadillac’s “Art & Science” design cues — finlike taillamps and hard creases — in a softer direction with flowing fenders, fastback roofline and OLED headlamps. Drivers face thin curved OLED screens for instruments and infotainment controls. Voice and gesture controls add convenience while tailored leather, gray cloth and wood exude luxury. A twin-turbo V8 moves out. Expect a proper flagship sedan, based on Escala, by 2020.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 4, 2016.

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