The fabric skinned BMW Gina concept

Concept cars Vs reality

Concept cars… are they merely the result of a boozy lunch or do they really help form the future of motoring? We look at concept cars that became reality and compare the final production car with the original designer’s ideas.

The fabric skinned BMW Gina concept

The fabric skinned BMW Gina concept: image credit

If you’re a follower of motor shows around the world, you’ll know that most concept cars are just a melting pot of attention-grabbing, but unworkable technologies used by manufacturers who’ve no new production metal to show. However, some of these cars do offer a high-tech glimpse of future models and technology that fill us with eager anticipation when the manufacturer confirms its vehicle will make the transition from concept to reality.

Sadly, on most occasions the final version that hits the streets has been taken straight from the motor show floor and passed through the corporate ‘blander’ and spat out the production line looking just as faceless as everything else on the streets. This isn’t always the case, though, so take a look at our selection of concept cars and see if you agree with our verdicts on their journey from design board to showroom…

renault
cap2The visually stunning Renault Captur concept car was revealed in 2011, with carbonfibre panels, a removable roof and 22-inch wheels that had painted tyres to make the rims look even larger. While the design was futuristic, the styling wasn’t beyond being incorporated in the final car. Sadly, the resulting production Captur loses a little too much of the concept’s flair, but there’s still a little of the designer’s passion to be seen.


Click here to see Renault Captur concept vs production car

Renault Captur concept car

Renault Captur concept car

Renault Captur production car

Renault Captur production car

Renault Captur concept

Renault Captur concept

Renault Captur production car

Renault Captur production car

Renault Captur concept car

Renault Captur concept car

Renault Captur production car

Renault Captur production ca 


alfa

4cThe 4C concept was revealed in 2011 as a two-seater rear-wheel-drive coupe with tech and materials taken from the short-lived £110,000 Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione supercar. Unveiled at the 81st Geneva motor show, the car was universally applauded and this resulted in confirmation of a production version. The concept’s styling has pretty much made it through the process unscathed, with supercar looks and handling at the very un-supercar price of £45,000. One large car buying website bemoans its small boot space and poor rear vision – but such foibles merely enhance its ‘supercar’ pretensions.


Click here to see Alfa Romeo 4C concept vs production car

Alfa Romeo 4C concept car

Alfa Romeo 4C concept car

Alfa Romeo 4C production car

Alfa Romeo 4C production car

Alfa Romeo 4C concept car

Alfa Romeo 4C concept car

Alfa Romeo 4C production car

Alfa Romeo 4C production car


bmw2

i8The ‘i8’ concept car is a plug-in hybrid sports car with electric motors powering the front wheels and a 1.5-litre 3-cylinder turbocharged motor driving the rears. BMW has confirmed it’s going to be built – and as you can see, the concept styling has firmly resisted the corporate ‘blander’. So – what about the i8 as a real-life proposition? While the prospect of an electric motor and tiny engine might sound a touch drab – the 0-62mph time of 4.4 seconds tells a totally different story. Add to that the instant torque available from the electric motors and this £100,000 Porsche-muching plug-in beastie is pure supercar. What isn’t, though, is its mpg of a whopping 135mpg and tiny CO2 emissions of just 49g/km – figures that even city car drivers can only dream of. However, it’s the concept car looks that made it through to production that ensure this a winner in our concept vs production contest.


Click here to see BMW i8 concept vs production car

BMW i8 concept car

BMW i8 concept car

BMW i8 production car

BMW i8 production car

BMW i8 concept car

BMW i8 concept car

BMW i8 production car

BMW i8 production car


citreon

Volvo-Tundra_mp5_pic_94000Concept cars aren’t a recent phenomenon as this Volvo/Citroen demonstrates. Surprisingly, the 1979 Volvo Tundra concept car was not put into production by the Swedish manufacturer, but instead of consigning his designs to the nearest bin, its creator Marcello Gandini decided to hawk his scribblings to Citroen. The French company loved it and put it into production – with its extensive use of plastic panels – and hence the BX was born. It lived from 1982 to 1994. It’s a victory for concept designs making their way into production… but something of a hollow one? Discuss…


Click here to see the Citroen BX concept vs production car

Volvo Tundra / Citroen BX concept car

Volvo Tundra / Citroen BX concept car

Citroen BX production car

Citroen BX production car

Volvo Tundra / Citroen BX concept car

Volvo Tundra / Citroen BX concept car

Citroen BX production car

Citroen BX production car


nissan

38919nisSix years after showing the concept car at the 2001 Tokyo motor show, the GT-R was finally put into production. It is also a rare example where the concept car styling was made more flamboyant for the production version. Apparently, the car was designed to steer away from showy western supercar looks to better reflect Japanese culture – basing it on a giant robot. Even so, the GT-R still looks relatively polite to the untrained eye… considering what a high-octane hooligan it really is. A clear example that concept cars can be studies of wild performance – as well as crazy looks. Our verdict – victory for the production car.


Click here to see Nissan GT-R concept vs production car

 

Nissan GT-R concept car

Nissan GT-R concept car

Nissan GT-R production car

Nissan GT-R production car

Nissan GT-R concept car

Nissan GT-R concept car

Nissan GT-R production car

Nissan GT-R production car


porsche

72921-i-por1This 214mph Porker concept car was first seen at the 2010 Geneva motor show. It was while on view here that the German supercar maker asked potential customers to sign a letter of interest in the 94mpg mid-engined plug-in hybrid sports car. The response was overwhelming with Porsche confirming it would build 918 examples of the car and knock them out at a very reasonable asking price of around £670,000. Regarding its concept v reality rating, it’s another example of style winning over corporate conservatism.


Click here to see the Porsche 918 Spyder concept vs production car

Porsche 918 Spyder concept car

Porsche 918 Spyder concept car

Porsche 918 Spyder production car

Porsche 918 Spyder production car

Porsche 918 Spyder concept car

Porsche 918 Spyder concept car

Porsche 918 Spyder production car

Porsche 918 Spyder production car


scirocco

irocDespite its the cunning name, visitors at the 2006 Paris motor show soon realised this concept car signalled the return of VW’s sporty Scirocco. No pub trips for the designers on this one, though, with only the large, aggressive grille and twin integrated tailpipes to excite style-hungry punters. In 2008, the company confirmed production. Sadly, the gaping grille was scaled back and and the pipes combined… Gone was any hope of VW styling being anything other than eternally dull. Verdict – consider the new Scirocco well and truly ‘blanded’.


Click here to see the VW Iroc/Scirocco concept vs production car

VW Iroc concept car

VW Iroc concept car

VW Scirocco production car

VW Scirocco production car

VW Iroc concept car

VW Iroc concept car

VW Scirocco production car

VW Scirocco production car


beetle

volkswagen-concept-1-03This 1994 Beetle concept was designed in California and revealed at the 1994 North American Auto Show. The public (or middle-aged one-time hippies who were by now corporate bankers) reacted with such excitement that VW put the model – based on the Golf’s platform – into production. It went on sale in 1998. While the original version exuded charm character and a real sense of the moment, this was a shabby effort by men in suits to show that bohemia still existed in the sterile corridors of VW. The plastic flower on the dashboard says it all. Verdict… concept and production car fail the credibility test. However, in VW’s defence, the all-new ‘new’ Beetle is a much more impressive proposition.


Click here to see the VW Beetle concept vs production car

VW Beetle concept car

VW Beetle concept car

VW Beetle production car

VW Beetle production car

VW Beetle concept car

VW Beetle concept car

VW Beetle production car

VW Beetle production car


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