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Top 10s: Concepts heading to production, maybe…

DSC00541 Story by John LeBlanc From Frankfurt last September to Beijing this April, with stops in Los Angeles, Detroit and New York, and Geneva thrown in for good measure, the 2013-2014 international auto show season dazzled us with dozens of new concept cars. But only 10 of them have been deemed worthy enough to garner your attention. Here they are: 10. Mercedes-Benz Concept Coupe SUV Mercedes-Benz Coupe SUV Concept. Debuting at this year’s Beijing auto show, the Mercedes-Benz Concept Coupe SUV is the German automaker’s first attempt to attract the type of buyers that get hot over the likes of a BMW X6 or X4. Powered by a twin-turbocharged, six-cylinder gas engine making 333 horsepower, the four-door Concept Coupe SUV is as powerful as it looks. Chance of production: 100%. The concept is expected to arrive next year as the Mercedes-Benz MLC-Class. 9. BMW Vision Future Luxury Concept BMW Vision Future Luxury Concept Almost as long as its name, the BMW Vision Future Luxury Concept also debuted at this year’s Beijing auto show. A progression from BMW’s previous Gran Lusso Coupe, designed by Italy’s Pininfarina, the full-size Vision Future Luxury Concept luxury sedan sports an eDrive badge, the German automaker’s sub-brand for its plug-in electric hybrid vehicles. Chance of production: 100%. The concept all but forecasts the next-generation BMW 7 Series. 8. Mazda Hazumi Concept The Mazda Hazumi concept is the precursor to the next-generation Mazda2 subcompact. Wondering what Japan’s Mazda was going to do with its next Mazda2 subcompact hatchback? Well wonder no more! The new Mazda Hazumi Concept, first seen at this year’s Geneva auto show, is a precursor to the next-generation of Mazda’s smallest hatchback, and a clear statement that “economy” cars don’t have to look “cheap.” Chance of production: 100%. You’ll be able to buy a four-door Hazumi as a Mazda2 sometime in 2015. 7. Honda FCEV Concept The Honda FCEV concept car is on display during the Chicago Auto Show. Premiering at last fall’s Los Angeles show, Honda’s hydrogen-powered FCEV (or Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle) has a range of more than 480 kilometres via a 100 kW hydrogen fuel cell stack with a power density 60% higher yet 33% smaller than the stack in the previous FCX Clarity fuel-cell car. Chance of production: 50%. Japan’s Honda says the FCEV Concept hints at a future fuel-cell vehicle to be sold in the U.S. in 2015, but don’t expect it to look this exciting. 6. Audi TT Allroad Concept Audi TT Offroad Concept at Beijing Motor Show. Looking at the success of BMW’s Mini, Germany’s Audi wants to expand its TT range, and the Allroad Concept from the Beijing auto show is a great example of the German automaker’s plans. After the production TT Coupe from the Geneva show, and the TT Allroad Shooting Brake from Detroit, the Allroad Concept crossover seems like a natural. Chance of production: 100%. Small crossovers are hot sellers. A production TT Allroad is a slam-dunk. 5. Kia GT4 Stinger Concept DSC00542 Debuting its new GT4 Stinger Concept at this year’s Detroit show, Korea’s Kia wants to send you back in time to “the glory days of purebred, affordable sports cars.” Penned by Kia’s California design team, the rear-wheel-drive 2+2 is arguably the most aggressive design yet from the relatively young brand. Chance of production: 50%. Kia is playing coy, but a production GT4 Stinger would boost the brand’s street credibility — a lot. 4. Maserati Alfieri Concept The Maserati Alfieri Concept previews a smaller and lighter interpretation of the gran touring coupe formula. One of the few surprises at this year’s Geneva show was the Maserati Alfieri Concept. Aimed at Jaguar’s F-Type, the Alfieri is based on a shorter wheelbase version of the current, rear-wheel-drive Maserati GranTurismo 2+2. Under its long front hood resides a Maserati 4.7-litre eight-cylinder engine making 460 horsepower. Chance of production: 100%. A production Alfieri will only help parent Fiat-Chrysler’s ambitious sales growth for Maserati. 3. Volvo Concept Estate The Volvo Concept Estate made its debut at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year. Eventually, it could make it into production as the V90 wagon. Of the trio of new concepts Volvo introduced this season — including last year's Frankfurt’s Concept Coupe two-door and Detroit’s XC Coupe crossover — the Geneva show’s Concept Estate two-door sportswagon best exemplified the Swedish automaker’s future styling themes, taking inspiration from the 1970s’ Volvo P1800 ES "shooting brake." Chance of production: 50%. Not likely as a two-door. But add a pair of doors and we expect a new V90 Wagon to go on-sale by 2016. 2. Mercedes-Benz AMG Vision Gran Turismo The Mercedes-Benz AMG Vision Gran Turismo It’s a concept car the German automaker is calling “virtual”. But we still love it. Designed for the Sony PlayStation’s new Gran Turismo 6 driving simulator and debuting at the L.A. show, the Mercedes-Benz AMG Vision Gran Turismo sports a theoretical 585 hp. While a static, 1:1-scale model was built, the sports car can only be driven virtually. Too bad. Chance of production: 10%. The AMG Vision Gran Turismo may influence an eventual successor to the outgoing Mercedes-Benz AMG SLS supercar. Or not. 1. Toyota FT-1 Concept Will the FT-1 mark the return of the Toyota Supra? More importantly, will Toyota build it, complete with a supercapacitor-based hybrid system, as part of its collaboration with BMW? Its acronym breaks down as “Future Toyota” and the number “1” represents “the ultimate Toyota sports car.” So don’t write-off the Toyota concept from this year's Detroit show as another “PlayStation special.” We know the Japanese automaker and BMW are working together on a joint sports car program that will eventually create replacements for the current BMW Z4 and 1990s’ Toyota Supra. Chance of production: 75%. Take the FT-1’s styling theme and wrap it around a slightly smaller sports car package, and you have the spiritual successor to the Toyota Supra. This article was originally published at Driving.ca

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