Coupelike sedans, a diesel-powered roadster and Caddy's flashy hybrid were among the head-turners earning lots of oohs and aahs at the show.
5 hot concepts
Vehicle type: 4-door sedan with coupelike styling
Engine: 1.6-liter, 4-cylinder gasoline turbocharged with direct injection, 180 hp
Who designed it: Steve Mattin, Volvo design director
What's cool: The direct-injection gasoline engine is more fuel efficient than its predecessor. Also features a stop-start function that turns off the car when it is standing still. DRIVEe-Mode can put the car into an economy mode that limits electrical and mechanical systems such as air conditioning. Uses lightweight materials for the body. Is based on Ford's upper-medium platform.
Will it be built? A production version is due in 2010.
Vehicle type: Plug-in hybrid
Engine: Electric motor with small gasoline engine that regenerates batteries
Who designed it: Simon Cox, in GM's advanced design studio in the United Kingdom
What's cool: Like its sister vehicle, the Chevrolet Volt, this car would be able to travel up to 40 miles without using gasoline.
Will it be built? GM isn't saying, but it's a lot closer to development than the Chevrolet Camaro was when GM introduced that as a concept. GM has to make a business case first for the Converj; executives say they have not even started that process.
Show reaction: Enthusiastic about this design, which will likely influence future Cadillac design
Vehicle type: 4-door hatchback sport coupe
Engine: 3.0-liter V-6 clean diesel
Who designed it: Wolfgang Egger, head of Audi group design
What's cool: Retractable multimedia interface screen; engine combustion chamber sensors; 5-link front suspension
Will it be built? The guys handing out this year's design awards knew better than to put this in the concept category. Look for a production version to reach showrooms by the end of next year.
Show reaction: An all-around hit and pristine example of Audi's future design direction
Vehicle type: Midengine roadster concept
Engine: 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder clean diesel
Who designed it: Klaus Bischoff, design director for VW brand; and Thomas Ingenlath, director of VW's design center in Potsdam, Germany
What's cool: Theoretical range of 710 miles between fill-ups; orange fabric convertible top; climate control unit display turns blue or red depending on temperature setting
Will it be built? The roadster is designed to show off VW's diesel technology, but the company rarely shows a vehicle it doesn't plan to produce. Look for it to be positioned as an image-booster, possibly in 2011.
Show reaction: Cute ride, but does VW really want to expand into a declining segment? Look what happened with the Routan minivan.
Vehicle type: 4-door sedan concept
Engine: 200-kilowatt (268-hp) electric with small gasoline engine to extend range
Who designed it: Ralph Gilles, Chrysler vice president of design
What's cool: Rear-drive sedan hints at what a future Chrysler mid-sized sedan might look like. The 200C features an advanced version of Chrysler's uconnect interactive communications system, which links the vehicle to smart phones.
Will it be built? Unlikely. The 200C is built on a shortened version of Chrysler's 300 platform. A mid-sized sedan probably will be built on a front-drive platform.
Show reaction: 2 thumbs up
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