Toyota Fun Vii
2011 has been a great year for concept cars, with everything from eco vehicles to supercars, to... eco supercars.
There's definitely been some imaginative shapes appearing on the motor show stands, so here are some of our favorites - in no particular order...
The writing is on the wall - or rather, expressed across the side of your vehicle. It's not in the least bit production viable but the Fun-Vii looks like Batman's weekend wheels and reflects your mood down the side of the car, so everyone knows how irritable you're getting in traffic.
When most concepts these days are previewing some form of electric drivetrain or a technology we'll not see for years, cars like the Regina, which is simply a small, aerodynamic city car with cool retro styling and a regular gasoline engine, are particularly refreshing. Build it, Suzuki!
So it's not all cars - the Vespa 46 was one of our favorite bits of design from 2011, a perfect blend of old and new in both styling and engineering, and proof that two-stroke engines can conform to modern emissions regulations.
The Mazda 6 has always been a nicely styled car, but jaws really will hit the floor if the Takeri concept becomes the next Mazda 6. It'll bring a touch of upmarket style to the relatively conservative family car market.
Take one Volkswagen up! minicar, remove two seats, give it chunky tires and paint it bright orange. What you have is the Buggy up!, a throwback to days when Beetle-based buggys sped across the sand. Added a dash of color to Volkswagen's overwhelmingly white stand at the Frankfurt Auto Show.
It didn't help with the oppressive cleanliness of VW's Frankfurt stand painted in gleaming white, but the Nils looked great. Depressingly, it also looked fairly production ready, particularly compared to the Audi Urban Concept, and yet VW has no plans to produce the Nils. Boo, hiss.
Here it is people: Absolute proof that "going green" doesn't mean sacrificing everything we know and love about cars. The i8 is one of the most striking designs in a decade, and the production car is touted to look very similar to the concept. A supercar without the super fuel bills.
Possibly the ugliest concept car of 2011, but an fun take on Mercedes-Benz's 60-year old Unimog line. You might get a bit muddy in the open cockpit, but based on the production Unimog's touch chassis you could drive it virtually anywhere.
While the Nano might be unfortunately known for spontaneous combustion, the Pixel would be hotter on a dancefloor, with its spin-on-the-spot party piece. It also previews the more upmarket look that the Nano may feature when it eventually lands in Europe.
VW has been all about efficiency in 2011, launching the up! minicar and dangling the cool Nils city electric car in front of us. The XL1 kicked off the year, pairing a range-extending diesel with electric motors in a sleek, silver shell. Another car that VW won't build, but really should.