Auto shows are the ultimate venue to experience the latest cars in one location, and although new production models are always fun to check out, the real excitement at auto shows comes from seeing one-of-a-kind concept cars. Unfortunately the ongoing pandemic canceled most of the world’s major auto shows again in 2021, although car companies still found creative ways to reveal and showcase their latest concept machines. Typically created as canvases for future technology or next-generation styling, concept cars add an extra level of excitement for the buying public. Take a few moments to feast your eyes on these amazing machines — the concept cars that debuted in 2021.
When it comes to high-performance BMWs, for auto enthusiasts the letter M represents the fastest, most powerful variants in the German automaker’s lineup. In 2021 BMW provided some insight into the future of M versions with the debut of the Concept XM. Not only does the BMW Concept XM boast extreme power, it also showcases the future design of the brand’s luxury X models. When the production version of the Concept XM arrives in late 2022, it will be the first standalone BMW M model since the legendary BMW M1 took the world by storm 50 years ago. The XM will also be the most powerful BMW M car ever to go into series production, available exclusively as a plug-in hybrid.
Powering the Concept XM — and likely the production version as well — is a V8 engine teamed with a high-performance electric motor for a combined output of 750 horsepower and 737 lb-ft of torque. BMW estimates the Concept XM can travel up to 30 miles on electric power alone. The front end of the Concept XM is dominated by a large kidney grille that features M-style double bars that add depth to the space. Extremely slim running lights and headlights hidden behind dark glass make the grille look proportionately even larger. Inside, the seats, doors and dashboard are swathed in vintage-looking brown leather with copper and carbon fiber trim — a sophisticated blending of luxury and performance. The Concept XM features the advanced BMW Curved Display, which merges infotainment and driver information into one large screen.
Based on the 2020 limited-edition Challenger R/T Scat Pack Widebody 50th Anniversary, this Holy Guacamole concept combines the best of both worlds: the power and technology of a modern Challenger with attributes from the original 1970s version. Dodge designers named the green exterior color Rotten Avocado; the car features a custom-painted shaker hood scoop.
The Challenger Holy Guacamole features unique tone-on-tone striping and rides on a Mopar coil-over suspension lowering kit with staggered 20-inch Forgeline wheels. Under the functional hood scoop sits a Mopar cold-air intake, conical air filter and optimized airbox for the 392 HEMI V8 engine. Inside, Holy Guacamole pays tribute ‘70s decor with wood trim and green and yellow plaid inserts for the seats and door panels.
Hyundai arrived at the 2021 Los Angeles Auto Show with a look to the future in the form of the SEVEN concept — an advanced sport-utility electric vehicle. The SEVEN concept is built on the Hyundai Motor Group’s Electric Global Modular Platform. This dedicated battery-electric undercarriage features a long wheelbase and a flat floor, making it possible to create a completely new class of vehicle such as the SEVEN. Hyundai engineers say the SEVEN would have a range of more than 300 miles with ultra-fast charging capability, with the ability to go from a mere 10 percent to 80 percent charge in about 20 minutes.
The SEVEN takes advantage of its flat floor by incorporating a unique, inviting interior. Rather than the traditional three-row SUV layout, the SEVEN features a curved bench seat with swiveling lounge chairs to create an interior that feels more living room than vehicle. The SEVEN can be operated in autonomous driving mode, which allows the seats to be rearranged for a more intimate space. Hyundai also uses sustainable materials to outfit the SEVEN, including mineral plaster, bamboo trim and carpet, bio resin, copper, and hygienically treated fabric with antibacterial functions so surfaces stay clean. To further protect its occupants, SEVEN activates UVC interior sterilization once people vacate the vehicle.
The Wrangler 4xe concept functions as a design palette, offering a look at how owners of Jeep’s new plug-in electric SUV could customize their vehicles for improved performance with factory-backed parts and accessories from Jeep Performance Parts. This custom SEMA build begins with a JPP 2-inch lift kit with FOX shocks specifically tuned for the Wrangler 4xe, and JPP Beadlock-capable wheels, with functional beadlock rings, mounted with BFGoodrich KM3 37-inch tires. The JPP stamped steel front bumper features a custom single-hoop winch protector with an LED light positioned above a Warn winch, while underbody rock lights at all four corners illuminate the ground. A JPP Gorilla Glass windshield is three times stronger than stock glass, and LED lights sit at the base of the A-pillars.
The Jeep Performance Parts tube doors and rock rails of the Wrangler 4xe concept are painted in a premium Ivory Pearl color with original accents including custom fender and hood graphics painted in Dark Neutral Metallic Grey. A JPP swing gate hinge reinforcement allows a full-size spare wheel and tire to be mounted on the swing gate. Inside, seats are swathed in Mopar Blue Katzkin leather with tungsten stitching, sitting on a concept 3-piece JPP vinyl floor with four drain plugs for cleaning. A custom JPP instrument panel rail system holds items such as cell phones or cameras. This Wrangler 4xe concept also features a custom trail-rail system to secure gear, a JPP swing-gate flip-down table, and a custom onboard compressor integrated into the tailgate.
