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11 best concept cars from the 2013-2014 auto show season (pictures)

During this past season of international auto shows, automakers showed off their newest cars in cities from Detroit to Geneva. But we love the concept cars best, as they show what car designers could do with the regulatory and marketing gloves removed.

Wayne_Cunningham.jpg
Wayne_Cunningham.jpg
Wayne Cunningham
Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET's Roadshow. Prior to the automotive beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine.
Wayne Cunningham
Audi Nanuk Quattro Concept
1 of 11 Josh Miller/CNET

Audi Nanuk Quattro Concept

The Nanuk Quattro Concept attempts to define a new class as an offroad coupe with sport car styling. Audi launched it at the 2013 Frankfurt auto show as part of a continuing line of Quattro Concept cars. The Nanuk is not intended for production, but some features, such as its LED Matrix headlights, will appear in Audi production models.

Read more about the Audi Nanuk Quattro Concept.

Volvo Concept Coupe
2 of 11 Josh Miller/CNET

Volvo Concept Coupe

One of the most stunning concept cars of the season appeared at the 2013 Frankfurt auto show. Volvo staff at the show seemed surprised at all the attention, not realizing what a beauty they had with the Concept Coupe, which hearkens back to Volvo's old P1800 model. Initially described as not intended for production, a Volvo spokesman later said the company would consider it.

Read more about the Volvo Concept Coupe.

Toyota_FT1-001.jpg
3 of 11 Josh Miller/CNET

Toyota FT-1

With the Camry being the best-selling sedan in the U.S. and Prius the best-selling car in California, you wouldn't expect a concept like the FT-1 from Toyota. Although this super sporty concept, shown at the 2014 Detroit auto show, is not intended for production, it hopefully serves as a sign that Toyota is ready to embrace exciting sport cars.

Read more about the Toyota FT-1.

Mercedes-Benz_GT_concept-000.JPG
4 of 11 Josh Miller/CNET

Mercedes-Benz AMG Vision Gran Turismo Concept

A full-size model of a car designed for a video game may seem ridiculous, but Mercedes-Benz's AMG Vision Gran Turismo looked imposing and awesome on its stand at the 2013 Los Angeles auto show. The car, designed for the Gran Turismo racing game, shows extraordinary lines with an almost 1920s style. It would make a nice model for a new AMG car.

Read more about the Mercedes-Benz AMG Vision Gran Turismo.

Maserati Alfieri
5 of 11 Josh Miller/CNET

Maserati Alfieri

Maserati brought is Alfieri concept to the 2014 Geneva auto show as a 100-year birthday present to itself. The car captures Maserati style, and the company said this concept points the way for its next 100 years. That is a bold statement, but this concept certainly points to a bright future.

Read more about the Maserati Alfieri.

Nissan IDx Freeflow
6 of 11 Josh Miller/CNET

Nissan IDx Freeflow

Nissan's IDx Freeflow concept, unveiled at the 2013 Tokyo auto show and displayed here at the 2014 Detroit auto show, lacked the grand style of other top concepts, but it still had tremendous appeal. The car hearkens back to early '70s Nissan styling, when the badges read Datsun in the US.

Read more about the Nissan IDx Freeflow concept.

Kia Stinger GT4
7 of 11 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Kia Stinger GT4

There's a bit of sibling rivalry between Hyundai and Kia, but we have yet to see Kia's answer to the Hyundai Veloster. The Stinger GT4 looks like a stab in that direction as a potential sport car for Kia. However, there is no production intention, and as a rear-wheel-drive concept, the Stinger GT4, shown at the 2014 Detroit auto show, doesn't fit Kia's current manufacturing line.

Read more about the Kia GT4 Stinger.

Toyota Yaris Hybrid-R
8 of 11 Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Toyota Yaris Hybrid-R

CNET Editor Antuan Goodwin declared the Yaris Hybrid-R his favorite concept at the 2013 Frankfurt auto show. This unlikely concept charges up the hybrid drivetrain in a Toyota Yaris model to 420 horsepower, and uses electric all-wheel-drive. This concept shows the potential of even the mildest car.

Read more about the Toyota Yaris Hybrid-R.

Volkswagen T-Roc
9 of 11 Josh Miller/CNET

Volkswagen T-Roc

Volkswagen brought the T-Roc to the 2014 Geneva auto show as an exploration of a new compact SUV model that would slot in below the Tiguan. The open top of the T-Roc is very cool, but would likely not survive into a production model. Volkswagen's current small car platform and engine choices give it a lot of flexibility to build something like the T-Roc.

See all the concept cars from the 2014 Geneva auto show.

Infiniti Q30
10 of 11 Josh Miller/CNET

Infiniti Q30

Compact SUVs have become a popular new segment, and Infiniti debuted its entrant as a concept at the 2013 Frankfurt auto show. Called the Q30, this concept will likely reach production relatively unchanged from what we saw at the show. Infiniti should have a production model to show during the 2014-2015 auto show season.

Read more about the Infiniti Q30.

Land Rover Discovery Vision
11 of 11 Wayne Cunningham/CNET

Land Rover Discovery Vision

The Discovery Vision concept, unveiled at the 2014 New York auto show, proved exciting for a number of reasons. The concept debuted many intriguing tech concepts, such as lasers that map the terrain in front of the car. And Land Rover said it marks the beginning of a new line of Discovery models that should live along side the Range Rover models.

Read more about the Land Rover Discover Vision concept.

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