Getting a sneak peek at upcoming consumer vehicles is the main draw of exhibitions like the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show, but it’s also a great place to see what manufacturers envision for the future of the automotive industry.
From mild to wild, a variety of concept cars at this year’s LA Auto Show put into physical form the ideas from the world’s brightest designers and engineers, with many examples focusing on the next generations of mobility, technology, and enhanced driver assistance.
Some of the vehicles represent a high percentage of what the final production version will be, while others are made purely for entertainment. We learned about our favorite concepts while dashing between the different press announcements, and have collected the highlights below.
Keep reading for a list of the best concept cars from the 2018 LA Auto Show.
Audi e-tron GT Concept
This four-door Gran Turismo coupe just may be the darling of this year’s show. Unveiled with the help of actor Robert Downey Jr., the Audi e-tron GT Concept is about 90 percent of what the volume production version will look like.
A flat-floor architecture and 590 horsepower from two electric motors, one for each front and rear axle, means the e-tron GT is going to be quite the beast on the road. Of course, the e-tron GT will also be a true quattro, offering all-wheel drive via an electronically controlled synchronization system — the front and rear axles are not connected mechanically, allowing the car to deliver optimum traction and desired slip.
Using an 800-volt system, the e-tron GT Concept can be charged to 80 percent in around 20 minutes. Wireless charging is also possible when a compatible charging pad is installed in the floor of where the car will be parked.
Look for the Audi e-tron GT to start production in late 2020.
BMW Vision iNEXT
“The iNEXT project will provide our building blocks for the future, from which the entire company and all of its brands are set to benefit,” said Harald Krüger, Chairman of the Board of Management at the BMW Group.
As a case study in how people will be traveling in the future, Vision iNEXT builds upon the concepts that birthed BMW’s i3 and i8 vehicles to electrify more models and better integrate strategies like autonomy, connectivity, and passenger services.
Opposing main doors lead to a cabin that feels a lot like a trendy living space, which was designed to encourage passengers to “engage in a wide range of activities” while the vehicle drives itself. These are all very high level concepts, but the exploration into intelligent vehicles helps make today’s cars more thoughtful and efficient.
BMW plans to bring the iNEXT to market by 2021.
INFINITI Prototype 10
Taking design cues from California’s early speedsters, INFINITI’s Prototype 10 is an electric single-seat concept that showcases the company’s desire to deliver the ultimate in driving pleasure. Although it debuted at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance earlier this year, its presence at the LA Auto Show will allow many more people to enjoy the intricacies of INFINITI’s design.
Prototype 10 has been a global effort — different design stages took place in Japan and the U.K., with the final product being hand-crafted in San Diego, California. It’s a perfect ride to enjoy the consistently good weather and gorgeous ocean views of Los Angeles.
Volkswagen I.D. BUZZ CARGO Concept
Reimagining the essence of the original Volkswagen Transporter — “the most recognizable light commercial vehicle of all time” — the I.D. BUZZ CARGO concept aims to change how the world will address the growing costs and environmental challenges of commercial transportation, namely parcel delivery.
This panel van concept features 340 miles of electric range, full autonomous driving, and a solar roof that can extend the daily range by up to 9.3 miles. For its Los Angeles debut, the I.D. BUZZ CARGO concept was transformed into a race support vehicle for the I.D. R Pikes Peak record holder.
With e-commerce increasing the need for efficient home delivery vehicles, you might be seeing this zero-emissions panel van on the roads as early as 2022.
Rivian R1S SUV
Electric vehicle startup, Rivian Automotive, showed off its R1S all-electric SUV, and touts it as “the world’s first electric adventure vehicle.” With a range of up to 400 miles, a quad-motor system, and a wading depth of three feet, the sleek-looking R1S definitely sounds like it’s well-equipped for the job. It’s quite lively too, claiming a zero to 60 mph time of just three seconds.
A completely digital dashboard and instrument cluster help to keep things simple yet functional, and three rows of seating lets you bring plenty of friends along for a road trip.
Pre-orders are being accepted now, with vehicles expected to start shipping to customers in 2020.