24 Times The Concept Car Was Better Than The Real Thing

Eureka! or, "I have found it!" Eureka was the word that the ancient inventor Archimedes reportedly cried when he discovered a way to test whether or not the king's jeweler was using fake gems in the crown jewels. When Archimedes lowered himself into a bath, he discovered that his added weight caused the water to rise. Through this natural phenomenon, Archimedes understood that the real gems would be heavier than counterfeit ones. As a result, the king discovered that the jeweler had been screwing him out of real riches and had the man executed!

An idea is like a flash of inspiration that lights up the brain with the wonder of everything falling into place. Little wonder that a visual symbol for this is one of a light bulb switching on over a person's head. An idea seems flawless and brilliant when someone first conceives it, but the concept is always purer than the outcome of the final result. The notion of something becomes muddied ultimately with the constraints of reality that suddenly tarnishes that light bulb's glow with dust.

The automotive industry is a massive global business. It was an industry that was worth $1.7 trillion in 2015 - which is bigger than most national economies. Such competition between the vast range of car manufacturers and the models they produce is fierce, and the companies need to keep abreast of developments. This includes updating existing cars while coming up with future concepts for new models. Sometimes though, the thought was better than the actual reality of the vehicles that hit the road.

24 Kia Kube!

Via ConceptCarz.com

There is not much space in Japanese cities, especially in Tokyo. Despite being the largest city in the world, there are streets that people cannot walk with their arms spread out. If people can't do this, it must be worse for the many cars in the city trying to get around. Vehicle makers like Kia cater to the smaller autos, but this concept for what became the Kia Soul is less of a motor and more of a cube on wheels.

23 Nowhere Near the Mark Nissan

Via Wikipedia

As another Japanese brand of vehicles, Nissan produces a raft of small, compact cars for the busy fuss and pace of a packed city. But with an excellent pedigree of talent for tech, Nissan now and then likes to branch out into the supercar market. It is something that they are okay at; especially as they field them in racing. But when it comes to their GT-R, while the concept appeared sleek as a coupe, the reality was kind of sullen looking.

22 Different Badge; Same Car (Unfortunately)

Via YouTube

Because a concept car is just that - a concept - it means that if any manufacturer doesn't take to it, it could be easily passed to another company that mirrors the designs better. The 70s were known for their uninspired, square-like designs that continued into the 80s. One might think that the modular Swedes at Volvo would assemble the pieces of this car, but no. This concept sat on the shelves until Citroen snapped them in the 90s and looked even worse than their original penned outings.

Not Too Imprezzive!

Via Autoguide

Subaru is an Asian brand mainly known in the west for its gutsy little saloon, the Imprezza. This juicy little vehicle is somewhat of a prototype for the rev heads that want to practice their speeding for when they star in Fast and Furious 3027. But for some reason, a "brilliant" developer at the company decided that an automobile that has cornered a particular niche of the market felt that making a sedan Subaru was the way to go. But keep it, simple people! Don't spoil the vehicle with the spoiler!

21 Less Than Lexus

Via DieselStation.com

As a branch of Toyota, Lexus is a cornerstone of Japan's excellence in engineering. Lexus is known globally for designing and issuing a raft of highly sought after luxury cars in SUVs, coupes, and sedans. Even Lexus will dabble their fingers in the small hatch pie, and with this LF, those fingertips got burnt! Instead of continuing the standard of sophistication for which it became known, the model appears like a hastily put back together Transformer instead of a smooth ride!

20 Non-Electrifying Volt

Via CarandDriver.com

Today, car manufacturers are ever-expanding into the problematic world of electric vehicles, something that is more difficult than would otherwise be thought. For example, traveling any significant distance in an electric car is a struggle, as is recreating the fearsome power of a combustion engine. Also, an unfortunate side-effect of venturing down the electric road seems that companies are hellbent on emulating the style introduced by Toyota's Prius. Not very conducive to sending electric shocks of inspiration into people's hearts.

19 A Bit of a Bad Musk

Via Carscoops

The closest person in the world to a real-life Tony Stark is the South African entrepreneur, Elon Musk. A billionaire philanthropist, he aims to pioneer technology that will change the world, such as the Tesla batteries, solar roofs and his brand of Tesla electric cars. The brand is a little touch and go, either loved or hated by motorists. Concerning style, it is not anything remarkable that stands out or is unique, and one hang-up is that these unimaginative vehicles are also very pricey.

