While some concept cars look like they come from a future that never will be, others represent cars that will actually go into production. We've gathered the most realistic concept cars from the last auto show season here to see how the near future will look.
The current, gasoline-fueled V-8 R8 has proven a sales success for Audi, with demand outstripping supply. And with the new popularity of diesels and the fact that Audi has all the parts, the move to produce an R8 powered by a V12 turbo diesel shouldn't be too hard of a decision.
Cadillac showed off the coupe version of its CTS sedan at this year's Detroit auto show. Cadillac has already promised a 2010 model CTS Coupe, available in late 2009. Cadillac recognizes, as BMW and Audi already have, that coupes are in.
BMW's beautiful CS made the rounds of the auto shows and is the model for a sedan with a more sporty character than the 7-series. The model should arrive as a 2010 model, and some speculation suggests it will dubbed the 8-series.
During the auto show season, Suzuki showed off some wild concepts in the Kizashi series, but the Kizashi 3 represents a car suitable for production. Suzuki specified the Kizashi 3 as having a 3.5-liter V-6 putting power to all four wheels, further suggesting that this is a car to be put into production.
Audi has been filling in its model range of late, introducing the A3 and the A5 more recently. The metropoject shows design work on an A1, which would be the smallest car in Audi's A series, competing with the Mini Cooper. The A1 should see production as a 2010 model.
The new 1-series is getting an excellent reception, so it's a no-brainer for BMW to offer the 1-series tii, which gets its name from the legendary BMW 2002 tii. For BMW to produce a 1-series tii, all it has to do is modify an existing 135i.
With Hyundai making significant strides in taking its brand upscale, sister brand Kia won't be left in the dirt. Its Koup concept, shown at the New York auto show, has many production-ready elements. And Kia could certainly use some excitement in its model lineup.
Ford's Verve is the result of research into a small car it can sell around the world. The Verve uses new body styling which Ford dubs Kinetic, while its interior instrument panel is inspired by cell phone design. The Verve should come out as a 2010 model.
Although no production plans have been announced, Mitsubishi has been on a roll of late with the new Evo and Outlander. The cX would be a good addition to its lineup. Mitsubishi specifies an all-wheel-drive system, dual-clutch transmission, and a clean diesel engine for the cX.
The Exiga represents Subaru's desire to join other automakers in building seven passenger cars. As with other Subarus, the Exiga uses a 2-liter turbocharged boxer-style engine putting power to all four wheels. The exterior design is realistic for a production car, although it has some futuristic touches such as LED headlights and rear-view cameras instead of side mirrors.
Toyota is working on a new design for its minivan with the FT-MV. The minivan has been very successful for Toyota in the past, and this concept shows the company's interest in resurrecting consumer interest.
BMW showed off the standard gas engine X6 as a concept last year, and it is already going into production. BMW also has hybrid technology it codeveloped with GM and Mercedes-Benz sitting on the shelf, so it would make sense for BMW to put that tech into its new X6, especially as gas prices rise.