The Overlook concept began as a 4-door Wrangler Unlimited with the interior extended by 12 inches to add a third-row seat. A stepped roof adds an additional 5 inches and includes side and front-facing windows. Above the driver and front-seat passenger, a custom removable one-piece Freedom Top includes a flip-up glass sunroof. Wrangler Overlook rides on a Jeep Performance Parts 2-inch lift kit with FOX shocks and 20-inch Black Rhino York wheels mounted with 37-inch BFGoodrich KM3 mud-terrain tires.
A narrower stamped steel front bumper from Jeep Performance Parts improves the Wrangler Overlook concept’s approach angle and includes integrated LED fog lights. The grille gets finished in Satin Black and the concept hood includes black Mopar hood latches with the Jeep Willys logo. The custom rear bumper extends around the rear fenders to the wheel arches. The interior features black Katzkin leather seats and a black leather-wrapped dashboard with Sahara Bronze accents to match the exterior. The seat inserts are Raven Black suede with a hexed stitch pattern, and the front seats have an embroidered Jeep grille logo.
The Grand Cherokee L Breckenridge is finished in a sleek two-tone combination of Magnetite matte/metallic with a gloss black roof and satin bronze accents. Split 5-spoke 21-inch Mopar wheels are also finished in gloss black, and the package gets completed with a roof-mounted piano black Thule cargo box.
The interior of the Grand Cherokee L Breckenridge concept features Atmospheric Blue Palermo leather seats, as well as door panels with blue quilting and premium satin walnut trim. The rich interior design adds satin bronze and black accents on the instrument panel, door panels and steering wheel in contrast with the Atmospheric Blue leather. The package also includes Jeep-branded Olivet hard-shell luggage and Atmospheric Blue pillows.
Perhaps the most “traditional” concept built for the 2021 Easter Jeep Safari, the Orange Peelz is based on a classic 2-door Wrangler. To enhance the open-air feeling of the Wrangler, the Orange Peelz features JPP half doors, and the Jeep’s side and rear windows have been removed. The concept also features a custom removable one-piece Freedom Top glass sunroof. The Orange Peelz stands out thanks to its bright exterior paint called — you guessed it — Orange Peelz. The custom hood gets black Mopar hood latches and a Jeep Willys logo. The concept’s JPP 5-inch off-road LED lights are mounted to each A-pillar or lighting the trail at night. For extra protection from flying debris, the special Mopar windshield is constructed with Corning Gorilla Glass, which is 52 percent thicker than a typical windshield.
Clearly ready to tackle the most extreme off-road terrain, the Orange Peelz features a JPP 2-inch lift kit with FOX shocks for added ground clearance, as well as 37-inch BF Goodrich KM3 mud-terrain tires with Mopar valve stem caps. Up front, the Orange Peelz sports a custom JPP Rubicon steel bumper with a 2-inch steel grille guard and a JPP 8,000-pound capacity Rubicon Warn winch. Custom rock rails add extra protection for radical off-roading. Inside, the Orange Peelz concept is trimmed in orange plaid to match the exterior color. Additional orange stitching appears throughout the cabin. Stainless steel pedal covers with rubber pads add to this Jeep’s exclusive styling.
With cabin fever at a peak these days, the Jeep Farout concept may be the ultimate escape vehicle. Built on a 2021 Jeep Gladiator, the Farout features a customized deployable AT Overland Equipment Habitat Truck Topper. Compact when folded, the Habitat topper unfolds to create a 16-foot long and 7.5-foot tall tent that can sleep up to four people. When fully open, the topper creates an awning at the back — a perfect space to use the slideout mini kitchen — complete with refrigerator and stove.
Jeep outfits the Farout with all the goodies needed to go, well, far out. Painted in Earl with Chartreuse accents, this special Gladiator features a JPP 2-inch lift kit, 37-inch mud-terrain tires, a 12,000-pound Warn winch, custom front and rear rock rails and FOX performance shocks. Power comes from Jeep’s 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 engine that not only provides the requisite potency for getting away from it all, but also delivers more than 425 miles of driving range.
In the late 1960s, the Jeepster Commando came to market as one of the first compact 4-wheel-drive vehicles with an automatic transmission. It also introduced a range of amenities not typically found in off-road-ready vehicles, including doors, roll-up windows, a heater and a roof. At the 2021 Easter Jeep Safari, the company paid homage to the original with the Jeepster Beach concept. The foundation of the Jeepster Beach concept begins with a 1968 Jeepster Commando that engineers merged with a 2020 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon. While the exterior appearance is that of the classic beach-themed cruiser —complete with its Hazy IPA / Zinc Oxide paint scheme — the concept boasts all the performance and capability of a modern-day Wrangler.
