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Our 14 Favorite Concept Cars From Pebble Beach

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From Motor Trend
From the beautiful to the bizarre, the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance showcases enough gorgeous, nostalgic vehicles to overwhelm the faint of heart. But some of the most exciting vehicles we've seen at the event over the years point to the future. Here are some of our favorite concept cars that have made their debuts at Pebble Beach in recent history.

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The Ciel ushered in a number of concepts Cadillac would debut at Pebble Beach. Unveiled in 2011, this four-door convertible has rear doors that are hinged at the rear and no B-pillar between the doors. This engineering provides for a panoramic side view of the interior with the doors open. Nickel-plated trim adorns the exterior and interior. The Ciel was just 2.8 inches shorter than the Mercedes-Benz S-Class of the time, and it had similar wheelbase measurements.

Under the hood, there was a 3.6-liter turbocharged V-6 engine paired with a hybrid system with a lithium-ion battery. Cadillac never ended up making a vehicle derived from the Ciel, but it did inspire another gem that the automaker would debut two years later at Pebble Beach.


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This grand coupe hinted at Cadillac's future design direction, while at the same time paying homage to the 1967 Eldorado. From its long hood, satin chrome accents, and low-slung body, this car oozes refinement despite its impractical proportions. Camel-leather sport seats, a 10.0-inch pop-up touchscreen, and Brazilian rosewood trim adorn the interior.

At 205 inches, the Elmiraj is slightly longer than the Ciel, and it also features a bigger engine. The 4.5-liter twin-turbo V-8 was estimated to achieve 500 hp, although we'd never know its power because it's just a concept. Sadly, this vehicle was just a mirage, as we've yet to see such a two-door large car from Cadillac.


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McLaren Special Operations has cranked out countless special edition vehicles over the years, but the X-1 sticks out in our minds. Built at the request of a customer, this car shows just how far McLaren will go to customize a car to its owner's tastes. It borrows its monocell and running gear from the MP4-12C, but it adds pontoon-style rear fenders that make it longer and significantly wider than that original car. Inside, you'll find bespoke Harissa Red McLaren Nappa leather seats and titanium weave carbon-fiber interior trim. The owner requested the car take inspiration from a 1961 Facel Vega, 1939 Mercedes-Benz 540K, a grand piano, the Guggenheim museums in New York and Spain, a Thomas Mann Montblanc pen, and other very specific sources.


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Long before Infiniti decided all its cars excluding large SUVs from 2021 will be electrified, it introduced the Emerg-e. Originally debuting at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, it made its North American debut at Pebble Beach later that year. Infiniti started with a Lotus Evora platform and tore out the powertrain for an electrified setup. At each rear wheel sits a 201-hp motor, complementing a 47-hp range extender. All together, the model produces 402 hp and can reach 60 mph in a claimed 4.0 seconds. Its carbon-fiber body helps to reduce weight.


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Move over Rolls Royce; here is one formidable coupe. Mercedes-Maybach took the idea of a two-door gran coupe to extremes with this concept, which is almost 19 feet long. Pretty much everything else is big, too, from the massive grille to 24-inch wheels. It also makes plenty of power: 738 ponies from four electric motors and an 80 kilowatt-hour battery pack mounted in the floor. Mercedes showed off this pulsing red beauty at Pebble Beach in 2016.


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In 2017, the Mercedes-Maybach 6 appeared once again at Pebble Beach, this time without a roof. With a dark blue exterior and new wheels, it gave off a mellower vibe than the bold red coupe from a year earlier. Because it's an open-air vehicle, onlookers are immediately exposed to the opulent white interior bathed in soft blue lighting.


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Making its North American debut at Pebble Beach in 2014, the BMW Vision Future Luxury is pretty much what its name suggests. Beyond that, it hints that BMW was thinking about a model to slot above the 7 Series long before we got wind that the BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe would return to the lineup.

BMW tends to err on the conservative side when redesigning its vehicles, so it was nice to see the automaker broaden its palette with this vehicle. Its large, three-dimensional grille with attached headlights is a theme that would spread to BMW vehicles in the coming years.


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BMW has been working to develop a successor to the Z4, and at Pebble Beach in 2017, we got our first glimpse of what to expect. The automaker reimagined the kidney grilles and put in massive air intakes along with sweeping lines across the low-slung body. Somehow its orange exterior and interior isn't overkill. BMW is set to reveal the production version at this year's Pebble Beach Concours, and we hope it looks exactly like this car.


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The Prototype 9 is an answer to the question no one asked: What would an Infiniti race car look like if the brand had come into being 90 years earlier? Founded in 1989, Infiniti may not have a long history in racing, but that didn't stop it from building a prototype that hearkens back to the '30s and '40s. It's a strange exercise, but we love the result.

We can see Infiniti cues up front, including the double-arch grille and the bold body lines running from the wheel arches. Rather than going with a more conventional powertrain, it packs a rear-mounted motor that drives the rear wheels.


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BMW brought out the 3.0 CSL Hommage concept, its tribute to the gorgeous E9 3.0 CSL of the 1970s, to the 2015 Villa d'Este concours. But it wasn't until August of that same year that it debuted its tribute to the racing version at Pebble Beach. Called the BMW 3.0 CSL Hommage R concept, the new show car was essentially a reskin of the original, but it remains drool-worthy to this day. The concept was painted white with red, blue, and purple stripes, just like the iconic "Batmobile" 3.0 CSL race car. That livery first debuted on that car, which is one reason why it works so well on this retro-futuristic tribute. The gold 21-inch wheels with black accents are also a nice touch.


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After introducing the Ciel and Elmiraj concepts, Cadillac rolled out yet another Pebble Beach stunner in 2016. The Escala was the most practical of these three concepts, and it looks like it could actually become a future flagship sedan. Nearly everything on the concept would go into development for the next generation of Cadillacs, from the powertrain to styling. Its 4.2-liter twin-turbo V-8 would find a home in the CT6 V-Sport, and we can already see influences of the Escala's grille in the Cadillac lineup.


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Technically, this is not a pure concept but a very limited-production vehicle that debuted during the 2016 Pebble Beach cycle. Aston Martin would offer just 99 copies of the striking convertible that packs a 6.0-liter V-12 rated at 592 hp. The decision was made to create the model because Aston Martin had experienced such high demand for the Vanquish Zagato coupe.


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After making its debut at the 2017 Geneva auto show, the Infiniti Q60 Project Black S concept soon crossed the pond to Pebble Beach. Sure, this concept enhances the Q60's appearance with a lowered suspension, lightweight 21-inch wheels wrapped in Pirelli P Zero tires, and a bold spoiler. But the truly interesting part of this car is its hybrid powertrain equipped with a Kinetic Energy Recovery system. Such technology, which promises to boost power and torque, hadn't yet made it to road cars but had been a staple in Formula 1. There is one motor generator unit that harvests kinetic energy from braking, and another attached to the turbocharger that harvests heat energy from exhaust gases. The energy from each motor generator unit is stored in lithium-ion batteries.


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Making its North American debut at Pebble Beach in 2013, this concept is business up front and party in the back. It features a fresh interpretation of BMW's quad-round headlights and dual kidney grilles, but moving down the vehicle reveals just two doors, huge wheels, and a sharply sloping roofline. A single-unit taillight bar and Pininfarina badging also make this car stand out.


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Autos News: Our 14 Favorite Concept Cars From Pebble Beach
Our 14 Favorite Concept Cars From Pebble Beach
Autos News
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