Fun Stuff

Top 7 Best Concept Cars from 2023

Automakers create concept cars for many reasons. They can hint at a future design direction, promote a new type or segment of vehicle, or, for the vast majority of recent examples, hint at a future production model set to go on sale to the public in the not-too-distant future. Alphabetically, here are the best concept cars that debuted in 2023.

BMW Vision Neue Klasse

Like the original Neue Klasse (German for “new class”) cars that turned around the company’s fortunes in the 1960s, the 2023 BMW Vision Neue Klasse concept hails a radical change in the company’s future models. The modern Neue Klasse architecture will spawn a range of electric vehicles using BMW’s sixth-generation eDrive battery technology, promising a 25 per cent increase in overall efficiency compared to its current EVs.

Externally, this year’s Vision Neue Klasse concept features hallmark BMW design elements like the Hofmeister C-pillar kink and kidney grille housed in a reverse-angled shark nose. Muted textile surfaces herald a new take on luxury that offers another option compared to more extravagant rival brands. While the Vision Neue Klasse concept suggests a future 3 Series-sized sedan, don’t be surprised if a Neue Klasse iX3 compact SUV arrives first.

Honda Prelude

Like BMW, Honda pushes the nostalgia button with its new Prelude concept. As one of the best-handling front-wheel drive cars of its time, four generations of Prelude 2+2 coupes put Honda on the map with driving enthusiasts between the late 1970s and 1990s. This year’s Prelude concept aims for the same goals but with environmentally friendlier hybrid or EV power.

Although a concept, the Prelude doesn’t promote wild features that couldn’t be transferred to a final production version. Honda hasn’t revealed any engineering specs on the Prelude’s gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain or which platform it will use. But with Honda no longer offering two-door Civic or Accords, expect the production Prelude to ride on one of those existing platforms.

Genesis X Convertible

It’s been 15 years since Hyundai launched its first luxury vehicle: the 2008 Genesis sedan. Initially perceived as a rival to Japan’s Acura, Infiniti, and Lexus luxury brands, the first Genesis four-door was benchmarked against the contemporary BMW 5 Series, projecting the brand’s loftier goals. With a full lineup of cars and SUVs with gas, hybrid, and electric powertrains, the standalone luxury brand continues to evolve with this year’s Genesis X Convertible concept.

As the third in a trio of range-topping Genesis concepts that preview key styling cues that will adorn the luxury automaker’s future electric vehicles, the open-roof, four-door X Convertible follows the Genesis X Concept two-door and Genesis X Speedium Coupe concepts. Design highlights include a new, lighted version of the brand’s crest grille and some details already popping up in today’s models. For example, the concept’s horizontal quad rear lights closely match those on the Electrified GV70.

Mazda Iconic SP

The Iconic SP concept blends two of Mazda’s signature attributes: rotary power and sexy sports car styling. Mazda’s first rotary engine model, the 1967 Cosmo Sport, was followed by the RX series of sports cars, ending with the RX-8 in 2012. But the rotary returns with this year’s Iconic SP gasoline-electric hybrid sports car concept, where a twin-rotor rotary engine acts as a generator to recharge the battery that powers a pair of electric motors for a claimed 365 horsepower.

As the Iconic SP is longer than the current Mazda MX-5 roadster and wears a hardtop body, Mazda isn’t saying it’s a direct precursor to a future Miata replacement or a new RX-series sports car. However, driving enthusiasts will appreciate its simplistic interior with a small screen and minimal physical switches migrating to a car they could buy. At a time when the industry is turning to electrified SUVs, the Mazda Iconic SP gives drivers a glimmer of hope that the sports car is far from dead.

Nissan Hyper Force

Have you ever wondered when Nissan would (if ever!) replace its venerable GT-R supercar in production since 2007? This year’s Hyper Force concept may be the answer. As one of Nissan’s five “hyper” themed concepts revealed this year, the Hyper Force isn’t an obvious GT-R replacement. Instead, consider it a flashy advertisement for the automaker’s future solid-state battery technology wrapped in video game-like bodywork.

Employing a version of Nissan’s “e-4ORCE” all-wheel drive system, the Hyper Force’s conceptual solid-state battery pack produces a prodigious 1,341 horsepower. Although its exterior looks wild, Nissan’s NISMO racing team had a hand in the aerodynamics. Accordingly, the concept’s steep front end and rear diffuser deliver downforce and control cooling airflow, the massive rear wing offers active aero, and an adjustable actuator controls airflow on its wheels for a more cornering grip.

Toyota EPU

As Ford can’t make enough of its Maverick compact truck to satiate sales demand, we were waiting for a competitor to come out with an affordable “Maverick fighter.” Three years in the making, it looks like the first will be Toyota. The Japanese automaker’s EPU (short for Electric PickUp) concept is a unibody quad-cab truck wider and shorter than the popular Ford, along with hybrid power with traction at all four wheels.

As a hauler, the EPU’s rear bed is extra deep to stow cargo. Its tailgate can fold down, back up, and lock in place to create a longer bed. The front of the bed can also fold for more cargo room when the second-row seating is folded, allowing for the critical 8-foot lumber length. Need to carry something longer? A centre console pass-through can take objects up to 12 feet in length. Toyota’s EPU concept could fill the automaker’s lineup gap with an affordable, fuel-efficient pickup truck – like the Maverick!

Volkswagen ID. GTI

The first VW Golf GTI was a revelation: an affordable and useful performance vehicle that could humble many pricier and less efficient sports cars at a time when the costs of owning one were spiralling out of control with rising fuel prices and overall economic inflation in the 1970s. A half-century later, VW’s new ID. GTI concept targets today’s driving enthusiasts experiencing similar financial challenges.

The ID. GTI is a teaser of a sporty version of VW’s battery-electric ID.2 small car due in 2025. Taking cues from the first-generation Golf from 1976, the new concept wears long-standing GTI touches like a sporty body kit, alloy wheels, and red highlights. Inside, you’ll find Mark I GTI-inspired tartan seats and a golf ball dimpled drive selector that mimics the original hot hatchback’s manual gear knob. The world may be different 50 years later, but the GTI formula applied to a production version of the ID.2 could be just the ticket for driving enthusiasts on a budget.