Inside, the Jeepster Beach concept gets red-leather-trimmed low-back bucket seats and a 4-point safety cage. The rear seat has been removed for added cargo capacity, and the lighter-colored dashboard plays well with the fully red interior — surf stickers add to the beachy theme. A 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine powers the Jeepster Beach concept, producing a healthy 340 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. That power gets directed to the concept’s 35-inch off-road tires via an 8-speed automatic transmission.
Perhaps the toughest of the seven concept vehicles that Jeep introduced at the 2021 Moab Easter Jeep Safari is the Red Bare concept. Built on the very capable Gladiator Rubicon, the Red Bare concept features a Jeep Performance Parts 2-inch lift kit, 17-inch matte black wheels fitted with massive 37-inch mud-terrain tires, a cargo bed-mounted sport bar, Sand Slider rock rails and factory steel bumpers with an integrated Warn winch. Fire Cracker Red paint complements the bold styling of the Red Bare concept, as well as custom matte black graphics, gold accents and a matte-black grille. Designers adopted the aggressive hood from the Gladiator Mojave and completed the look with a black soft-top and half doors.
A 3.0-liter turbocharged diesel engine motivates the Red Bare Gladiator, making 260 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque; the engine is paired with a TorqueFlite 8-speed automatic transmission. Adding to the concept’s off-road abilities are Dana 44 front and rear heavy-duty axles and a 91:1 crawl ratio for handling the toughest terrain. Inside, the Red Bare concept suggests a cozy vibe with Katzkin Black leather seats sporting custom red flannel inserts. The red flannel material also trims the dashboard, and red stitching throughout reinforces the look.
Based on a 2-door Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, the Jeep Magneto is designed as a fully capable battery-electric vehicle. Although the Rubicon’s running gear remains primarily unchanged, Jeep replaced the V6 with a custom-built axial flux electric motor tuned to deliver the same output as the V6: 285 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. The motor is even teamed with a 6-speed manual gearbox. Power for the Jeep Magneto concept comes from four battery packs spread throughout the chassis to maintain proper vehicle balance. The regular fuel tank is replaced by one battery pack and another is opposite that pack. Another one sits under the hood atop the motor, while the fourth battery brings up the rear by replacing the exhaust muffler.
Even though the Magneto is clearly a concept vehicle, Jeep hopes it demonstrates the advantages of an electric powertrain when attacking extreme terrain. For example, rock climbing requires smooth and steady power delivery — stalling or accelerating too quickly in a precarious position can be dangerous. Thanks to the electric drivetrain, the motor cannot stall while torque gets delivered with precise control. Batteries as well as the battery control module get stored in waterproof enclosures so the Wrangler keeps its ability to traverse water as deep as 30 inches. Created to handle the toughest terrain, the Magneto is equipped with a 2-inch lift kit, 35-inch mud-terrain tires fitted to 17-inch Lights Out black metallic wheels, a custom roll cage, Mopar Rock Rails, a steel belly pan and an integrated Warn winch.
Painted Desert Tan, the Kaiser Jeep M725 Concept is a 1967 Kaiser Jeep M725 military ambulance reconfigured to create an off-road support vehicle. Powered by a Mopar 392 Crate HEMI V8 engine that produces 485 horsepower and 475 lb-ft of torque, the Kaiser Jeep M725 concept rides on its original reinforced frame with the original leaf-springs replaced by a heavy-duty link/coil suspension. Power gets delivered through a vintage TorqueFlite 727 transmission.
The custom roof panel over the cargo area of the Kaiser Jeep M725 Concept can be raised 16 inches to create standing room for off-road support personnel using the vehicle. On the driver’s side, an open panel creates space for food and beverage service or parts distribution. At the front, the vehicle features 7-inch LED headlights flanked by pairs of Jeep Performance Parts 5-inch off-road LED lights. Wheels are 20-inch Black Rhino Armory rollers wrapped with 40-inch tires. Inside, the Kaiser Jeep M725 features low-back Wrangler seats in tan canvas, as well as a custom steering wheel and modern gauges.
Shortly after the launch of Kia’s EV6 electric car, at the L.A. Auto Show the Korea-based automaker revealed what might be up next: the Concept EV9. Like the EV6, this eye-catching concept is a dedicated electric vehicle built on the Hyundai Motor Group’s Electric Global Modular Platform. The large family-size SUV features bold styling that looks a bit like the Kia Soul, but on a much larger scale. Kia says the front of the Concept EV9 has what the automaker calls a Digital Tiger Face, with headlights that remain hidden until use. The “face” provides a “welcome light” when the driver approaches, and also incorporates unique vertical daytime running lights. A hood duct helps improve aerodynamics, as do retractable roof rails.
