Tomorrow never comes

Futuristic concept cars are everywhere at the Geneva Motor Show. Shame you can't drive one. Shame you'll never be able to buy one

Another international motor show, another ludicrous Land Rover. This week it is Geneva and the LRX, a supposed "diesel hybrid" which cranks the company's now- familiar Judge Dredd concept-car aesthetic to a new pitch of childish aggression.

Ooh, isn't she butch and frowny! A cross between an Audi A3 and an Orc, the LRX is the work of someone who spends far too much of his (well, it's not a "her", is it?) time hunched in front of a games console watching his avatar torture unfeasibly buxom she-goblins.

Would you go down the pub wearing a Darth Vader helmet? Almost certainly not. So why – unless you were petrified of your own shadow – would you want to drive a car that looked like an armoured people carrier?

Thank heavens they will never make it, and if they do, I'll wager it will end up with bigger side windows, smaller wheels and the cut-down chassis from a Discovery underneath, as happened with the Range Rover Sport. Out will go the wafer-thin seats and hologram dash; in will come some bits they had left over round the back of the shed from the Freelander.

Concept cars are the shooting- gallery prizes of the automotive world – punter bait. While in reality, you're lucky if you go home with the cuddly carrot.

Just look at the new VW Scirocco, which also debuted at Geneva. We saw it first at Frankfurt as the stunning Iroc concept, but if the Iroc was XTube, the Scirocco is YouTube – cute but soft core. Meanwhile Saab has shown us the 9-X, its "bio-ethanol hybrid" vision of the future with 3D instruments and rear-vision cameras for mirrors. "Close to production-capable", they say – industry speak for "don't hold your breath".

Geneva is full of these kinds of Tarmac teasers, and the more excited I get when I see them, the more resentful I am when they are never seen again. I schlepped all the way to Japan in November to see cars that looked like Rubik's Cubes and flying armchairs but are no more likely to see the light of day than Emily Dickinson's knickers. Switzerland is closer, but it's still a long way to go to tut scornfully at Pininfarina's Sintesi, with its 700bhp generated by "little hydrogen reactors", and to spasm in exasperation at the Mégane Coupé concept's two-piece gullwing doors that would probably cost as much to engineer as the Cern reactor.

Even the cars that are purporting to be on sale are, in reality, impossible to get hold of: the Alfa 8C Spider won't be ready until 2010, and they are building only 500, which should just about cover the Agnelli family.

But what can replace the traditional motor show? How about somewhere we could go to see new cars that we can actually buy; cars with normal-sized wheels; cars that we can see out of; and that aren't designed for Nearly Headless Nick to drive? We could inspect these cars without the distraction of bikini-clad lovelies and without having to fight through the anoraks and brochure collectors. Perhaps we could drive them, and then maybe even buy them. I know! We could call them something like car showrooms.

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Administrative Assistant / Order Fulfilment

    £14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join a thrivi...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

    Recruitment Genius: Production Operative

    £13000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to a period of sustained an...

    Day In a Page

    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
    Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

    Why are we addicted to theme parks?

    Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
    Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

    Iran is opening up again to tourists

    After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
    10 best PS4 games

    10 best PS4 games

    Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
    Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

    Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

    Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
    Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

    ‘Can we really just turn away?’

    Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

    ... and not just because of Isis vandalism
    Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

    Girl on a Plane

    An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent