Automaker innovation: 10 best concept cars

During the 2011-2012 international auto show season, automakers took the wraps off a multitude of secret design projects. CNET gathers the 10 best of the season.

The unveiling of a new concept car is always cause for excitement at an auto show. Sarah Tew/CNET

Concept cars make up our favorite displays at international auto shows. These cars show off the latest thinking within design departments, and often contain new ideas in cabin and power-train technology.

The latest season was particularly satisfying, featuring the return of an icon, promising new production-intent vehicles, excellent styling, and low- or zero-emission technology.

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We were impressed to see a new Acura NSX, this modern version boasting a hybrid power train. And Acura followed up with a new flagship sedan using a similar version of that hybrid system.

Nissan showed a lot of energy, coming up with a neat little hatchback, and two existing electric-powered concepts under its Infiniti brand. Lexus was also in play with an extremely styled hybrid coupe.

Ford and Mercedes-Benz rolled out with technology showboats, concept cars intended to demonstrate new technology being developed from a variety of internal departments. On the flipside, Kia and Chevrolet had pure design numbers, vehicles of pure style.

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