Highest Ranking Concept Cars of 2008

So far we have seen some amazing concepts cars from both NAIAS and Chicago. As always, we have to sit around and talk about which ones we would love (or hate) to see put into production. Here are the 8 that got the most kudos.

Mitsubishi RA Concept

Sketches of Mitsubishi's RA Concept were being circulated late last year, but Chicago was the first face-to-face meeting granted to North America. To reduce weight, the Concept-RA is built on an aluminum space frame. Also, most of the body panels are made from an impact resistant plastic resin that is 100% recyclable. All of the weight reduction is to make sure the 2.2L turbo-diesel won't be working too hard. The diesel features Mitsubishi Innovative Valve Timing Electronic Control System (MIVEC), as well as direct fuel injection and piezoelectric injectors. Instead of chemical injection to control emissions, the RA relies on a fleet of filters and Cat's to meet the strict standards latched onto diesels. Even with all the emission controls, the 2.2L puts just over 200HP and 310ft/lbs to all 4 wheels.

Lexus LF-A Concept

Originally introduced in 2005, the LF-A is Lexus' stake into the supercar world. Both the FL-A and the LF-A Roadster are powered by a 500hp 5.0L V10 which Lexus claims will break the 200mph mark. The body is constructed using a combination of carbon-fiber and aluminum to reduce weight. Power is taken to the ground through a torque tube to a paddle-shifting automatic transmission. So far there is no word on a manual being offered.

Land Rover LRX Concept

A sporty SUV based concept from Land Rover. Details were released about 2 months ago, but all-in-all the LRX was worth seeing. The body and power-train are what would normally be expected from Land Rover. What makes the LRX stand out are the small details only noticeable when close up. Which includes the "LRX" logo engraved into the tire treads and the "Land Rover" inscribed taillights. The interior is also unique as it lights up differently depending on how and where the vehicle is being driven. There are also rumors of a Hybrid Drive-Train for future models.

Hummer HX Concept

When asked about the HX Concept, Martin Walsh, HUMMER's general manager said, "We've made our intentions clear that we want to expand our product line. To do this, we need another, smaller vehicle." Since GM has been eying up Jeep's little corner of the automotive world for quite some time, it was an easy guess where they were going to expand to. The HX is 10 inches shorter than the H3 and slightly wider, giving it a more stable feel for off-road driving. It draws power from a 3.6L Direct Injected V-6 that like most new GM's is flex-fuel capable. The hard top contains a removable rear roof and panels to make an open-air vehicle with a short bed. Anyone willing to take bets on the name? (H4)

Ford Verve Concept

The Verve originally bowed at Frankfurt as a 3-door hatch. In China, it sprouted some trunk space. The Verve is Ford's response to a growing demand for smaller, more efficient vehicles that still present a keen sense of style. Perhaps something like they have in Europe? The Verve will be the first subcompact (Under the Focus) Ford has had in over 10 years. They have released no official details on the engine they will be using, but the EcoBoost 1.4L would be a winner.

Fiskar Karma Concept

A hybrid sedan from Fisker Coachbuild, the Karma was the spawn of an alliance with Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies. While most Hybrids look either identical to their petroleum counterparts or very sketchy, the Karma was designed around a Hybrid power-plant to be a sexy sports car. The car can travel 50 miles on the Lithium-Ion batteries alone, after that the four-cylinder engine kicks in to crank the generator and make more electricity. There is also an option mode to use both sources of power for increased performance. Fiskar wouldn't release specific power figures, but they did say it would tag 60 mph in 5.8 seconds and achieve a top speed of 125 mph. They also estimated fuel ranges at 100 miles to the gallon with a total range of 620 miles per tank.


Cadillac CTS Coupe

The unveiling of the CTS Coupe was the grand finale of GM's Cadillac press conference. From the front, the Coupe is the same, but as you move rearward, the 2-door body wedged out and finished with what design head, Ed Welburn, called "a hint of Cadillac fin." The interior received a few additions which included deeper sport seats and some additional accents. Welburn was very vague when asked about potential engines. He let out only that it could be powered by one of the many currently available, or it may be fitted with a turbo-diesel. Throughout the release, there was no mention of a production version, but it they go by interest alone, it should be on the road within 2 years.

Buick Riviera Concept

It's been a while since Buick broke into the sporty end of design and this futuristic concept may be exactly what the need. The Riviera name has a ton of heritage tied to it and it looks as though Buick has been able to bring that name back to life without the additional disgrace. The exterior is composed mainly of carbon fiber which will make opening the gull-wing doors much easier. It sits low to the ground with a slight tilt to the front to complete the stance. The interior is loaded with gizmos and gadgets including an LCD touch-screen used for pretty much everything. GM's press release also stated that the concept was originally designed to house the new Hybrid drive-train currently in production in China. The real question is whether or not it will make it to production.

More auto shows are on the way. Check back.

Original Information : MSN , Autoblog

George Delozier
Automotive Innovations