The large shape and flat floor of the Concept EV9 create a roomy interior that can be configured with two or three rows of seats. An interactive 27-inch display is designed to be the center of all occupant activity with media, climate and comfort controls. The interior setup gets dictated by one of three modes: Active, Pause and Enjoy. Active Mode is a standard seating configuration while the vehicle is moving; the other two are enabled when the EV9 is stopped. Pause Mode creates a lounge-like atmosphere by rotating the front seats to the rear so the first and third rows face each other; the second row can be reconfigured into a table. Enjoy Mode turns all seats to the rear and opens the large tailgate, giving all passengers the ability to connect with the exterior environment.
Ford’s luxury brand introduced a new concept vehicle last summer at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance — the Lincoln Aviator Shinola concept. The result of a collaboration between Lincoln and Detroit-based design brand Shinola, the Aviator concept SUV reflects Shinola’s approachable luxury. Shinola is known for leather goods, watches, and bicycles — as well as the Shinola Hotel in Detroit. The Lincoln Aviator Shinola Concept incorporates design touches inspired by Shinola products and signature elements. The Lincoln’s soft-white exterior paint color is inspired by Shinola’s iconic mother of pearl stone watch dials with hints of blue, while copper accents echo the copper-plated structure of the Shinola Runwell bike seat.
Inside, this Lincoln Aviator concept also carries Shinola design elements with Shinola whiskey leather combined with creme suede — both chosen to coordinate with the exterior color. The seat pattern also incorporates stripes inspired by Shinola luggage straps. The instrument panel and second-row console of the Aviator Shinola Concept reflect industrial luxury with a woven metal mesh that includes copper accents — a direct reference to the Shinola watchband. Aside from the metal trim, every surface of the dash, door panels and console get swathed in soft-touch materials for a premium tactile experience. The Aviator Shinola Concept remains strictly a concept at this time; however, Lincoln has a long history of designer models and co-branded trims. The Aviator Shinola appears to be a logical addition to the Aviator lineup, bringing together two Detroit brands.
Plenty of beautiful cars adorned the Porsche stand at the 2021 Los Angeles Auto Show, but the Mission R easily took the prize as sexiest of all. A car built for an electric racing series that unfortunately doesn’t exist yet, the Mission R features sustainable lightweight construction with the performance level of a current Porsche 911 GT3 cup car. This full-electric racing study puts the battery in the center of car rather than below, which allows the lowest possible seating position for the driver.
This mid-engine concept is designed to deliver power for 30 minutes of racing action, followed by rapid charging thanks to the 900V technology of the Porsche Turbo Charging system. On winding stretches that don’t require full throttle, the Mission R can recover as much as 800kW, absorbing almost as much power as the output of the two electric motors. Unfortunately the Mission R is only a design study, and there are no plans to put this gorgeous race car into production.
The TRX RexRunner concept is based on the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX pickup, powered by a supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI V8 engine producing 702 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque. Finished in Ash Gray paint, the TRX RexRunner adds a number of Mopar Blue accents including a center stripe, TRX graphics, a Ram grille and front tow hooks. The TRX RexRunner rides on custom 18-inch Black Rhino Chamber wheels with 37-inch Goodyear tires.
The TRX RexRunner features a RamBar accessory bar fitted with a pair of concept 14-inch TYRI rectangular LED lights providing bright illumination for off-road driving. Below the RamBar sits a Mopar bed-mounted spare-tire carrier with a 37-inch spare wheel and tire. Custom metal skidplates feature laser-etched Mopar lettering, and the front skidplate increases the approach angle by 2.3 degrees up to 32.5 degrees. Below the rear bumper, the stunning package gets finished with a pair of 5-inch black Mopar exhaust tips.
The Outdoorsman concept — based on the Ram 1500 Big Horn Crew Cab 4 x 4 — is designed to carry equipment to a jobsite but easily transform into an ideal truck for outdoor activities. Painted gloss black with custom Mopar blue graphics, the Outdoorsman concept features a two-position aluminum Mopar bed-rack system that runs the full width of the bed to carry ladders and plywood for work, or a kayak and bike for after work.
Engineers modified the Ram 1500 Outdoorsman with a Mopar 2-inch lift kit as well as FOX shocks and split 6-spoke 20-inch Black Rhino wheels with 35-inch Continental tires. A custom RamGate bench gets added to the inside of the tailgate with a T-track mounting system. The side rails add new Mopar lightweight tube steps with black textured paint. Inside, the seats feature Mopar Blue Katzkin leather side bolsters with Sydney Grey accent leather and Alloy-Mesh cloth inserts.