It has been something of a vintage year for the automotive future testing ground that is concept cars, featuring everything from the jaw-dropping Mercedes-AMG Project One hypercar to the incredible past-meets-future Jaguar E-Type Zero electric reboot putting the “e” into E-Type.
The Project One will be at the Dubai International Motor Show, but perhaps even more stunning is the AMG GT Concept, a four-door update on the popular sports-car range, designed to celebrate AMG’s 50th anniversary. It successfully melds the SLS and GT lineage with the B/C-pillar lines of Mercedes’s larger models, creating a sleek silhouette. It is powered by a hybrid power train that aids a sub-three-second 0-to-100kph time.
From the opposite side of the Atlantic, the Cadillac Escala also takes the design language of existing models to craft a 4.2L V8-powered saloon that continues General Motors’ evolution of ever-more-European shapes. It is also proof that almost everything apart from the Mitsubishi Pajero sounds cooler in Spanish – the name is a translation of “scale”, which we can probably all agree would be laughably dull in Anglo-Saxon terms.
For every handful of eye-arresting concept successes, however, there is the occasional eye-assaulting motoring misstep – and so it is for the BMW Concept X7 iPerformance, which manages to twist the existing X line DNA into a bull-nosed monstrosity. Sadly, BMW doesn't appear to be bringing its excellent Concept Z4, which is approximately five million times prettier, to the nearest million.
Not to be outdone, Mercedes has its Germanic mitts behind the Smart Vision EQ for two (pictured above with the Project One), which is essentially an autonomous stormtrooper helmet on wheels. One person’s cute, quirky curio is another’s nightmarishly over-friendly peek into urban driving to come. But kudos, at least, for the technology involved, as we head closer to an all-electric future and, with a bit of luck, avoid the total environmental destruction of our planet.