Concept cars

Arrow: A four-wheeled 'fighter jet' for the road (Q&A)

What if your main occupation was dreaming up fanciful, futuristic concept vehicles? If your name is Charles Bombardier, that's exactly what you do.

The scion of Canada's Bombardier, which manufactures planes and trains, Charles Bombardier recently showed off designs for his Arrow concept car, an electric two-seater that looks like a retro racing car.

It's designed with a torpedo-shaped body and "a cockpit that opens up like a fighter jet to reveal tandem seats." … Read more

2013 Car Tech Awards: And the winner is...

CNET Tech Car of the Year for 2013

2014 Mercedes-Benz S550 It came, we saw, and it conquered. The 2014 Mercedes-Benz S550 shows forward thinking in every aspect of its being, and highlights the kind of technical advancement that gave the world adaptive cruise control. The new S-Class is everything Mercedes-Benz needed it to be to stay at the forefront of luxury sedans, but what really swayed us was its near-self-driving capability. Its advanced adaptive cruise control system works in stop-and-go traffic, and Mercedes-Benz added the new steering-assist system, which can drive the car hands- and feet-free in slow traffic. The rollout of these types of technologies is what will ultimately lead us to fully self-driving cars.

Other technical achievements include a powerful V-8 engine making use of direct injection and turbochargers, a comfortable air suspension, and one of the least annoying idle-stop features extant. The fact that the new S-Class does away with incandescent lighting completely in favor of LEDs is another step forward. A 3G data connection comes built into the car, and Mercedes-Benz has begun to bring well-known apps on board. The Burmester audio system is audiophile-quality, and topping the whole thing off is a built-in aromatherapy system.… Read more

WitStar self-driving car aims to prove safety with goldfish

We can almost see the logic: if you had any fear a car was going to crash, would you build a fish tank into the rear armrest?

This is how the Guanzhou Auto WitStar concept, which debuted at the 2013 Guangzhou Auto Show last month, is demonstrating its safety. The glass pod has 10 goldfish inside, and if the autonomous car were to crash, the tank would break and the goldfish would die.

Of course, we don't expect that to happen at all. Although, according to Car News China, manufacturer Guangzhou Auto did have an autonomous driving system all figured out, with cameras and computers that reconstruct a 3D image of the surrounding environment to map a route (pretty standard for self-driving cars), the model on display seemed to have been largely crafted of foam. … Read more

The Jaguar C-X75 is too much for its time

Picture the scene: it's the 2010 Paris Motor Show, the new Bentley Continental GT has been launched; Lotus has announced a stupidly overambitious all-new, five-car lineup; Renault has revealed a concept Zoe EV. It was all good stuff, but nothing that would light your face on fire. Until you got to the Jaguar stand. You see, Jaguar had brought the C-X75 -- a concept hypercar that had an all-electric drivetrain and jets to provide the electricity. JETS.

Jaguar said it was going to make it and was set to reenter the supercar market for the first time since the … Read more

2013 L.A. Auto Show video highlights

Many of you are about to flock to the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show that I just returned from covering during its preopening. Here's a good, short list of important cars to see. Bring your phone and earbuds and use these videos as a walk-around guide as you look at each car. I think these will concisely put each one into perspective for you. The videos are in walking order, starting in the South Hall.

The BMW i3, the company's first full-fledged electric car and the launch of the new i Series that could reinvent the brand. Jaguar's F-Type CoupeRead more

Los Angeles' most down-to-earth auto show

I go to five major auto shows every year, and Los Angeles remains my favorite. Its proximity to San Francisco means our CNET crew can take a road trip down, so I don't have to hassle with airport security. The weather is, at the very least, comfortable, and the Staples Center venue provides two big halls that easily hold the wares of the world's automakers.

This year we drove down in the 2014 Dodge Durango, which proved very comfortable and spacious for the extended freeway cruise and let us carry a bunch of our video team's gear. … Read more

Nissan's awesome BladeGlider wows Tokyo Motor Show

TOKYO -- It's all too easy to fall under the spell of concept cars that automakers trot out at car shows. But some make it nearly irresistible.

Nissan showed off its BladeGlider electric vehicle concept at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show on Wednesday, and it was the sickest set of wheels on the floor at Tokyo Big Sight.

One of several vehicles that seemed to be pulled from a sci-fi film (more "Tron" than "Blade Runner"), the three-seater has a knife-like shape and doors that swing up like wings. … Read more

Mercedes-Benz designs concept car just for Gran Turismo 6

Meet the Mercedes-Benz AMG Vision Gran Turismo -- a car that's unlikely to ever feel the road beneath its rubber. Like the name suggests, the car has been designed for one purpose: appearing in Polyphony Digital's PlayStation 3 exclusive, Gran Turismo 6.

Although the concept car has been created for inclusion in a fictional product, Mercedes-Benz hasn't slouched on the design. Every step of the way, the manufacturer has gone out of its way to build a vehicle that could work in the real world. A 1:1 scale model of the car has even been built, debuting at the opening of the new Mercedes-Benz research and development center in California.

Read more

Subaru celebrates a quarter-century Legacy with a concept

Hot on the tail of its announcement of the production Subaru Impreza WRX, the automaker has released shots of the 2015 Subaru Legacy Concept, which will debut alongside the 'Rex at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show.

According to the automaker, this concept celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Subaru Legacy and provides a look at the styling cues for future Legacy models. Taking a look at the released images, the future of the Legacy looks a lot like a toned-down variant of the Subaru WRX concept that bowed in New York earlier this year.

Like the WRX, the Legacy … Read more

LA Auto Show to host new Mini, Audi A3, and Subaru WRX

Detroit may be the Motor City, but cars are a quintessential part of Los Angeles culture, often serving as status symbols among the rich and famous of this entertainment capital's sun-drenched streets. And this year's Los Angeles Auto Show will serve as a showcase for some long-awaited model updates, as well as a host of new cars and concepts.

One model I've been anticipating greatly is the new Audi A3, which will be a radically different car from the small wagon sold here previously. Two years ago, Audi revealed the new A3's cabin tech at the … Read more