Yes, You Can Drive That Exotic Auto Show Concept!
There’s no better place to search for a new car than at an auto show, where attendees can research and evaluate hundreds and hundreds of production vehicles from every manufacturer, making it a great way for women to cross shop their preferred selection of brands and models without the pressure of a salesperson trying to make a sale.
But parked alongside those production models can be found a small but exotic selection of concept cars; automotive eye candy built to demonstrate special features or cutting-edge technology that may eventually trickle down into production models. Costing millions of dollars to create, these spectacular vehicles are beautiful to look at, but are often crushed when auto show season is over, never to be driven by the average consumer.
However, that's changed in the last year. Using the theme 'Vision Gran Turismo,' Sony Computer Entertainment celebrated its popular driving game's 15th anniversary by challenging the world's leading automotive manufacturers and design studios to develop concept models that give a unique insight into the future of the automobile. Because of this global automotive assigment, this year's auto show circuit presented some high-tech exotic concepts that actually can be driven -- right in your living room, at the console of your family's video gaming system.
More than just research into future models, these exceptional concepts from Chevrolet, Infiniti, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen on display at this year's auto shows have digital counterparts that you can drive from the comfort of your own couch. You can't buy them, but these cars are available for free download in Gran Turismo®6 (GT6™) exclusively on the Sony PlayStation®3 system so players can actually “drive” these fabulous exotics on some of the greatest racetracks in the world. What better way to indulge your desire to drive fast without fear of injuring yourself or your kids, damaging property, or getting a ticket that might affect your insurance rates?
Chevrolet's radical Chaparral 2X VGT concept was inspired by the innovative race cars created when Chevrolet partnered with Chaparral Racing more than 45 years ago. “This concept is an audacious and ambitious vision -- and one that demonstrates to a new audience how Chevy’s engineering and design teams challenge norms and explore the technologies of tomorrow,” said Clay Dean, executive director of advanced design, at its launch at the Los Angeles Auto Show. “It's also an ode to a unique partnership that pioneered ground-breaking technologies that are used today on the track and the street.” With a 671-kW laser, powered by a pack of lithium-ion batteries, and an air-powered generator to provide 900 horsepower worth of thrust, the Chaparral 2X VGT will be capable of a 240-mph top speed in the video game with 0-60 acceleration capability of 1.5 seconds. While Chevrolet continues to use racing programs to test and develop new technologies and materials, don't expect to see anything like the Chaparral on the streets or racetrack in real life!
The first gaming concept car ever created by Infiniti was developed at the brand-new Infiniti Beijing Design Center. Part beauty, part beast, its shape is powerful, sensual, and audacious –- a mix of a track machine and the dream of Infiniti's Chinese design team to create an ambitious racing language for Infiniti. But it goes beyond digital beauty, development of the game car actually translates into real-world data for future vehicle designs. It included thorough examinations and calculations of technical features such as aerodynamics and engine performance. The front mid-ship/trans-axle powertrain enables the finely distributed 45:55 front/rear weight balance that fills users with the joy of driving by actively drifting the rear. As for aerodynamics, the under-floor airflow control, front and back diffusers, and uniquely shaped rear spoiler enable this car to demonstrate high performance without compromising body design.
According to Kyle Bazemore, Senior Manager of Infiniti Communications, the game car gives players a sense of what the company stands for as a brand, and where it's going in the future. "Many of these players may have not had any interaction with our brand and vehicles," explains Bazemore, "so this is a great way for them to get to know Infiniti. This also helps us determine what resonates with this important demographic, allowing us to better plan our vehicles for the future."
Mercedes-Benz designers developed their sleek concept Gran Turismo sports car using extreme proportions, sensual contours, and high tech features to create a breathtaking body. A particularly eye-catching feature is the radiator grille -- a reinterpretation of the wide Mercedes-Benz sports car grille with central star, reminiscent of the legendary 300 SL racing car of 1952. However, instead of classic louvres, the grille of the show car is made exclusively of variable LEDs with different light patterns, and demonstrates a further development of the diamond grille found on the new A-Class.
This exercise in exquisite virtual reality has toured the auto show circuit for the last year as a real-life 1:1 scale model, but can also be downloaded into PS3 for your virtual driving pleasure. Underhood, the car is powered by a 585-horsepower 5.5-liter twin-turbo V-8 that boasts a whopping 590 lb-ft of torque. Pundits say the design of the AMG Vision Gran Turismo offers a few clues as to the styling of the forthcoming GT AMG, the successor to the iconic SLS and the brand’s future halo offering.
In reality, the Mercedes-Benz lineup represents a predictable, traditional alternative to such sporty, youth-oriented brands as Audi and BMW. In virtual reality, a concept car like the AMG Vision Gran Turismo with its outrageous styling and the promise of massive power, excellent performance, and world-class drivability helps potential buyers see the brand from a different viewpoint.
Painted an intense, radiant red and trimmed with matte-black carbon fibre, the Volkswagen Design Vision GTI Roadster is powered by a 3.0-liter V-6 twin-turbocharged engine that produces 503 horsepower and a mighty 413 pound-feet of torque. That power gets to the ground via a 20-inch wheel-and-tire combination driven by a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and Volkswagen's 4MOTION® all-wheel-drive system. The lightweight, 3,133-pound sports convertible sprints from 0 to 60 mph in an estimated 3.5 seconds and reaches a top track speed of 192 mph. For all this real-world performance equipment and data, the show car itself was built from three-dimensional virtual computer designs that allowed its developers to overlook real-world production constraints like price and production feasibility to produce the most spectacular Golf GTI ever, downloadable from GT6 to drive in-game for free.
According to Darryll Harrison, Manager of Brand Public Relations for Volkswagen, popular real-life models like the Volkswagen Golf and GTI are already in-game and playable with the Gran Turismo crowd -- and also relatively attainable for purchase by the enthusiast consumer. Harrison says, "This supercar concept is more for the high-performance enthusiast gamer, a reminder that we're thinking of them."
You Really CAN Drive Them!
With the New York Auto Show just around the corner, these are gorgeous and exotic concepts you'll want to keep your eyes open for, knowing that you really can drive them -- in your video console's virtual environment.