Best concept cars at Geneva 2017

There were a range of concept cars launched at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, and these are our highlights

If the motor show is the native habitat of the concept car, the Geneva Motor Show is its favourite scratching post. Kissed by the gleaming spotlights, preened by feather duster-wielding stand hands, concept cars are designed, and dressed, to impress in the show environment.

Concepts are vehicles through which manufacturers can float far-out ideas and possible future technological directions. The response from the public and the media sometimes even determines which elements make it to production and which meet their end in the design studio recycling bin.

Of course, it’s precisely because they are unshackled from the need to attract customers and turn a profit, that concept cars are such fun. Geneva 2017 had concepts of all shapes, sizes and types, from those only some sensible wheels and a smaller rear wing away from an imminent production car to ones that appear to be the result of a complete mental breakdown on the part of an overworked designer. There were supercars, SUVs, electric urban mobility solutions, you name it, the Geneva show stands contained a concept car to oblige.

Below we round-up our pick of the concept cars exhibited at Geneva 2017. Together with some details on what they were all about...

Bentley EXP 12 Speed 6e

Bentley revealed a stunning two-seater convertible sports car at the show this year - and rather than the luxury car company’s usual huge petrol engine under the bonnet there’s actually an all-electric powertrain. It’s supposed to showcase both the latest tech lined up for Bentley’s next models and the potential for a new sports car in the range.

The interior is also suitably strange, with lashings of red leather and a huge glass centre console. The steering wheel has no top section, instead featuring Thunderbirds-style buttons that control the power output of the electric motor.

Citroen C-Aircross concept

The Citroen C-Aircross concept might have looked unusual a few years ago, but with cars such as the new C3 as well as the C4 Cactus already on the road, this show car looks more like a production model than it really ought to. Plus, Citroen says it’s fairly close to the eventual C3 Picasso replacement that will arrive later in the year.

The new model will be based on the same platform as the upcoming Vauxhall Crossland X, but will have more of an SUV look - without compromising MPV features such as the versatile rear seats and big boot.

Dendrobium

While the Vanda Electrics Dendrobium isn’t from a major manufacturer, it’s certainly eye-catching enough to draw in the crowds at the Geneva show this year. The huge doors and roof open outwards (like the Dendrobium flower of the same name), and the exposed suspension and huge rear wing give it a lot of presence.

What makes this car really interesting is that a small production run is planned, with Williams Advanced Engineering at the helm of development. That means it could have the performance to match the looks.

Hyundai FE Fuel Cell concept

Hyundai is pushing ahead with hydrogen tech in its cars, and this latest concept car is the next step in that process. It’s a crossover with ultra-slim headlights, huge wheels and complex shapes all over the place - just as a concept car should have.

The suicide doors and futuristic interior are straight out of the concept car designer’s handbook as well, and while this won’t directly influence a production car, there is a new fuel cell model on the way in 2018 with some inspiration taken from the concept.

Peugeot Instinct concept

Peugeot has brought back the shooting brake in style, with the two-door estate body style being used to great effect on the Instinct concept here. It’s the first look at a potential new headlight signature for the brand, as well as a new 297bhp plug-in hybrid system that could be used on existing cars such as the 3008 SUV.

It’s fully autonomous as well, although, as it’s a concept car it won’t ever actually drive on the road. The steering wheel folds away completely, and the car can connect to the cloud and control smart devices back at home.

SsangYong XAVL

SsangYong is readying a rival for the Kia Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe, and this XAVL concept car gives us an idea of how it will look. The seven-seater’s name stands for “eXciting Authentic Vehicle Long SUV” and we expect the real car to appear some time before the end of the decade.

The bold angular folds and strong lines around the car mark it out as a concept, but the XAVL is clearly something that can turn into a production car with a few key changes - let’s hope SsangYong is able to do just that.

Toyota i-TRIL

It wouldn’t be a motor show without there being a concept car with a very odd name, and the Toyota i-TRIL checks that box. The car itself isn’t exactly conventional, having a three-seater layout and tech that lets it lean to the side as you turn. Toyota says this means that it’s fun to drive even at slow, city-centre speeds.

You don’t even drive it in a normal way: there are two ‘control nodes’ - similar in principle to computer mice or games controllers - instead of the conventional pedals and steering wheel.

What was your favourite concept from the 2017 Geneva Motor Show? Let us know below...

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