Concept cars have been a staple of the automotive landscape for decades. Manufacturers use them to pique consumers’ interest, but also to showcase new technology and features they hope to unveil in later production cars.
That was certainly the case with the 1938 Buick Y-Job, one of the world’s first concepts. The Y-Job employed a vertical waterfall grill that would become a signature of the Buick brand for decades and more importantly, helped introduce features — like electric windows, the powered convertible top and recessed door handles — that would eventually become common on mainstream production cars.
Innovation didn’t stop in the late 1930s. Both new and established manufacturers present futuristic concept cars regularly. Some of these will be on display later this month at the Los Angeles Auto Show, the last big international vehicle expo of 2018.
We looked at some of the most interesting concept vehicles today and the technology and features that help make them stand out — or fly, literally.
While Elon Musk’s Tesla electric crossover Model Y may grab the most headlines, General Motors’ Buick brand unveiled its Enspire crossover at this year’s Beijing Auto Show. The company, which is popular in China, has designed a 550-horsepower electric motor that will let the Enspire reach 60 mph in just 4 seconds, faster than any previous Buick. Range for the electric car is an impressive 370 miles. Though tall and fairly rectangular like most crossovers and SUVs, the concept is nonetheless extremely elegant, and it gets more interesting on the inside.
Features include an augmented reality display for the windshield that can show road information and navigation routes, and seats with shock absorbers built into the frame. It also has taillights that indicate braking intensity to other drivers.