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The 2017 Detroit Auto Show was not the most exciting one in history, but it’s really a sign of the times.
Crazy, pie-in-the-sky concept cars are getting tougher and tougher for automakers to justify because they cost a lot of money to make and if they don’t preview an upcoming or future model, it’s not enough to just create one for the sake of making a splash. In the past, automakers used to make really flashy, wild concepts just for fun or to one-up each other, but the can’t really do that these days of austere budgets and cutbacks.
There weren’t that many concept car debuts at the North American International Auto Show this year, as many of the cool ones like the Subaru Viziv-7 and Lexus UX, among others, already debuted late last year, even if they were present at this show. Here are the Top 5 (and only 5, actually) concept car debuts at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show.
5. Lightning McQueen
OK, so this isn’t really a concept vehicle, but the star of Disney/Pixar’s Cars movie franchise made an appearance at the Detroit Auto Show this year. The timing of Lightning McQueen’s appearance coincides with the release of the new trailer for Cars 3, which has a lot of people excited for the new movie. The movie comes out in theaters on June 16.
4. Nissan VMotion 2.0 Concept
This Nissan concept mainly exists to preview the Japanese automaker’s plans for its autonomous driving technology, although it also hints at what its next Maxima family sedan could look like. Nissan says this sharp electric sedan concept should be capable of fully autonomous driving and will be totally connected to make life for busy professionals easier.
3. Volkswagen ID Buzz Concept
As a modern interpretation of the hippie microbus from the 1960s and ’70s, this Volkswagen concept merges modern and retro in a cute and quirky package. This ID Buzz concept is fully autonomous and all electric, and features a reconfigurable and swanky interior. It’s not the first time Volkswagen has come out with a microbus concept, but that doesn’t take away from how much we like this one.
2. Infiniti QX50 Concept
The Infiniti QX50 Concept might the one of the prettiest crossovers we have ever seen. Instead of the super aggressive lines and crazy angles of most SUVs these days, the Infiniti has a swoopy, beautiful design. The best part is that 90 percent of the exterior design for this concept will carry over to the production model, which is coming soon.
1. Audi Q8 Concept
Taking our top spot for the best concept debut at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show is the Audi Q8 Concept, which previews a new full-size coupe SUV offering that will be produced soon. As one of the best-looking “coupe SUVs” out there, this one manages to have proper proportions and a sharp design. More importantly, this concept is an e-Tron, which means it’s a plug-in hybrid with a combined system output of 442 horsepower and a stout 516 pound-feet of torque. Total range on a full tank of gas and a full charge is said to be 621 miles.
Watch all of our video coverage from the 2017 Detroit Auto Show in the playlist below: