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The New York International Auto Show 2011: Concept Cars

Six designs from the 2011 NY Auto Show we'd love to see in production

by Evan Orensten in Tech on 22 April 2011

Concept cars serve two purposes: To create an allure and desire for a brand and to explore style and technology innovations that influence a maker's range of cars in a more accessible time frame. Most of these cars had their debut at other recent shows, but all are alluring and insightful in how they will influence upcoming models.

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Saab's PhoeniX combines a sleek sports body with a highly engineered, efficient propulsion system. The all-wheel drive hybrid sports a 200hp, 1.6-litre turbo engine to power the front wheels while the rear is powered by an electrically driven axle. Its sexy lines are an insight into design director Jason Castriota's vision for the brand we're all hoping makes its way into upcoming cars. It's camera-driven rear view mirrors and super-slick butterfly doors provide an accessible yet futuristic feel.

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It's always exciting when a company reinvents a classic. Volkswagen revisits its iconic microbus model with their Bulli concept, a six-seater driven by an electric motor with a 186-mile range. Further enabling drivers to leverage their devices instead of being tied to a car's tech, the infotainment system is driven by an iPad. VW says this flexible beauty is headed for production in 2014.

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Striking lines and a sleek design come together in this nontraditional concept of the age-old touring sedan. The Lexus LF-Gh is probably the boldest hybrid of recent times. Designed for the low emission standards of the future and the style, performance and efficiency demands of today.

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Scion's FRS-8 is based on a platform that Toyota used for its recently introduced FT-86 II concept and that will power the rear-wheel drive Subaru Boxer when it goes into production in 2012. Scion's take is our favorite, and one we'd love to see go into production.

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Designed specifically for city dwellers, Cadillac's Urban concept seats four and is driven by a 1.0-liter three cylinder engine. The compact package and use of electric assist technology gets this vehicle an estimated 56mpg in the city, and despite its small size it comfortably surrounds you in Cadillac luxury.

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One of the few cars unveiled at the show, the A-class concept maintains its Mercedes-Benz DNA and infuses it with a welcome youthful twist. In addition to its sporty and sleek design the car features a new turbocharged 4 cylinder engine, a dual clutch transmission, advanced collision protection and braking systems.

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