This year's Geneva Motor Show was rife with fabulous vehicles, showing — once again — that the auto industry is not only on the mend, but gaining pace. And you all know what that means: more and increasingly ambitious concept cars. Ironically, they all have to compete with an odd little Morgan 3-wheeler, which would be a concept for any other company. But here in Geneva, it's the first showing for a car that will actually be in customers' hands within a few months. So it's not part of this slide show. However, here are our 10 favorite concepts from the show floor. They illustrate both what may be in showrooms within a year or two, and the stylistic extremes that ooze from a car designer's mind.

Nissan Esflow

Now that Nissan's Leaf electric car is in showrooms, its designers wanted a new challenge, one at the opposite end of the performance spectrum; i.e., they wanted to show what they could do with an electric sports car. The result: the Esflow. Its "liquid mercury" lines have quite the wow factor. The long hood, wraparound windshield and stubby coupe tail are both retro and contemporary at the same time. Another sports car triumph for the company's designers? We think so.

BMW Vision ConnectedDrive

The visual impact of this BMW concept is incredible; pictures don't do it justice. Not since the BMW Z1 has such an exciting 2-seater graced a BMW auto show stand. But the Vision is not just about the sci-fi style and design. It's a total technology-fest, too, packed with all sorts of advanced telemetrics, some of which you've never even thought of. This is the brand's interpretation of the fully networked car, one that fully interacts with both occupants and environment. Smart and sexy, too.

MINI Rocketman

Remember when MINIs were small — well, smaller than they are now? The Rocketman is a throwback to that era. It's shorter than a standard MINI, but just as wide. It's also packed with clever features. The doors are double-hinged, so they open really wide. And the cabin is 3+1: two seats in the front are spacious, and the third seat is behind the passenger, as in the Toyota iQ. A tiny fourth "jump seat" lies behind the driver for emergencies.

Toyota FT-86 II/Subaru Boxer Sports Car

Toyota's FT-86 was featured as a top concept in Geneva a year ago. But this second-generation prototype is not only a closer representation of the production model — both as a Toyota and as a Subaru — but it's just as sweet to look at. If you didn't know, this machine is the result of a collaboration between the two Japanese automakers, with Subaru supplying the power. It's the sports car for those looking for a change from the Nissan 370Z, and what a sports car it is.

Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid

Diesel and hybrid aren't usually two words you'd associate with excitement, but we'll make an exception in the case of the Volvo V60. It promises to be a fast car, with nearly 300 horses under the hood, and it emits only a paltry 49g/km of carbon dioxide. It will supposedly motor up to 32 miles on electric power alone, and when the diesel engine and electric motors work together, it will race from zero to 62 mph in just 6.9 seconds. Not too shabby.

Ford B-Max

Aimed squarely at the compact-car buyer who needs more space within the same footprint as a Fiesta, the B-Max offers sliding rear doors in a side with no pillars. It makes entry as easy as pie. The clean lines are attractive, but the whole package is arguably unadventurous for a motor show concept. Vauxhall's Meriva looks far more radical, and that's already in production.

Alfa Romeo 4C GTA Concept

This is definitely one of the top three concepts at the show. The 4C is intended to prove that sports cars can duck out of the horsepower arms race with a bit of intelligent lightweight engineering — sounds like a Lotus, no? More compact than it looks in the pictures, a situation enhanced by its flat burgundy color scheme, the 4C is awesomely desirable, offering a middle ground between a Lotus Elise and a Porsche Boxster. We'd happily junk the fancy interior if Alfa could get this into production at a sensible price.

VW Combi Bulli

Peace, love and pass the — well, you know. The VW Bulli pulls at the heart strings of baby boomers and patchouli-oil-loving hippies with fond memories of the old VW Microbus. It has been 10 years since the people's carmaker introduced its last Combi concept, and this one looks far more likely to make it to production than that one did. It's more compact than the original, but packaging is still remarkably good, with passengers sitting three abreast on bench seats that will prove perfect at drive-in movies.

Rolls-Royce 102EX

An electric Rolls-Royce? Bizarre, indeed. The British superluxury-car manufacturer has thrown the V12 engine and transmission out of the Phantom saloon and replaced it with the biggest battery pack in Christendom. The 102 EX's 96-cell lithium-ion battery pack powers two electric motors that can deliver almost 400 horsepower and that can propel this big beastie to 60 mph in less than eight seconds. No one seems quite sure yet how far it will go on a single charge. But then, is a Rolls-Royce really practical?

Saab PhoeniX

This imposing, bulky coupe is unlike any Saab you've ever seen. Yet the more you stare at it, the more definitive Saab details catch the eye. We love the nod towards Saab's fighter-plane heritage, even if the winglets alongside the rear window ultimately look daft. It's outlandish, as concepts often are, and the rear end has way too many LEDs. But the "aeromotional" design is striking.