From Mercedes-Benz's slightly terrifying AVATAR-inspired vehicle to BMW's pure-electric i4, we've seen some truly original concept cars in 2020. Serving as a tantalising glimpse of the future of automobile design, concepts often show off a company's most cutting-edge ideas – and Porsche has just revealed not one but three unseen designs.
The German car manufacturer has recently published a book, Porsche Unseen, lifting the lid on the design process of its cars – from sketch to full-scale model. In a new blog post, Porsche has revealed three of the most intriguing concepts from the book, all of which were unseen by the public until now. (If you fancy creating your own concept art, check out our best 3D modelling software).
2017's Porsche 919 Street promised to make the exhilarating experience of driving its race cars available to amateur drivers (thanks, guys). The 1:1 model (above) reveals similar dimensions to its existing 919 Hybrid race car, but it won't be hitting the road any time soon – it only got as far as a clay model.
Meanwhile, the Porsche Vision Spyder (below) takes inspiration from 1954's Porsche 550-1500 RS Spyder. Cleverly combining vintage design elements (such as characteristic radiator grilles and the suggestion of fins at the rear) with a compact, ultra-modern shape, Porsche says (opens in new tab) the Vision Spyder was designed to "further develop the design identity of Porsche and provide a pool of ideas for future details".
But perhaps the most surprising concept design is the Porsche Vision "Renndienst" (below), a "family-friendly space concept for up to six persons", designed to somewhat resemble a space shuttle. It's impressive how this design manages to carry Porsche's sleek design language into a less familiar shape for the brand, resulting in what the company calls "an unexpectedly generous space and travel experience combined with Porsche-like flair".
Alas, as concept designs, the three unseen models above are unlikely to appear soon, if at all. That said, you can pore over their designs by picking up a copy of Porsche Unseen from the Porsche Museum (opens in new tab). But perhaps even more fascinating than the concepts themselves is the process of their creation.
"The design process starts with a sketch," Porsche explains. "This is visualised in the next step as a 3D model. As soon as an idea is to be developed further, small models are produced in a scale of 1:3, then followed by hard models in the scale 1:1." While the process begins in the 3D, virtual world, the company explains that it's essential to experience the design in the flesh eventually. This lets the designers understand whether the concept has "too big, small or surprising proportions".
It's always fun to see what weird and wonderful ideas car manufacturers have up their sleeves for the future. Indeed, it seems car design could go in any direction, from the sleek vision of Porsche's concepts to the Tesla's blocky and somewhat dystopian Cybertruck. As long the future of cars doesn't look anything like Mercedes-Benz's reptilian VISION AVTR, we'll be happy.