Concept cars showcase cutting edge in auto tech

Acura debuts their new 2016 Acura RDX. Photo by Todd M. Freimuth.

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he future is now; it runs on four wheels and can be seen at McCormick Place as the 107th Chicago Auto Show gets underway. Every year, the show rolls into Chicago and gives car manufacturers the opportunity to showcase new models, concepts and the latest technology to hit the roads in the coming years.

This year does not disappoint as the nation’s largest auto show debuts several new concepts and techs.

In the way of sports utility vehicles, Acura debuted their new 2016 Acura RDX. The new SUV sports LED projector headlamps and taillights and an improved torque curve for more immediate acceleration response with its six-cylinder engine. The vehicle can deactivate two of the engines for better gas mileage under lighter loads, said Acura at their press conference.

A technology package for the car also adds rain sensing wipers, ventilated front seats and bi-directional keyless remote engine startup.

But it isn’t just luxury SUVs debuting new technologies this year.

Nissan unveiled their brand new 600-horsepower GT-R LM Nismo racecar. The sleek looking racecar floats inches off the pavement and was designed by engineers from Japan, Europe and the U.S., said Fred Diaz , senior vice President for Nissan sales and marketing and operations.

Nissan unveiled their brand new 600-horsepower GT-R LM Nismo racecar. Photo by Todd Freimuth.

“We gave [this car] to Le Mans, for the first time in a number of years, to take on the big guys at the front of the world’s most famous race,” said Darren Cox, global head of brand marketing and sales for Nismo.

The Le Mans-style racecar, which has a body similar to a Formula One racer, places its V6 3.0 liter twin turbo gasoline engine in the front of its front-wheel drive car, while its hybrid power is generated from its front driveline to help with rapid acceleration.

Truck lovers got some eye candy from an updated Ram Laramie. Focusing on aesthetics and luxury, Ram is offering new black leather interiors with wood paneling and a heated steering wheel. On the exterior, Ram redesigned the truck’s grill and color schemes.

But to make even the Jetsons envious, Mitsubishi unveiled a new experimental concept vehicle called the GC-PHEV this year. The full-size SUV features several new technologies that Don Swearingen, executive vice president of Mitsubishi Motors North America, said will be incorporated into more production models.

Mitsubishi paid particular attention during their press conference to what they have dubbed the “Tactical Table.”

“It’s a tech hub that processes information from the vehicle and its occupants and its environment. It helps you plan your day,” said Swearingen.

The table runs along the center of the car starting at the front arm rests, past two swiveling seats in the back of the vehicle. The table acts like a touchscreen computer monitor that can share data if two riders place their smartphones on the table.

Catch all these latest technologies, cars and horsepower at McCormick Place until Feb. 22. Tickets for adults are $12 and $6 for kids ages 7-12 years old.

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