Concept cars are the stuff of legend. Every year manufacturers tease us with new styling cues, powertrains and technology as the pull the veil off what might be. Here are the ten most eye-catching concepts of 2014.

“The ultimate concept car will move so fast, even at rest, as to be invisible.”

― J.G. Ballard

Toyota FT-1

Toyota offers up a look at what could potentially be the next generation Supra. The FT-1, “Future Toyota,” celebrates the company’s storied sports car history and the 40th Anniversary of CALTY Design Research, Toyota’s North American Design branch. The FT-1 looks high performance standing still, from its front engine rear-wheel-drive setup to the “functional-sculptural” styling and aerodynamics of the showstopping exterior. Its design is heavily influenced by Toyota’s long sports car tradition that includes vehicles such as 2000GT, Celica, Supra and most recently, FT-86 (Scion F-RS).

[separator type=”double”]

Mini John Cooper Works Concept

p90140964-highres-1

Mini will offer an insane number of models over the next few years, so it’s a fair assumption that most of the brand’s concept cars will see production. This new John Cooper Works Mini looks decidedly better than the standard car that debuted in Los Angeles late last year. A bigger grille, lowered front fascia and pumped up wheel arches make the car more visually compelling.

[separator type=”double”]

Kia GT4 Stinger Concept

“It’s not coming soon, it’s coming now.”

The Kia GT4 Stinger concept car might just be my favorite concept of the year. A 315 horsepower 2.0-liter T-GDI four cylinder, two piece cross-drilled Brembos with four-piston calipers and there’s a six speed manual transmission.

Is this the perfect entry level 2+2 sports coupe. The styling is so clean and modern, the engine is high tech and powerful enough to have plenty of fun and the power is going to the rear wheels. This car is going to be so much fun. I’ll be damned if it doesn’t look like a poor mans Lotus Evora from the side, and that’s not a bad thing.

[separator type=”double”]

Volkswagen Beetle Dune Concept

An homage to the old school Baja Bug – an off-roading classic that recently turned up in Grand Theft Auto V. A “Baja Bug for the 21st century,” the concept features decidedly modern Beetle styling cues and comes powered by the R-Line’s turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and six-speed dual-clutch transmission. It’s slightly longer, taller and wider than the current Beetle and also sports an extra two inches of ground clearance. In the back, a slide-away spoiler cleverly incorporates a ski and snowboard rack while the interior’s infotainment system boasts a 7.7″ AMOLED display alongside a combination of cloth and leather throughout.

[separator type=”double”]

Volvo XC Coupe Concept

Designed to preview the 2015 XC90, the Concept XC Coupe has a stylish exterior that borrows cues from the Concept Coupe that debuted at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show. Despite the familiar styling, the XC Coupe has been equipped with plastic body cladding, muscular wheel arches and 21-inch alloy wheels. The crossover also has skid plates, a “floating” grille and headlights with T-shaped LED daytime running lights.

Volvo didn’t have much to say about the interior but they confirmed the 2015 XC90 will have three rows of seats which offer room for up to seven people.

[separator type=”double”]

Nissan Sports Sedan Concept

Nissan is in the midst of overhauling its design language. The new Sport Sedan Concept applies many of the same design elements we’ve seen on Nissan’s previous show cars. This concept has every indication of being the next Maxima.

It looks rather sporty, I was a bit disappointed to learn that while Nissan’s trusty 3.5-liter V6 has been retuned to deliver over 300 horsepower, that power is still delivered to the front wheels through a continuously variable transmission.

[separator type=”double”]

Audi Allroad Shooting Brake Concept

Basically you’re looking at the third-generation Audi TT. Take the suspension down a bit, take away its Allroad-ness and you’re pretty well there. What you’re officially looking at is the Audi Allroad Shooting Brake, a four-seat E-Tron hybrid powered by Audi’s venerable 2.0-liter TFSI four-cylinder backed by a 40-kW electric motor and a secondary 85-kW motor acting upon the rear axle to provide low- and moderate-speed drive. All totaled, Audi says the Allroad Shooting Brake’s ETron powertrain is good for 408 horsepower and total system torque of 479 pound-feet, enough to hit 62 miles per hour in 4.6 seconds.

[separator type=”double”]

Acura TLX

2015_acura_tlx_logo_emblem_revealed

We know little, but we love the TSX and it’s predecessor shouldn’t disappoint.

  • Newly-named TLX will feature more dynamic and sporty proportions, two new advanced powertrains and a host of signature Acura technologies
  • TSX to be discontinued as Acura creates clear hierarchy for luxury sedan lineup
[separator type=”double”]

Nissan IDx Concept

Retro often is done poorly, but Nissan did it right with the IDx Freeflow and the IDx Nismo concepts. Basically it’s a modern day Datsun 510!

Nissan guides you through the rest:

The front/rear fenders and side structure, such as the door panels, seem to sandwich the cabin to focus attention on the center of the vehicle. This structure allows the car to differentiate itself from others through the side and front face, with vast freedom for customization.

In order to have enough flexibility consistent with the creativity inherent to the IDx approach some areas of the interior incorporate a dual-layered “tight-fit skin.” For example, the dashboard is simple yet refined, created by employing cast molding in parts in the body structure and on the ventilation ducts. By combining this with sparingly used, close-fitting trim, the dashboard can be a foundation for various expressions and functions.

Similarly, the gauges, center consoles, and floor consoles were crafted to enable any necessary parts to be installed in an easy and seamless way.

Again, modern day Datsun 510 that young folks like.

[separator type=”double”]

Volkswagen Passat BlueMotion Concept

volkswagen-passat-blue-motion-concept-7-1
This one is basically a production ready vehicle. The German automaker says it’s out to illustrate just how fuel efficient a gas-only midsize sedan can be. The Passat BlueMotion sedan’s turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder with direct injection employs a number of fuel-saving technologies to help the concept achieve an estimated fuel economy of 42 mpg highway, which in real-world mileage would be best in class among non-hybrid cars.