Every year during the preeminent Concours d’Elegance, the most beautiful and extreme cars of the past and the future come together at the Lodge at Pebble Beach, Calif. The latter—from “we wish” design studies and rare prototypes to limited production models—congregate on the Concept Lawn, a patch of green that is known every other day of the year as one of the most famous putting greens on Earth.
The undeniable star car of this year’s concept lawn was the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6, an 18-foot two-door with diabolically sexy proportions and a Bugatti-like center spine. Under that languorous hood, four electric motors propel this EV from 0 to 60 in under four seconds, with a range of 200 miles. Mercedes says that with its new charging system, up to 62 miles of range can be added in just five minutes.
Daimler’s chief designer, Gorden Wagener, explained his vision for the Maybach 6. “The car is very overexaggerated in order to define ultimate luxury, which is why Pebble Beach is the perfect stage for the car,” he told Fortune. “Modern luxury is hot, beautiful, and opulent, even. Modernity is clean and cool. So in a nutshell, the car is hot and cool.”
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Another standout, although not new, is the stunning two-tone Infiniti Q80, first shown at the Paris motor show in 2014. With its rear-hinged back doors, dramatic black-and-white livery, bull’s hide floor mats and boat-tail rear end, it is, according to design boss Alfonso Albaisa, “the first show car to bring forward all the elements of elegance and romanticism we want in our future cars.”
Other noteworthy concepts included Cadillac’s Escala four-door, an elegant and restrained peek at where GM’s luxury brand is hopefully headed. And the Bugatti Vision Gran Turismo, based on the new Chiron.
Lincoln’s luxurious Navigator concept with 7-foot-long roof-hinged doors languished over one (large) portion of green. At the opposite end, the Spyker C8 Preliator, a new phoenix-like hand-built sports car from Dutch CEO Victor Muller just two years after his company was declared bankrupt. And in the middle was an electric Corvette Z06 by Genovation Cars.
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It was a big year for BMW, both a featured marque and celebrating its 100th anniversary. The Bavarian maker of the ultimate driving machine showed the 2002 Homage—a razor-edged M2-based concept that nodded to motor racing sponsor Jagermeister with its shot-colored livery and the name “Turbomeister.”
One stealth star on display was the Rimac Concept One, a Croatian-built electric supercar that has already proven itself faster than Ferrari’s current pinnacle performer, the LaFerrari. It’s early days for this startup run by a 28-year-old—and it’s one to keep an eye on.
Of course, a few rare production cars always find their way onto the concept lawn, like the Ford GT, America’s latest and greatest supercar.
Another standout: the Lamborghini Centenario Roadster (revealed days earlier and all 20 to be produced already sold).
And from the U.K., there were four limited-production beauties, including the Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato coupe (one of only 99). Bentley’s Mulsanne EWB (extended wheelbase) rivaled the Maybach 6 for presence. The Rolls-Royce Wraith Black Badge, with its black-and-royal interior, showed off the company’s new bespoke line.
And my favorite, the “new” Lister Knobbly, a beguiling re-creation of the original car Sir Stirling Moss raced in the ’50s.