The 30 greatest concept cars ever

Mazda RX-9

Mazda discontinued the oil-thirsty, twin-rotary RX-8 in 2011 (boo!) but the spirit will live on in the Mazda RX-9 (applause). This attractive, almost Jaguar-like concept, set to become a production car in 2013, packs a 300bhp twin-turbo, erm, diesel. Not quite as high-revving as its predecessor, then, but it's still going to be rapid and a hell of a lot more eco-friendly than its predecessor.

Lotus Hot Wheels

Haters say that those who appreciate a good car never really grew up. If that's the case, then we're going to absolutely love the Lotus Hot Wheels concept from 2007. As a 1:5 scale model designed by Lotus for the toy car maker, unless you are incredibly short, you won't be getting in it. Bit of a shame, that – the open-top two-seater missile wouldn't look out of place with Tony Stark behind the wheel.

Audi Locus

Turkey isn't known for its car design, but maybe it should be with design talent on tap like Ugur Sahin, the chap who created the stunning Audi Locus. This mesmerising set of wheels is curvier than Kim Kardashian and has a behind that would shame Jennifer Lopez. Nature is meant to be the design theme, which is probably why those flowing lines are so easy on the eye. The car's, not Kim's.

Lamborghini Miura concept

Creating a modern version of what many petrolheads would say is one of the prettiest cars of all time was never going to be easy, but the Muira Concept – created to mark the original car's 40th birthday – sure gets our pulse racing. Conceived by Lamborghini design chief Walter de Silva, the concept Muira body sits on top of the Murcielago supercar, making it as beautiful as it is deadly.

General Motors Firebird 1

Is it a plane? Is it a car? Actually it's both rolled into one bizarre creation. The General Motors Firebird 1 comprises wheels strapped to what looks incredibly like a jet fighter with stubby wings. Don't laugh back there - this was cutting edge back in 1953.

As what can only be described as a Thunderbirds toy, the Firebird 1 was actually created to see whether a gas turbine engine would be viable in the cars of the future. Obviously it wasn't, but the 370hp experiment certainly raises a smile, even though it never took off.