The top concept cars of 2012

'Brunch' picks its favourite 'what ifs' of the year _ and singles out one that really should not be made

AUDI CROSSLANE COUPE

What is it: This is what Audi's new entry-level SUV, sitting just below the Q3, could look like.

What's cool: Budding business managers yearning for an up-market crossover baby should like the Crosslane for its three-door package and Audi's new design language. Likeable as well is the new frugal 1.5 litre three-pot diesel, which certainly sounds enough for the concrete jungle.

Will it be made: Audi has made no bones about wanting to build a Q2. Yes, that number of doors is enough.

LAMBORGHINI URUS

What is it: Lamborghini dearly wants to offer a third model in its line-up in the guise of this striking SUV.

What's cool: Okay, super luxury SUVs may not be politically correct when the world is going green. But, hey, people with fat wallets simply love them judging from the number of Porsche Cayennes plying the roads, and the Urus looks particularly awesome with its arrow-like body inherited from today's Aventador flagship.

Will it be made: Lambo says 2016 at earliest. Why so long?

LEXUS LF-LC

What is it: A gorgeous 2+2 coupe to potentially rival the BMW 6 Series that won Concept Car of the Show award in Detroit early this year. It also wooed Thais at the 2012 Motor Expo earlier this month.

What's cool: Just look at it _ it simply has a jaw-dropping profile and bold-looking face to make the 6 Series look utterly bland and bloated. Lexus hasn't discussed what's underneath the LF-LC's bonnet, but we'd say a sporty hybrid powertrain is perfect for the brand's image.

Will it be made: Lexus still says chances of the LF-LC making production is 50:50. Hope it's a dead cert by New Year's Day.

HONDA NSX CONCEPT

What is it: Another on-and-off preview of Honda's second-generation supercar. To be precise, this is the fourth concept car previewing the next NSX.

What's cool: Although its angular and wedgy looks could draw frowns from some enthusiasts, there's a sense of distinction in this latest concept car to make it stand out from the crowd. The pledged drivetrain also sounds promising _ clever four-wheel-drive system, quick-shifting dual-clutch automatic and V6 petrol power hooked up to electric motors that can both cut fuel consumption and boost performance.

Will it be made: Honda says by 2015. Hope we won't be let down for a fourth time.

MERCEDES-BENZ CONCEPT STYLE COUPE

What is it: A preview of the svelte saloon version of the latest generation A-Class.

What's cool: The CSC is not merely pointing to a four-door derivative of the A-Class but also to a sporty variation with framless windows on all portals. Simply put, it's been conceived as a junior CLS with more affordable prices.

Will it be made: Next year, to be called CLA. Hope the looks won't be diluted too much, as what usually happens to concept cars when reaching production.

PORSCHE PANAMERA GRAN TURISMO

What is it: A concept car previewing three things for Porsche _ an estate version of the Panamera, an updated plug-in hybrid system and new instrument binnacle.

What's cool: Okay, this is a load-lugging car, but the Gran Turismo surely looks the part when some might say that the Shooting Brake of the Mercedes-Benz CLS is overdone. Pundits believe that the Panamera estate will be influencing the look of the facelifted model due in less than two years.

Will it be made: It should have been made ever since the Panamera was born.

HONDA CONCEPT S

What is it: A stylish, racy-looking mini-MPV pointing to a new dedicated hybrid-powered Honda.

What's cool: Of all the mass-market concept cars debuted this year, the Concept S is arguably the best of all to look at. You can even stretch your imagination further and hope that the Concept S could inspire the looks of the all-new Jazz due before 2014.

Will it be made: Probably, but not as the third-gen Jazz which, we hear, will continue with its blandness into the next generation.

BENTLEY EXP 9F

What it is: Like affiliated marque Lamborghini, Bentley wants to offer a third model in the guise of a top-end SUV.

What's cool: In our eyes, nothing, perhaps because you really can't imagine a punter with more than 20 million baht to spend wanting to be driven in car looking like a modern-day horse-drawn carriage.

Will it be made: Bentley, if you must, please go back to the drawing board.

About the author

columnist
Writer: Richard Leu
Position: Motoring news Editor