What if the biggest nameplates from Lamborghini, McLaren, Mercedes, Rolls-Royce, and more were reinvented as fast city cars?
Remember the Aston Martin Cygnet? If you don't, it was a tiny little Toyota-based city car that got Aston Martin styling and a lavish interior and was sold as a means of reducing Aston's Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) to avoid heavy taxation. While most other brands managed to escape needing to take such drastic measures, the unusual car will always be remembered as one of the automotive world's strangest creations - especially after somebody asked Aston to shoehorn in the V8 engine from a Vantage S to create one of the best city cars ever.
But what if other manufacturers had to resort to the same philosophy and build teeny-tiny versions of some of their most iconic nameplates? You get some of the best-looking small cars we've seen in a while (thanks to the magic of AI).
Shrink down a C8-generation Corvette Stingray and what do you get? Something that looks like the lovechild of a Corvette and an Autozam AZ-1. In other words, you get a Kei sports car with a mid-mounted engine and American styling, and we kinda like it.
Since this is our list and we can imagine whatever we want, we could choose any powertrain, but in keeping with Japanese Kei culture, we feel the Minivette must be powered by a three-cylinder. Fortunately, GM has one in its stable, so we'd give this creation the turbocharged 1.2-liter three-pot from the 2024 Buick Encore GX pumping out 137 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque. In something this small, it'd be an absolute riot.
The Cadillac Escalade is a flagship model for the American luxury brand, and while it has changed in the years since it first came to market, every generation of the Escalade has had one defining trait - its larger-than-life attitude to both dimensions and styling. But what if we flipped the script and put that larger-than-life aesthetic to work in an itsy-bitsy city crossover?
Well, the result might not be to everyone's liking, but the boxy proportions and oversized wheels would certainly appeal to someone, we're sure. Since it's also a GM model, it could use the same three-pot mentioned above, but we feel a Minilade needs something different... like the 1.3-liter thee-banger from Buick with 155 hp and 174 lb-ft. Street cred sold separately.
When it comes to crazy juxtapositions, V12 hypercars and tiny city cars are two things many wouldn't dare try and mix, but in the spirit of fun, we thought, well, why not? On the one hand, the cab-forward design of a mid-engined hypercar translates well into tiny tyke form, mainly because of the short front overhangs and the sloping windscreen and hood. This gives the Whyra BC (We can call it what we want, OK!) excellent visibility when navigating tight city streets in Italy.
Like the car that inspires it, there's an engine behind the cockpit, and because Pagani works so closely with Mercedes, we reckon this could totally borrow the 125-horsepower, 0.9-liter three-cylinder engine from the Brabus-tuned Smart ForTwo Ultimate 125. Naturally, a big wing is needed to put all that... (what's the opposite of power?) down to the ground through wide rear haunches.
Your humble writer may get lynched in the comments section for this, but I actually kinda like the look of this concept. While the McLaren Speedtail is famous for its lengthened bodywork inspired by the McLaren F1 LM, this city version goes in a wildly different direction. Still, McLaren's design language works really well in miniature, and there's even room for a frunk. The engine is still behind the cockpit, though, but instead of a twin-turbo V8 with hybrid assistance, we feel McLaren could probably engineer an in-house three-cylinder by splitting the Artura's V6 down the middle. Add a turbo, and a little electric motor, and boom, a mini supercar for your local go-kart track and a sporty daily driver for the rest of the week. Just mind the panel gaps.
The AMG G63 6x6 was already wild enough in reality and one of the most unique cars made in recent times. But what if it became a Mini-Merc? Well, clearly, even the AI struggled with the concept because we have what looks like a G-Class for little people hauling along a barrel instead of a truck bed. This one looks less like a real car you could drive and more like something you'd let your toddler drive around the back yard, but then again, being off-road is what the G-Class was meant for, so perhaps this little version would be best suited to traversing lawns - hopefully with electric power.
Shrink a Porsche 911 - arguably the best daily driver supercar - and you get a... well you probably get a VW Beetle, so it's no surprise that's what a miniature GT3 looks like. However, unlike VW's reboot of the Beetle which adopted the Golf's platform, the 911 GT-Mini is still rear-engined, making it an even better homage to Ferdinand Porsche's original Beetle design than VW's. Instead of the traditional flat-six back there, we propose the 1.0-liter three-cylinder from the VW Up GTI, with its 114 hp. We know a GT3 isn't supposed to be turbocharged, but at least the three-banger sounds like a mini-Porsche.
It isn't the most iconic Rolls-Royce nameplate, but it is the biggest, making it the most hilarious to shrink down. The irony of the Cullinan being named after one of the world's biggest diamonds is equally as hilarious when you see it in miniature. While the overall aesthetic translates relatively well into this little concept, we're most pleased that it retains the rear coach doors - or suicide doors - which would not only look cool but be more practical for accessing the undoubtedly tiny rear seats. With BMW backing, a turbocharged three- or four-cylinder engine could give the Half-Carat Cullinan (the real Cullinan diamond is 530 carats, for the record) the get-up-and-go it needs to, well, get up and go.
Bugatti names a lot of its models after famous racing drivers that piloted its early cars, but if you know the backstory of how Louis Chiron screwed over rival driver, and female automotive badass, Helle Nice, then you might reconsider the worthiness of his name on something as majestic and awe-inspiring as a 1,500+ horsepower 16-cylinder Bugatti. After ruining Nice's career by spreading unfounded rumors she was a Gestapo agent during World War II, we reckon this knock-off miniature that could be beaten by a Honda lawnmower is more deserving of the Chiron name. We're not even going to completely rename it as a result - meet the Bugatti Chiron Douchebag.
The big, bad, V12-powered Aventador is dead and its 1,001-hp hybrid V12 replacement is nearly upon us, but what if it lived on in the form of a mini city-Lambo? It could easily retain its name, after all, there's still A Vent (and) A Door in this miniaturized design, and it could even retain the signature Lamborghini angular styling. While a V12 would never fit - despite people having shoved them into the backs of vintage Fiat 500s - we reckon an Audi-sourced inline-five would help the mini Vent-a-door sound as cool as it looks.
Before you slaughter us in the comments below, hear us out... while velociraptors (the dinosaurs) are often portrayed in films as sizable creatures that will nom you to death, in reality, they were only 1.6 ft tall. That means a true representation of a Raptor pickup would actually be tiny - like, smaller than a Maverick tiny.
It's completely far-fetched and looks like a sneaker more than a pickup truck, but if you're going to get your kids on the Raptor bandwagon young, this Mini-Raptor would be perfect.
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