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Diving into the best concept cars of 2023

The new year is the ideal time to reflect on the concept cars that automakers teased in 2023. Not only do these show cars offer inspiration for what’s ahead, but they also offer hope that the auto industry’s recent tumultuous years remain in the past.  

While some of these marvels will never see a street or showroom, some offer clues as to what dealers will sell in the future. Yet, they all have one thing in common: some form of electrification 

BMW Neue Klasse takes charge 

BMW’s svelte Vision Neue Klasse sedan is an electric concept car showcasing spaceship styling and a minimalist but welcoming interior. In looking into the future, the German automaker emphasized sustainable materials while highlighting technologies like seamless connectivity and advanced digital intelligence. At the same time, this EV will underpin BMW’s next-level approach to all-electric propulsion. The company’s announcement of the concept summed it up, “30 percent more range, 30 percent faster charging, 25 percent more efficiency—the Neue Klasse represents a major technological leap.” 

concept cars
The Mercedes-AMG ONE

AMG overload from Mercedes 

The AMG ONE hypercar represents the pinnacle of Formula 1 hybrid technology adapted for the road. Its complex drivetrain combines a high-revving 1.6-liter V6 with multiple electric motors for over 1000 horsepower. There are also advanced aerodynamics and lightweight materials. The Vision AMG concept previews an all-electric future for AMG’s signature high-performance vehicles. 

Nissan’s beach bum SUV 

concept cars
Nissan Ariya Surfwagon

For more grounded thrills, Nissan’s Ariya Surfcamp transforms the Ariya EV SUV into a beach bum-ready weekend warrior with a roof tent, onboard shower, and surfboard storage. The wood-look vinyl wrap, “smoothie” 20-inch wheels, and white-wall tires certainly offer a retro vibe. However, this exercise is really about exploring what customization might look like for EV owners in the future.   

Lambo goes electric 

Unveiled at Monterey Car Week 2023, the Lamborghini Lanzador concept previews the Italian automaker’s electrified future. This 2+2 Gran Turismo dubbed the “Ultra GT,” delivers over 1000 horsepower from dual electric motors while retaining Lamborghini’s recognizable styling. Think of it as a merger of the Urus SUV and Aventador supercar. Advanced technologies include active aerodynamics, rear-wheel steering, and adjustable vehicle dynamics for customizable driving modes. The Audi-owned brand plans on bringing the Lanzador to the streets in 2028.  

concept cars
Lamborghini Lanzador
Mazda Iconic SP

Mazda explores the future Miata 

With a hint of what’s ahead for the MX-5 Miata, Mazda unveiled the ICONIC SP, a compact electric sports car concept reflecting the company’s fun-to-drive ethos. Its sleek proportions, low center of gravity, and 50:50 weight distribution promise agile performance. Technical highlights include a two-rotor EV powertrain producing over 200kW of power, with the rotary generator’s compact size allowing flexible packaging and layout. 

Porsche Mission X

A new plan for Porsche performance 

Porsche debuted the all-electric Mission X hypercar concept to signal that the brand is looking beyond ICE power for record-setting performance. This prototype promises a 900-volt battery and a Formula 1-inspired plug-in hybrid powertrain technology for a power-to-weight ratio exceeding 500 hp per ton. The racing spirit continues with active aerodynamics to enhance downforce, Le Mans-style doors, and lightweight carbon fiber construction. While production isn’t confirmed for the Mission X, Porsche has one goal in mind if this ultra-high-performance racer ever becomes a reality: setting a record for the fastest lap around the Nürburgring Nordschleife. 

Honda Prelude Concept

Honda goes retro with the Prelude 

Not all concept cars have to be fantasy rides or six-figure automobiles in the waiting. Such is the case with the Honda Prelude show car teased at the 2023 Los Angeles Auto Show. While the automaker is tight on details if this concept will ever see a showroom, it sure looks production-ready (which is not unusual for Honda). All Honda will say is that the Prelude concept has a hybrid-electric powertrain. Having brought back the Acura Integra, it’s reasonable to think that Honda will continue its retro revival with a new Prelude. This nameplate first graced Honda dealers back in the 1970s.  

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David Goldberg
David Goldberg
David Goldberg is a contributing writer and reporter for CBT News. He brings a unique combination of dealership experience, a lifelong love of automobiles, and a journalism background to his writing for CBT News. He has a BA in journalism from The George Washington University.

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