Our 5 favourite concept cars from 2012

Every year big car shows like the Goodwood Festival of Speed (which is coming up in July) attract car enthusiasts from all over the world, excited to get a first look at the newest models and the latest innovations in the world of car manufacturing, as well as to see professional drivers strut their stuff on the track. The major car companies also use these shows as an opportunity to unveil new concept cars – vehicles which may never be mass produced, but which demonstrate each company’s capacity for innovation and give designers a chance to imagine and even shape the future of car design down the line.

We’ve had a look through the best concept cars from 2012 and picked our top favourites to get you excited about what this year has in store. If you’re buying a new car any time soon you’ll probably be looking at something a little less exciting, but it’s fun to dream.

Peugeot Onyx

The Peugeot Onyx is a sleek, beautiful looking car with a hidden heart of gold. It’s a green machine built from some pretty unorthodox materials.

The dashboard is made from crushed newspaper, the body work is copper and the seats are made from felt...check out the interior:

With a chassis made from lightweight carbon-fibre the car is extremely light, and it can do over 100mph. Sadly it remains a concept only, but as it’s worth a cool £1,000,000 it’s probably out of our price range anyway. Here's a couple of videos of this stunning concept car:

Mercedes-Benz Ener-G-Force

This monstrous (in a good way) Mercedes-Benz is a seriously meaty looking machine, which is reason enough to include it in the list. But as well as being a true off-road concept, it’s got hidden depths too.

The car features a hydrogen fuel cell that would convert recycled water into fuel, and electric motors in each wheel. The idea of creating an off-road vehicle that is truly environmentally friendly is pretty innovative in itself, so hats off to Mercedes-Benz for a dreaming of a future for cars where it’s possible to be green and still mean business.

Infiniti Emerg-E

We’ve included this car mainly for its sexy looks, but we’ll happily take its sexy Lotus engine to boot. Infiniti is a Japanese manufacturer that’s not too well known in Europe, but this lightweight hybrid is likely to turn a few heads.

Although the Emerg-E was built as a concept car for 2012, Infiniti are working on prototypes to roll the design out properly, so in the next few years you could be sat behind the wheel of this gorgeous, fast supercar IRL. Nice.

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG E-Cell

Any list of favourite concept cars has to include one that is just so over the top it can’t be ignored. That’s the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG E-Cell. This fully electric car features electrohydraulic steering and regenerative brakes, and will get you flying from 0-60mph in four seconds with barely a sound emitted.

The designers gave it a pretty garish paint job when it was unveiled last year, so it certainly sticks in your mind. We might wait it out for a subtler appearance but that aside this is a concept to keep on your radar.

Volkswagen Hover Car

Now for the final and most outlandish pick. Last year’s craziest concept car came in the form of the Volkswagen Hover Car, and suffice to say this one definitely won’t be going into production any time soon. The design of the hover car suggests more of a hover pod than anything, but concept cars are meant to be all about imagining the future, so let’s go with it.

There’s not too much to say around the performance or mechanics of this car, what with it being fiction; but I’m definitely lining up for a go if this thing ever becomes a reality.