Retractable wheels, flying cars and stealth mode invisibility all feature among six futuristic concepts created by top car designers from Honda, Subaru, Smart, Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai and Maybach.
The six manufacturers have all come up with ideas for Hollywood's Hottest New Movie Car, which is the theme for the eighth annual Design Challenge at the Los Angeles Auto Show, set for Nov. 18-27.
The judging panel for the competition includes Jay Shuster, art director for Pixar Animation Studios, and a member of the team behind recent cinematic hits Cars and Cars 2.
This year's contenders:
The cat-friendly Subaru Horizon
Ever wondered what would happen if the world stopped turning, an essential power-generating fuel ran out and a team of four – including a cat – were required to rescue humanity? Well, Subaru has – and it's resulted in the practical, four-seater Horizon, a car that can seemingly withstand whatever a future dystopia has to throw at it.
F1-inspired Mercedes Silver Arrow
The Mercedes Silver Arrow has a slightly more conventional design, but features what its creators call “a diagonally configured, hub-less roller track for ‘Omni-Directional' maneuvering.” It is inspired by the company's F1 race heritage, including such cars as the Mercedes-Benz W125 series, a Silberpfeil racecar of the late 1930s and the Uhlenhaut SLR from the '50s.
Remotely operated Maybach Berline
A reinterpretation of the historic Berline Carriage, the Maybach concept takes inspiration from the Cinderella fairy tale. It is based on a GL-class footprint, which features electric or fuel-cell propulsion. It's also operated remotely via satellite by the Maybach Virtual Chauffeur Center. The passengers are seated in a face-to-face seating layout, with a "Royal Lounge" on one side and two single seats on the other. The interior and exterior are comprised of sustainable materials like wood. Large gull-wing doors with over-sized privacy glass open wide for entry via retractable stairs.
Flying Smart 341 Parkour
Smart's 341 Parkour can fly and climb the walls of skyscrapers – perfect when parking is at a premium. A large greenhouse offers 360 degrees of visibility. The wheels are retractable and contain impulse pads and vacuum cups. The Smart has different modes: a typical drive mode, a fly mode that allows the vehicle to hover far above the streets and a climb mode that allows the vehicle to run up the walls of skyscrapers.
Hyundai Stratus Sprinter MPV
The Stratus Sprinter MPV can travel any road due to its high ground clearance and has light combat capabilities. It can be rendered invisible in daylight, and is used in conjunction with an airship known as the DB Atlanta.
Perhaps the wackiest of all, though, is the equine-inspired IH (Intelligent Horse). Designers say the concept “combines both the character and simplicity of a horse with the latest structural, safety and technological innovation."