18 Lacking Muscle Mustang

Via Serious Wheels

Nothing speaks of America like the brand Ford. A company that has led the world's market for well over a century, with iconic models that began with the Model T, the F-Series pickups, and the incomparable Mustang. Named for a wild horse, the Mustang brings to mind images of a roaring beast captured under the hood. Charging untamed down black asphalt of a desert road, the concept for the 2005 Ford Mustang extended this legacy. Although a good car, the real reworking of the Mustang was a little reined in (pardon the pun).

17 Gran Turnaround

Via Motor1

BMW is an iconic German manufacturer that is well known for producing a wide range of high-quality motors. From suave convertibles to SUVs, their high-end coupe is the BMW M6, worth a princely six-figures (more than most's salaries over several years). Aside from the logo, the shape of a car's brand usually follows a similar trend. Although the Z9 retained this shape, the edgier streamlined aspect of this model failed to translate into the reality of an M6 that remained boring.

16 DS5 Should Have Remained on the DL

Via Car Review

Citroen is a French brand and is a manufacturer of the kind of everyman car that suits the majority of average motorists. As a middle-of-the-road brand, it delivers consistently and well with the engines that it does create, but they are really nothing to write home about. The majority of their vehicles are the kind of cheap, hot-hatches that are best placed for urban living. When the concept for a DS5 emerged, it looked a fresh take on Citroen's fleet, although it turned out as more of the same.

15 On the Flipside


Instead of a case where a concept car got worse when the reality of it was realized, this instance shows the exact opposite of that. For Aston Martin, they design a fleet of beautiful, exquisitely engineered sportscars and coupes, something they have cornered for over 100 years. The British maker has led the way in cool coupes, peaking with the DB5 that appears in many classic James Bond movies. But a look at this concept for the centenary model, the CC100 that paid homage to the DBR1, was so out there that it even sported see-through wing doors!

14 SUVs U-Rus!

Via Wikipedia

It is always a great benefit to widen one's market; even when that market is in an area that is entirely left field for the company in question. This is precisely the case where Italian supercar giant Lamborghini is concerned. They are beautiful monsters that are playthings for only the wealthiest motorists, so Lamborghini is keen to expand into the equally lucrative off-road vehicle area. But is this wise? Buyers know what they get with Lambos, and this 4x4 still looks like a nod to its nimble supercar cousins.

13 Mercedes X Factor

Via Car Magazine

For reasons unknown, some companies extend their feelers into some weird concepts that are not their area of expertise. Take Mercedes-Benz for example. The German manufacturer is the very byword for luxury when anyone spots the three-pronged logo inside a circle; they know this car has cost money. But a pickup? Pickups are working vehicles, designed to get muddy, splash its way through rough terrain. Having a Mercedes-Benz for this purpose is pretty weird. Though the Mercedes X Class emerged with a little more of a clunky appearance than the concept promised.

12 Less Jaguar, More Kitten

Via AllFileDownload.com

Another iconic, world-leading British brand of car, also made famous in the 60s in movies like James Bond. The Jaguar E-Type exuded class and brilliance that continues to this day. With such a legacy of automotive pedigree, the Jaguar C-XF was unveiled last decade having to unleash a lot of expectation. Instead, the Jaguar XF was what the masses received, and it is a woeful replica of the idea that came before. A fearsome presence toned down a little for a more sedate sedan, hardly an aggressive big cat!

11 Disastrous Charge!

Via Old Concept Cars

A cornerstone of the American car market is the 'Muscle Car,' a shining example of this is vehicles like the Charger. The brand is Dodge, named after an infamous cattle town of the Old West, the power of the motor represents the charge of a huge cattle herd. So when the thought of such a car materializes into a designer's mind, they envision a car with a monster hood and a mighty roar on the turn of a key. However, when it rolled off the production line, it looked more like a Heffer munching quietly on grass.

10 A Toyota for a Toy Yoda

Via CarandDriver.com

Japanese brand Toyota is well known for its sturdy and dependable vehicles. What's more, the infamous introduction of the Prius has been both a blessing and a curse. A milestone in the development of electric cars but also a millstone of boring design hung around Toyota's neck. Sitting at a computer with a free rein always lets a designer be daring, like with the Toyota 86. Instead of a sweepingly graceful example of motor mastery, we got a boring trade-off instead.

