Cool concepts from the Frankfurt Motor Show

Here's a look at the wild, wonderful cars that give a glimpse into the future of motoring.

Emme Hall Former editor for CNET Cars
I love two-seater, RWD convertibles and own a 2004 Mazdaspeed Miata for pavement fun and a lifted 2001 Miata for pre-running. I race air-cooled Volkswagens in desert races like the Mint 400 and the Baja 1000. I have won the Rebelle Rally, seven-day navigational challenge, twice and I am the only driver to compete in an EV, the Rivian R1T.
Emme Hall
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The BMW Concept 4 is so good, if you disregard those kidney grills.

Andrew Hoyle/Roadshow

Well, we've walked our feet off here at the Frankfurt Motor Show and found the latest and greatest debuts from around the world. Mixed in amongst all the production vehicles and cool cars we definitely won't get in the States are concept cars that run the gamut from radical off roaders to sleek EVs. Here are four of our favorites, plus one bonus whack-a-doo monster SUV.

Watch this: The best concept cars from the Frankfurt Motor Show

Audi AI:Trail Quattro Concept

If you're looking for an autonomous, electric, off-road vehicle, this concept is for you. Audi claims that the glass-enclosed pod can go from 250 to 310 miles on a single charge, but rough surfaces would likely bring that down to somewhere near 150 miles of range. The company doesn't give any word on horsepower, but the concept puts out 740 pound-feet of torque, for all the low-end grunt you need while climbing over obstacles. 

Drivers would use an app on their phone for the gauge cluster and, get this, it has drones for lights. There are "five rootless, triangular, electrically operated drones with integrated matrix LED elements." The drones can also provide a video feed back to the cabin, because of course they can.

Audi's AI:Trail Quattro concept takes wild design into the wildnerness

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BMW Concept 4

If you can get past the extra-large kidney grille on the BMW Concept 4, you're rewarded with a beautiful coupe the previews both the next 4 Series and the electric i4. Small sleek headlamps flank a finely sculpted hood, leading into a stunning profile. Out back you'll find a big diffuser and taillights reminiscent of the latest 8 Series. Done up in this rich red color, the Concept 4 could easily be the most beautiful car at the show, save for that buck-toothed maw.

BMW Concept 4 previews two cars at once

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Cupra Tavascan

You may not have heard of Cupra, the performance sub-brand of Seat, a member of the Volkswagen Group. But it's impressed us with the Tavascan coupe-over concept here in Frankfurt. Build on VW's modular MEB platform, this EV produces 302 horsepower and can store enough go-go juice in its 77-kilowatt-hour battery for 280 miles of range, based on European WLTP estimates.

The Tavascan's design can only be described as sleek, with a sharply raked rear window leading into full-width taillights. Its 22-inch wheels are stuffed under the fenders and you'll see a smattering of functional air vents to keep the battery cool and help the Tavascan slip through the air.

Cupra Tavascan electric SUV is one sleek concept

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Hyundai 45

This style exercise from Hyundai harkens back to the 45-year-old Pony coupe concept, this time interpreted through what the company calls a "Sensuous Sportiness" design language. The 45 concept is full of sharp creases along the body and precise 45-degree angles, with distinctive LED light signatures and doors that slide open from the center.

Inside, this autonomous EV is open and airy, with chairs that rotate towards each other, plenty of wood and fabric trims and a large screen spanning the width of the dash. The overall effect is hip and modern and we look forward to see how much of this design aesthetic makes it into future models.

Hyundai 45 EV concept throws it way back

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Mercedes-Benz Vision EQS

If you want to see Mercedes' idea of a sustainable, carbon-neutral future, look no further than the Vision EQS electric concept. The headliner is made from recycled plastic and that soft-looking leather is actually faux cow hide. Even the wood trim on the inside is ecologically sourced.

LED lights abound in the EQS. There are 940 of them in the grill that light up at seemingly random times and 229 LEDs, each in their own three-pointed star cutout, that function as the taillights. Headlights are actually four holographic lenses that rotate in a pattern and display images or even a hologram.

Two electric motors create 469 horsepower and 560 pound-feet of torque, so not only is the Vision EQS good for the environment, it should be good for a whole lot of fun, as well.

Mercedes-Benz Vision EQS is a sleek EV for the C-suite

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Ramsmobile RM-X2

What can I say about the Ramsmobile RM-X2 that pictures can't say better? Though the SUV is a production vehicle, none of the beasts have been sold. Perhaps that's due to its $999,999 starting price, or maybe it's because a Kardashian sister hasn't seen one yet. Regardless, I'm putting it into the concept category because it's just too weirdo-beardo not to.

Power comes courtesy of the 6.2-liter LT5 V8 engine from the Corvette ZR1 or a 6.6-liter Duramax diesel V8, presumably from GM's fleet of heavy-duty trucks. You can get it armored, add a 24-inch wide continuous tread for extra-extra traction, option it up with 40-inch tires and, my favorite, add an electric hookah that moderates smoke temperature, presumably to make it easier to inhale. I don't know, I'm not into hookah, but you do you, Ramsmobile.

The Ramsmobile RM-X2 is unlike anything else

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