Conceptually Speaking – latimes.com

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Audi Quattro

This year’s caravan of concept cars raises the question: Which of these show-stoppers will hit the streets en masse?

November 26, 2013. 2:21 p.m.

Let’s face facts: Concept vehicles are all about showing off. Built by automakers to flaunt new styling and technology, these often outlandish creations are expressly made to be floated at car shows in order to gauge public reaction to the auto world’s latest ideas and innovations.

Many concept cars are wildly eccentric statements that never come close to mass production. The “ Jetsons” -esque 1955 Lincoln Futura, with its extreme tailfins and clear-plastic double-domed roof,eventually became the Batmobile in TV’s “ Batman” series. Twelve years later, Dodge’s squat Deora pickup, which looked a bit like an El Camino repurposed as a spaceship, debuted at the Detroit Autorama and did end up mass-marketed but only as a toy.

Yet some concept cars closely resemble subsequent production models. Just two examples: the hybrid Chevrolet Volt, which debuted as a concept in 2007 before hitting showrooms in late 2010, and Honda’s sporty NSX, which first appeared in concept form in the late 1980s prior to going into production as the Acura NSX stateside in 1990.

Here’s a handful of the dozen-plus “Will they or won’t they?” concepts that are set to tease crowds at this year’s L.A. Auto Show.

Audi Quattro Sport Concept

A legendary 1980s road and rally car and the original inspiration for 5 million all-wheel-drive Audis to date the groundbreaking Quattro has lately been the subject of a heavily whispered-about revival. First came the Quattro Concept in 2010 and now, to mark the 30th birthday of the original short-wheelbase Sport Quattro, the Audi Sport Quattro Concept makes its first North American appearance at the L.A. Auto Show.

Summoning a staggering 700 horsepower from a plug-in hybrid powertrain, it seems a worthy successor to the weighty Quattro crown.

Audi Quattro

BMW Concept X4

Though BMW has been tinkering with the X4 idea since 2008, this will be the first appearance of its concept incarnation at a North American auto show. Concept or not, it’s no secret that this compact fastback crossover will soon go into production alongside existing X models at the BMW factory in Spartanburg, S.C. folks in the area report they’ve already spotted disguised prototypes on public roads.

Twin circular headlights and that signature “kidney” grille will make the X4 instantly recognizable. But BMW points out other traits, insisting that the X4’s sporty silhouette and character signify the future of the X model family.

Cadillac Elmiraj

Another North American auto show debut, the handsome Elmiraj from Cadillac is a luxurious rear-wheel-drive grand coupe closely related in design to the company’s recent Ciel convertible concept, which, incidentally, General Motors seriously considered for production. Unlike the hybrid-electric Ciel, however, the Elmiraj is propelled by a twin-turbocharged V-8 gasoline engine and shuns the former’s revivalist rear-hinged suicide doors. The Elmiraj looks ready to pull up at a red carpet event right now, so don’t be surprised if it (or something very much like it) passes you on the 405 soon.

Infiniti Q30

Audi Quattro
Audi Quattro
Audi Quattro
Audi Quattro
Audi Quattro
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