The Top 5 Cars of the Future, Today
When we talk about futuristic cars, a number of features come to mind. The first thing that I think about is the Jetsons, with my car flying around space and then folding up into a suitcase when I make it to work. Although this seems like a farfetched idea, vehicles like the Terrafugia TF-X or Aermobil are already working on flying cars, just not the suitcase part. These sweet rides (or flights?) might still be some years away, but other futuristic technology is already being added to vehicles available today. Electric cars, drivers assist and even the first self-driving cars are already on the roads everyday with us, and will soon be something we all take for granted. Here is my breakdown of the top 5 most futuristic cars on the road today.
#5 - BMW i3
The BMW i3 comes it at #5 on this for a number of reasons. Fully electric, it is only (yes, I said only) getting 137 mpg-e (miles per gallon equivalent) in the city and 111 mpg-e highway, and has a very limited range of 81 miles. A range extender is available in the form of a two-cylinder engine to recharge the battery, but doesn’t that defeat the purpose? Worst of all, it looks stupid. See that picture? Just wait to see the next 4. Way cooler.
On the positive side, the i3 starts at $42,400, making it the only car in this list that I could actually buy. It would fit in the bed of my truck, so maybe it would be a good fit.
#4 - Alfa Romeo 4C
Being an electric car isn’t the only way to make this list. The Alfa Romeo 4C has a 1.7-liter that delivers 237 horsepower and goes 0 to 60 in 4.1 seconds. How does it manage to do that? Lightweighting. It is made from a single carbon fiber body, aluminum frame for rigidity, and sheet molded compound (SMC) for the outer body which is 20% lighter than steel.
It also looks awesome. Like, I’m having a midlife crisis awesome. Starting at $55,900, options can drive that price up quite a bit, but you’ll probably be the only one in the neighborhood driving one.
#3 - Toyota Mirai
Fuel cell technology allows the Toyota Mirai to run on hydrogen, producing only water vaper as a byproduct. Futuristic and green! With a much more impressive range of 312 miles, and a much less impressive 67 mpg-e, this might be a happy medium for those looking to save the world yet still needing to make it to their day job to pay the bills. Speaking of bills, the Mirai starts at $57,500, not counting the nearly $1,000 “destination fee.”
Good news. Unlike electric batteries of today, the hydrogen-powered car takes the same amount of time as filling up a conventional vehicle. Bad news. There is no infrastructure set up to make this feasible. Enjoy that 1 road trip you get out of this thing before it dies.
#2 - Tesla Model X
Nothing says futuristic like Back to the Future! Look at those doors. I miss the DeLorean. Anyway, #2 on my list is the Tesla Model X, an all-electric SUV. For only $80,000 you can control this roving hippie magnet from a 17-inch touch screen whose software automatically updates whenever Elon Musk feels like it. Adding to the futuristic fun is the addition of semi-autonomous driving (think lane assist) and the newly added summon mode. Press a button and your car will turn itself on, open the garage door and pull itself out into your driveway, ready for you to take off.
Just because you’re going green doesn’t mean you’re missing out on power. The Model X goes from 0 to 60 in just 2.9 seconds! All that pick up and still getting an EPA-estimated range of 289 miles. Seems too good to be true? Well, to have all this fun, the price goes up to around $135,500. Ouch.
#1 - BMW i8
Topping off the list is the big brother of the i3, the BMW i8. This is less like a sibling and more like the kid in school who was the best athlete, got straight A’s and had a bangin’ hot girlfriend. Scissor doors constructed of aluminum, carbon and thermoplastic all make it so even the scrawniest geek (the only ones who can afford this car) can open it with ease. What does the starting price of $140,700 get you? 0 to 60 in 4.2 seconds, 76 mpg-e and 330 mile range. And being able to say you drive a BMW. What else does one need?
Do you have questions on any of these vehicles, or just want to let us know how wrong this list is? Hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @UnproEng. For more great cars of the future information, listen to episode 11 of the Unprofessional Engineering podcast on iTunes or any of the other great podcasting apps out there!