The future is here, sort of. Technology in new cars progressed by many leaps and bounds, like a rabbit with massive springs attached to all four paws.

Self-driving cars edged closer to reality, but car manufacturers exercised every inch of their imagination to deliver some otherworldly concept cars in 2017.

Here are five of our favourites…

Audi Aicon

Audi Aicon

What’s the point of a steering wheel in a car that can drive itself? Not much, exactly. The steering wheel has been an omnipresent feature in every automobile ever, but Audi demonstrated how it could finally be consigned to history with the Aicon concept.

Audi Aicon interior

Similarly, the accelerator, brake and clutch pedals are erased to “offer all the comforts of modern communications electronics and perfect ergonomics”, Audi says.

Audi Aicon rear

This futuristic philosophy is reflected in its design, with super slick curves, piercing three-dimensional headlights and reflective silver finish.

Audi Aicon side

Audi’s big idea is represented by the concept’s physical size too; it stretches for almost 5.5 metres and sits on gaping 26-inch wheels.

Read more on the Aicon here.

BMW Concept Z4

BMW Z4 concept

The Z4 is a lovely roadster but since going on sale in 2009, the current gen model has been outmoded by cars like the Mazda MX-5. So it was with great delight to finally see the Concept Z4 in August.

BMW Z4 concept rear

It has a shorter bonnet than the second-gen Z4, as well as vertically stacked headlamps, a stretched nose, slimline rear lamps and metallic rollover bars.

BMW Z4 concept interior

One of the guys behind its design said the next Z4 – due to emerge at some point in 2018 – will be “an all-out driving machine”. Bring it on!

Read more on the Concept Z4 here.

Mazda Vision Coupe

Mazda Vision Coupe

When concepts are devised, the designers usually have to think ‘where would the engine go?’. Not so with the Mazda Vision Coupe, which was imagined purely from an aesthetic angle; if it looks cool, then it stays.

Mazda Vision Coupe rear

Concept cars are typically thrown together in less than 12 months. However, Mazda’s design boss Ikuo Maeda spent two years working on this sleek two-door, making ten sculptures and scale models in that time before presenting his Vision Coupe to the world.

Read more on the Mazda Vision Coupe here.

Mercedes-AMG GT Concept

Mercedes-AMG GT concept

2017 marked the 50th birthday of the Mercedes-AMG division, so what better way to celebrate than showcasing an 804bhp petrol-electric hybrid that can clear 62mph in under 3.5 seconds?

Mercedes-AMG GT concept rear

The chairman of Mercedes-AMG promised it would deliver “impressive driving dynamics, high efficiency, [and] an innovative drive system” when a production version arrived in 2019. Yes please.

Read more on the Mercedes-AMG GT Concept here.

Nissan Leaf Nismo

Nissan LEAF Nismo

The Nissan Leaf may be a fantastic, mould-breaking electric vehicle, and while it may be deceptively nippy, it ain’t no racer. Up step the Leaf Nismo.

Nissan LEAF Nismo rear

It seemed inevitable that Nissan would eventually let its performance division have its wicked way with the Leaf and the potential results were sure to be amazing.

Nissan LEAF Nismo interior

Whether it’ll make production remains to be seen but considering how heavily based it is on the regular Leaf, it seems likely.

Read more on the Leaf Nismo.

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