If you’ve ever seen the original, first-generation Ford Thunderbird, you know that cars evolve. The classic twin exhaust pipes and fender skirts known as the T-bird have lost popularity in modern times (as evidenced by the newer 2002 Thunderbird styling), and with the advent of new technology, a men’s magazine one can only guess what cars will look like in the next few decades.
Concept cars are cars with radically new designs shown at auto shows. Concept cars are an automaker’s way of showing the general public what they plan to do, and how these manufacturers gauge the public’s reaction to new designs.
Here are six of the most innovative concept cars to be released in 2014.
For the Speed Enthusiast: 2014 Audi Quattro
With a body shape that evokes memories of the original Ur-Quattro rally car, the 2014 Audi Quattro is a racing enthusiast’s dream. This updated six-speed concept car can produce 650 horsepower with a 2.5-liter, 5-cylinder turbocharged engine. This powerhouse has a top speed of 186 mph and can go from 0 to 60 mph in four seconds. Aesthetically, the new and improved Quattro puts a futuristic twist on an older design. Audi designer Wolf Seebers told Car and Driver Magazine in a 2010 interview that the design team’s biggest challenge was creating a car that combined classic Quattro design with new styling innovations—a challenge they appear to have handled expertly. Audi will produce the 2014 Quattro on a limited basis, with a rumored production cap of around 500 vehicles.
For the Nostalgic Wanderer: The 2014 Volkswagen Bulli
A design that was once thought to have been phased out, Volkswagen’s 2014 Bulli appears to have been revived. Sporting a striking new design that evokes memories of the original VW Type 2 (“hippie hauler”), the Bulli is a slick, low-key minivan with room for five people. The short, rugged “microbus” will come in a diesel-electric hybrid or an electric-only model—great for eco-conscious drivers. Ideal for the family man looking to save on gas, the Bulli is rumored to be entering mass production soon.
For Urban Adventurers: 2014 Honda Urban SUV
The 2014 Honda Urban SUV, unveiled at the 2013 North American International Auto Show, will challenge everything you thought you knew about sports utility vehicles. The new Urban will be more compact than the CR-V and feature a fuel-efficient engine, making it great for city and off-road driving. Honda is playing it close to the vest with regards to specs (quite possibly since they’re still tinkering with exact values), but it’s a safe bet that the 2014 Urban will feature a four-cylinder engine with no more than two liters of displacement. .
For Geeky Guys: 2014 Nissan Denki Cube
“Denki” is the Japanese word for “electric”—a fact Nissan highlights with its lightning-fast front end aesthetic and electric blue stripes inside the headlights. That Denki Cube 2014 is an all-electric vehicle with new battery technology to generate twice as much power as a typical hybrid vehicle, for half the weight. The gray and yellow interior and square hubcaps add to the ultimate geek chic factor. Drawing on the ridiculous factor inherent in the original Cube design, the Denki Cube is advertised as “undeniably charming”. There’s no word yet on when or if the Denki Cube will go into production, but the design alone is definitely interesting.
For the Bond Guy: 2014 Opel Monza
Set to be unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2013, the 2014 Opel Monza is a fine example of Opel International’s motto “Sculpture meets German precision.” Opel has a reputation among European automakers for delivering innovative and trendsetting concepts—including the CD (three-door coupe), Junior (urban hatchback), and G90 (fuel-efficient compact to end all fuel-efficient compacts). Opel continues this trend with the 2014 Monza, a supple gullwing coupe with an LED dashboard and three different types of smartphone connectivity. Ideal for the man with sophistication, this car looks like it’s driven straight out of a James Bond movie.
For Gear Head: 2014 Ford Mustang GT (50th Anniversary Edition)
Few vehicles are as iconic as the Ford Mustang. Originally released in 1964, the Mustang has a history as a tough race car. The speed car on the 1964 Indianapolis 500 was a Mustang. In 2002, famed drag racer John Force won his twelfth national championship in his Mustang, breaking his own record at the same time. He broke that record again in 2006, again, in a Mustang. For the Mustang’s golden anniversary, expect Ford to make some radical additions and improvements. For example, the new Mustang will use a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, something the Mustang hasn’t had since 1986. The transmission in the first model will likely be six-speed standard, with an eight-speed automatic on the horizon. The car will probably be slightly smaller than a traditional Mustang, and may feature independent rear suspension. Diehard fans have the option to choose from three different models, or customize their own. Here are six of the hottest concept cars to watch for next year. Whatever your taste in vehicles, there’s something for every guy on this list. These cars will sell out fast, so keep your eyes peeled for them in 2014.