Munich Motor Show: 6 concept cars of the future at IAA Mobility 2021

Date Posted 8th September 2021
Read Time 11 min read

All eyes are on the Munich Motor Show 2021 this week, formally called IAA Mobility 2021. Spanning across the German city via a huge motor show space, city centre displays, and an interlinked test track, the automotive industry elite have gathered to get a first look at the cars of tomorrow. 

With some of the world’s most renowned motoring brands in attendance, IAA Mobility 2021 is the place for new model reveals. Some of the most innovative manufacturers have unveiled vehicles that have been compared to private jets, others where the backseats turn into a mini cinema, and some where wood chips and rice husks have been used for the interior materials. If one thing rings true for the pioneering designs we’ve seen so far, it’s that this really is a manufacturer’s world – and we’re just living in it!

We’ve selected the cream of the crop to bring you six concept cars of the future to keep on your radar.


At Audi’s House of Progress stand on Wittelsbacherplatz, the centrepiece was the all-electric Audi Grandsphere concept car. Putting the spotlight on e-mobility, visitors discovered a brave and bold future vision which reimagines both luxury and mobility. 

The Audi Gransphere turned heads at the Munich Motor Show 2021. The design draws on premium mobility; it offers connectivity, it’s sustainable, fully electric, and autonomous. A list of impressive technologies sets the bar high for the brand with the iconic four rings. 

Level 4 autonomous driving, for example, will open up a whole new world of freedom for drivers. The steering wheel, pedals, and displays will retract out of sight. As a result, the interior transforms into a spacious lounge with an unobstructed view and access to all the features of the holistic digital ecosystem that the Audi Grandsphere is integrated into.

Dubbed as “the private jet for the road” the Audi Grandsphere concept feels like a first class flight. Standing at 5.35m (17.6 ft.) long, it combines the luxury of private travel in great comfort and with a wholesome onboard experience. The Audi Grandsphere is scheduled to launch in 2024.


Cupra came to play in the big leagues at the Munich Motor Show 2021. Pushing the limits with its most radical interpretation of an urban electric car, the Cupra UrbanRebel concept was revealed at the new Cupra City Garage in Munich. 

Carrying the company’s legendary racing DNA, the concept car is all-electric with a sharp design and daring vision. Cupra believes that this is the future of what a strong street-car will look like. 

The road version of the Cupra UrbanRebel will mix stealthy design with supreme dynamics, maintaining a sporty character thanks to striking and athletic lines, a bold expression, and a gender-neutral approach. All of this will be amplified by the electric era.

At the front, the shark nose was created using a negative surface. The front face is also emphasised by the new triangular signature in the headlamps. Its wrap-around window graphic generates the visual effect of a helmet and gives continuity between the windows around the whole car to deliver the effect of a floating roof.

Moving to the side, the car reveals athletic proportions, thanks to the wedge line – from the C-pillar to the front door – with diagonal sculptural surfaces that create contrast.

The rear view of the UrbanRebel Concept shows a bold approach and a new interpretation of the design seen in the Cupra Formentor. Additionally, the large spoiler – a nod to racing cars seen in the virtual world – gives it an imposing look underlined by the negative surface beneath it.

The Cupra UrbanRebel Concept delivers 250kW of continuous power and up to 320kW at its peak. It can accelerate from zero to 100 km/h in only 3.2 secs. Mixing pure electrification, sustainability and performance with exciting aesthetics influenced by the digital era, the Cupra UrbanRebel is set to be launched in 2025.


BMW's i Vision Circular is a feat for EVs at the Munich Motor Show 2021

Strictly focusing on sustainability and luxury, BMW’s Vision Vehicle space at the Munich Motor Show 2021 saw five different concept vehicles revealed. One of the standouts is the compact BMW i Vision Circular, a four-seater, fully-electric-powered design with economic principles at its core. 

With a four-metere-long footprint, there’s a generous amount of interior space teamed with digitalisation and versatility for urban driving. The BMW i Vision Circular encompasses the manufacturer’s aim to achieve climate neutrality and reduce CO2 emissions. The car is optimised for closed materials cycles and achieves 100 percent use of recycled materials and 100 per cent recyclability. This involves making particular use of materials that have already completed a product life cycle – or secondary materials as they are known – alongside certified bio-based raw materials. 

The same applies to the energy storage device: the all-solid-state battery in the BMW i Vision Circular is 100 per cent recyclable and manufactured almost entirely using materials sourced from the recycling loop. It will achieve much higher energy density with significantly reduced use of the most valuable resources.

Another way of ensuring the BMW i Vision Circular’s long lifespan is by incorporating digital to create new experiences. Constant updates over the air and cloud computing keep the product up to date for longer. And the vehicle’s life cycle can also be extended by refurbishing and re-design. Easily detachable connections make it far simpler for users to replace individual materials and component parts, allowing them to keep restyling the vehicle.

Furthermore, the classical instrument panel is turned into a next-generation phygital user interface – meaning it bridges the concept of physical and digital – by taking the form of a hovering, V-shaped sculpture that projects out into the cabin. At its heart is a 3D-printed, crystal body with nerve-like structures running through it, great visual depth and an enthralling lighting effect. This is where the vehicle’s “thinking” is visualised, allowing the user to see its intelligence at work.