9 Retro RV

Via Old Concept Cars

RV. MPV. They are many ways for car manufacturers to cover up the fact that these vehicles are nothing more than a holding place for multiple children, usually. It is difficult to make a multiperson car that appears classy and elegant inside and out, and with one Pontiac concept for an RV, they attempted to create a more space-age looking prototype. The result was from a different age, like a 1970s throwback that continues and even worsens the bland reputation of an RV.

8 Not a Pick-Me-Up Pickup

Via MotorTrend.com

A pickup is the essence of American motoring taming the wild; where a small cab is attached to an open trunk that is quickly loaded with goods, people, even animals. These items can be easily transported and easily dispatched from one end to the other, meaning it is a popular market for the vast spaces of America. The Dodge Power Wagon does precisely what the name says so, the concept of adding some sleekness to the idea of the sturdiness. When the first models went on sale though, it ended up as more of the same.

7 In Your Own Little Bubble? Not Quite

Via The Cheat Sheet

Some car concept designs really want to toy with any notions of the straightforward reality that having a streamlined chassis brings to a car. Bubble cars bring somewhat of a futuristic feel to the whole motoring experience. Yet as far as this Pontiac is concerned, it wants to look like something from The Jetsons, although when made, it appeared more like Homer Simpson's attempt at a car. They say that art imitates life, but a cartoon is never meant to be taken literally.

6 Less Stingray, More Codfish!

Via YouTube

It took its place among the breathtaking scope of advanced 22nd-century technology in the Transformers movie. However, going a step further and bringing the reality of the future to the present didn't quite pan out. The Corvette Stingray is a beast and needs no introduction, so its turn in the Hollywood hit film was awaited with bated breath to get an in real life release. While what they got was a good car, rose-tinted glasses made potential buyers blink like they had exited a cinema in broad daylight!

5 Kuga; Not Cougar

Via Ford.Auto

Is it a hatch? A mini SUV? Or everything and nothing in between? No one knows, probably not even the design nerds down at Ford HQ; one thing they do know, is how to make the best of things. When fashioning the Kuga, original designs wanted to push usual conventions of how we see a vehicle. Someone in the department thought that having the wing mirrors to resemble ears, being higher than usual, was a good way. But daring is not for the safe variant of the motor that the Ford Kuga represents.

4 Dusty Duster

Via Car Design News

Escaping Europe from a former Communist nation was a matter of life or death, but no longer for shiny new vehicles! Now that the Iron Curtain has rusted to dust from Europe, the Romanian brand Dacia wishes to sweep up, especially with their SUV, the Duster. Trying to take the capitalist world by storm, the initial concept of the Duster looks like a sharp and edgy cousin to the Range Rover. Instead, consumers were given a blocky Soviet auto from the past!

3 Slack Scion

Via Motor1

There are times when the notion of an object springs to mind, finds its way to paper or a computer screen; and passion can run wild. The forms and patterns of a car appear like silk to a designer that wants to combine engineering with art in an exquisite marriage. Silk quickly turns into rough wool though when the truth of building, costs, distribution and production prices come to light. The Scion soon sired something that falls short of the parent.

2 Tasty to Tetris

Via Conceptcarz.com

Ford is so immensely popular that its factories are regularly pumping out motors and their diverse portfolio means that it can always open itself to more models. Branching out into the MPV range with yet another MPV is always a sound plan for one of the world's leading motoring brands. When inspired to create the Ford Synus, the car had a sleek, classy model resembling a silver bullet, instead ends up as a Tetris lookalike. That is enough to give anyone a cold.

1 Get What You Pay For

Via CarandDriver

Whenever a brand creates a concept for a new vehicle, it has now become well-known that the idea soon gets watered down by the day of release. But for Audi, they actually did deliver on the initial sketches as expected, at least with their popular model, the TT. The TT is an entry-level sports car, with a sleek chassis and a decent 2-liter engine that will allow the driver to zip around and not become overwhelmed by power. On the surface and inside, the Audi TT met expectations from concept to ownership.

References: Corsia, Drivezing, HotCars, CheatSheet, AutoMontor

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