Concept cars are the automotive jewellery for Motor Shows and 2010 produced a brilliant crop. Some are destined for production; others preview new technology or new models. Either way, all are objects of desire.
We've put together our favourites from the year and the models we would love to see taken a step further by their owners.
1. Audi Quattro Concept
Audi gave us a reason to be excited at the Paris Motor Show back in September with this, the Quattro concept. Built to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the iconic original, it's based on a shortened RS5 platform and powered by a modified version of the TT RS's five-cylinder turbo engine. It's actually closer in concept and size to the original Sport Quattro. There are unconfirmed rumours of small scale production, but even if this doesn't happen, the Quattro Concept is said to hint at the design language of future fast Audis.
2. Citroen Survolt
A genuine surprise at this year's Geneva Motor Show was the Citroen Survolt. The Survolt follows in the footsteps of other eye-catching Citroen concepts such as the Revolte (also debuted at the show) and the well-known GT By Citroen. Only powered by electricity, the Survolt is actually a runner and can accelerate to 62mph in an amazing 5.0 seconds! Rumours are that the Revolte will spawn its own one-make racing series – we can't wait.
3. Jaguar C-X75
My favourite car of the 2010 Paris Motor show was a concept. The C-X75 is designed to celebrate 75 years of the British Jaguar brand, but it's also an electric/gas-turbine hybrid-powered 205mph supercar! The C-X75 produces 968bhp through four electric motors, each of which drives one of the four wheels. The batteries driving these motors are recharged using two diesel-fed micro gas turbines instead of a conventional engine. Word is it won't make production, but expect some of Ian Callum's slick design to form the basis of the next XK.
4. Lamborghini Sesto Elemento Concept
The Sesto Elemento is named after the sixth element of the periodic table – Carbon and at 999kg it's amazingly light. The new Lamborghini Concept car also boasts four-wheel drive, 570bhp and looks like a more dramatic version of the Gallardo. My favourite part of the design is the rear, where the engine almost hangs out of the body! Not scheduled for production, but this concept has got to preview what the next Gallardo will look like – hasn't it?
5. Lotus Esprit
The first of five new Lotus models which blew everyone away at this year's Paris Show is this, the reborn Esprit. Planned for launch in 2013, Lotus's new management has torn up any previous rules to produce this car and the rest of the new range. Expected to be the first of the new models to make production, the Esprit is also probably the most eagerly awaited too. Described as the ultimate Lotus, it will be powered by a 620 PS, 5.0-litre V8 and will offer exceptional performance due to its lightweight build. The Esprit's distinctive styling is also low and sleek.
6. Peugeot SR1
I was so used to ugly Peugeot models that the elegant SR1 concept, first seen at Geneva was a revelation. The elegant Coupe Convertible has the go to match its sleek looks, with a combination of a 215bhp 1.6 litre THP petrol engine and a 94bhp electric motor, giving a grand total of 313bhp The Sri also features four-wheel drive and a four-wheel steer chassis.
7. Porsche 918 Spyder
The 2010 Geneva Motor Show started with a bang when Porsche pulled the wraps off the 918 Spyder concept on the morning of the first press day. Possibly seen as a smaller, greener replacement for the 2004 Carrera GT supercar, the show car packed a 500bhp petrol V8 punch supported by a 218bhp electric motor powering the front axle. Porsche claim a top speed of 198mph, with 62mph coming up in just 3.2 seconds, yet because of its hybrid drivetrain it's capable of 94mpg with 70 g/km of Co2. Production is confirmed and the 918 Spyder should be with us by 2013.
8. Renault Dezir
The most interesting electric concept car on the Renault stand this year was this, the 160mph Dezir. There's definitely a hint of Audi R8 in the styling, but it's just a concept at the moment. The Dezir is powered by a 150bhp electric motor mounted behind the front seats, which Renault claims gives the DeZir the feel of a mid-engined car. Sadly, the Dezir won't make production, but there are rumours that Renaultsport might develop a mid-engined electric sportscar in the future.
9. SEAT IBE
Alongside the extravagant supercar concepts on this list, the IBE concept looks almost out of place. However, dismiss the Ibiza-sized hatch at your peril. Besides showing a future new family look for all SEAT models, its electric powertrain has useable everyday ability with 101bhp and 148lb ft of torque. Performance is respectable too, with a 100mph top speed and a 9.7 second 0-60mph. Not scheduled for production, but the next Ibiza could look similar to the IBE.
10. Vauxhall GTC
Vauxhall are fooling no one with this Paris Motor Show concept, as it's got to be the closest indication of what the next Astra Sport Hatch will look like. The word is, it's going to be called the GTC too and the range-topping VXR may have as much as 300bhp! Key styling features of the GTC include the arching roofline, sharp rear shoulders and the blade crease along the sides, first seen on the Insignia. Yet, despite the curvy styling, there's expected to be enough room in the back for two passengers. Expect a range of petrol and diesel choices to be available at launch late next year.
Is your favourite in here? If not, let us know what concept you would have included below.