The cars of the future we want now
You know the meme about how we'd be all zipping around in flying cars by now?
Yeah, well, that's hasn't quite happened yet, but you have to admit the present is a pretty amazing place. Even the most humble car today could probably run rings around a sports car from 30 years ago. But the present could be even more amazing; if only carmakers could speed up the process and put these awesome concept cars into production.
The most brilliant inventions come about when equally brilliant people find answers to problems you never knew existed. The question the Volvo 360c concept answers is "what if you could have a mobile studio apartment?"
More than just a means of getting you from points A to B, Volvo says the future of autonomous vehicles could be "a sleeping environment, mobile office, living room and entertainment space". Or, in other words, a studio apartment on wheels.
Volvo's vision of the autonomous car also sees it being used as a personal first-class airline cabin that picks you up and drops you off door to door for short-haul flights. A future where we could drive to Kuala Lumpur without actually having to go sit through the mind-numbing highway drive or the minor horrors of airports? Sign us up, please.
Porsche Mission E Cross Turismo
If there's one carmaker that's currently leading a blessed existence, it would be Porsche. Everything the chaps from Stuttgart touch seem to turn to gold, in more ways than one.
This electric concept car's close cousin has recently been christened the Taycan, and pre-release demand has been so strong, Porsche is considering upping production numbers. Given that success, we see the Mission E Cross Turismo being a potential best-seller for the brand as well.
And what we see, we like. A jacked-up, toughened-up Taycan running silently and speedily (it has 600hp, it is a Porsche after all) through the streets seems like the sort of thing to make the third decade of the 21st century look like our ideal vision of the future.
Aston Martin Volante Vision
If the words "luxury personal air mobility" hasn't yet piqued your interest, perhaps seeing the Aston Martin Volante Vision will. With space for you and two of your closest friends/business associates/royal consorts, the Volante Vision is set to revolutionise the way the rich and powerful tackle inter-city commutes.
Sure, you could have a helicopter right now, but we're willing to bet even the coolest chopper doesn't look as cool as Aston Martin's sci-fi vision of what personal short-distance air travel could look like.
And what a beautiful vision it is. The product of Aston Martin design boss Marek Reichman and his dream factory, the Volante Vision is proof that is anything is worth doing, it's worth doing stylishly. We'll have ours in British Racing Green, please.
Audi PB18 e-tron
While plenty of electric vehicles today have some form of autonomous driving baked into them, the Audi PB18 e-tron — despite its electric nature — benefits from no such silicon help. Which is the entire point of the car, says Audi.
Further underlining this is how the driver's seat and controls (contained in a one-piece section like a space-age dentist's chair) of the PB18 e-tron can slide into a central position like a Formula One race car.
But our favourite thing about the car is its silhouette, taking the form of a shooting brake, a once-in-vogue sports car bodystyle that is halfway between a low-slung coupe and a station wagon. While it's highly unlikely that Audi will ever produce this, if there was a car that could make shooting brakes great again, this would be it.
Just like how local hipsters delight in the fusion of the retro and the ultra-modern, so do some carmakers. Peugeot, for example does the same thing. It has resurrected the 504 Coupe from the late 1960s in the e-Legend concept and injected it with a healthy dose of modernity.
As its name implies, the e-Legend is an all-electric vehicle with a big helping of autonomous driving capabilities. The occupants are able to select the level of autonomous driving assistance they require, with critical information projected on a 49-inch screen that forms the entirety of the vehicle's dashboard.
In more examples of high technology enabling the retro touches to work, the aforementioned screen is joined by 15 others that displays a bronze filigree and unvarnished, open-pore wood. Oh, and its seats come in a colour, material and shape reminiscent of the e-Legend's forebear, the 504 Coupe. And of course, it's upholstered in cyan velour. Was there any other colour or material?