The BMW i Vision Circular addresses an extremely wide range of mobility needs in the face of fast-changing requirements and growing challenges, with BMW Group planning to become the world’s most sustainable manufacturer in the individual premium mobility space. We’ll be waiting a while for this concept to come alive. The launch date is set for 2040.


Taking centre stage at the Munich Motor Show 2021 was the Volkswagen ID. LIFE

Spearheading its “Accelerate” strategy, Volkswagen are speeding up their transformation to electric and sustainable mobility with the unveiling of the ID. Life concept car at the Munich Motor Show 2021.  

The manufacturer’s vision of a fully electric small car for the urban environment is centred around people and communal experiences. The concept car combines sustainability and digitalisation with extremely flexible usage. The Volkswagen ID. Life can become a mini cinema or a gaming centre with visuals displayed on the projection screen, or can simply be used for relaxing in the open air.

The ID. Life is Volkswagen’s vision of next-generation fully-electric urban mobility. In creating the ID. Life, Volkswagen has focused on the needs of younger drivers looking for a vehicle in the small car segment . With more lifestyle features to enhance personal expression, the ID. Life is strikingly clear, pared-down and high-quality. 

The horizontal division between the body, glass surfaces and roof also contributes to the car’s purist appearance. An individualised and removable roof made of air chamber textile lends an open-air feeling in the ID. Life, while also reducing the vehicle’s weight.

This is also the first time a vehicle based on Volkswagen’s MEB platform has front-wheel drive. With its 275 kW (234 PS) electric motor, the ID. Life accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in 6.9 seconds, while its 57 kWh high-voltage battery enables a range of some 400 kilometres (WLTP).

The sustainable character of the ID. LIFE is reflected particularly in the choice of materials and paint finishes. Everything from wood chips to recycled PET bottles, bio-oil, natural rubber, and rice husks are used in the bodywork, the roof, and the interiors. 

Cameras and a display replace both the exterior and interior mirrors. Essential driving functions are controlled via a touch panel on the hexagonal, open-topped steering wheel, and a smartphone can be integrated in the operating system too. Set to launch on the market in 2025, two years ahead of schedule, VW are aiming for an entry level price of 20,000 Euros.


The Mercedes Concept EQG was revealed at the Munich Motor Show 2021

Mercedes-Benz came equipped for the the Munich Motor Show 2021. Their star reveal came in the form of the Concept EQG, an all-electric model variant of its utilitarian off-road icon, the G-Class. 

Visually, the Mercedes Concept EQG combines the unmistakable look of the G-Class with selected design elements typical of all-electric models from Mercedes. The 4×4 qualities of the “G” will not only find their way into the age of electric mobility, but will be developed even further in certain areas. The Concept EQG offers a promising preview of what a Mercedes-Benz G-Class with battery-electric drive will be capable of.

Though the design is G-Class DNA through and through, the Concept EQG’s off-road capabilities are far from compromised. In fact, this vehicle is more at home on difficult terrain than anywhere else. Thanks to the pulling power of its electric all-wheel drive and its low centre of gravity, the Concept EQG is optimally prepared for future adventures involving steep slopes and deep terrain.

Another highlight of the exterior design is the flat roof rack in high-gloss black. The central element of its minimalist design is the “G”, while the white LED strip integrated into the front edge of the roof rack is a modern interpretation of the searchlight. This underlines the seriousness of the Concept EQG when it comes to all-electric off-roading.

The Concept EQG rides on 22-inch polished aluminium alloy wheels in an exclusive design. Instead of the usual spare wheel cover, there is a lockable box with white illuminated accents on the rear door, whose design is reminiscent of a wallbox. 

An on-road version of the Mercedes Concept EQG is expected to go on sale in 2025.


The Munich Motor Show 2021 revealed smart concept 1

The Munich Motor Show 2021 was Smart’s turn to show the world what’s in store for the future. 

Entering a new era with the reveal of the smart Concept #1, this aims to be the leading model in the new generation of all-electric vehicles for the manufacturer. 

The cute SUV concept vehicle takes the Smart brand into the high-growth small and compact car segment. The near-production Smart Concept #1 transfers compact exterior dimensions and the traditional Smart design into a new vehicle with a significantly higher premium and high-tech claim.

The concept car is underlined by innovative details such as LED light strips at the front and rear with a rhythmic light show, ambient lighting throughout the cabin, and a newly developed UI/UX concept with artificial intelligence. In true Smart fashion, the interior of the electric SUV is very spacious in relation to its compact exterior dimensions.

This Smart model will offer high levels of dynamic handling and passive safety. Moreover, the platform gives the vehicles multiple further benefits including a long battery life and fast-charging functions, as well as a wide range of cloud-based over-the-air updates for vehicle software. There’s also state-of-the-art infotainment features and highly innovative driver assistance systems.

A powerful central computer controls the four main domains: infotainment, driver assistance systems, electromobility-specific functions and the electric/electronic vehicle architecture (E/E architecture). Thanks to dynamic OTA software updates, more than 75 percent of all ECUs can be updated remotely on an ongoing basis.

The unique design of the control interface, which is shown for the first time in the Smart Concept #1, is particularly user-friendly: a three-dimensional globe serves as the central menu item on the high-resolution 12.8-inch touchscreen and an AI avatar helps the user navigate through the menus and functions. Thanks to artificial intelligence, this virtual companion constantly learns from the user’s behaviour and can adapt increasingly to their individual preferences.

The Smart Concept #1 is due to enter production in 2023.

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