The concept of driving all four wheels was once restricted to utilitarian off-road vehicles. Audi changed that in 1980 with its Quattro -- the first car to bring four-wheel drive to an appealing sports coupe. Audi proved the Quattro's performance potential by entering and dominating the sport of rallying, where its four-wheel drive was a key asset.
The Mini made its debut in 1959, showcasing some extremely clever packaging that allowed this tiny vehicle to accommodate four adults.
The original Mini defined how small a car could be while still offering practicality for up to four people.
At one point, Ford stripped down an original Mini to see if it could make an equally small vehicle at profit. Its engineers concluded that they couldn't.
Volvo engineer Nils Bohlin used his aviation experience to invent a three-point safety belt. The Swedish brand then opened up the patent so other manufacturers could introduce the life-saving technology.
Karl Benz used his wife's wealth to fund the development of his "Motorwagen" -- widely acknowledged to be the first car in the world.
Bertha Benz was innovating even as she undertook her first long-distance drive in the world's first automobile. Her stop for fuel at a pharmacy in effect invented the filling station.
Ford was the first company to mass-manufacture the automobile, taking existing engineering principles but introducing a production line.
The Model T was so successful that within 10 years of starting production, Ford's Highland Park plant in Michigan had turned out its 10 millionth example of the car.
Although Toyota didn't invent the electric car, it brought hybrids to mass market with Prius back in 1997. It made its nine millionth hybrid car in 2016, having produced the latest million examples in just nine months.
The Citroen DS looked like a car from the 1970s when it was revealed in 1955. It had several innovations, including disc brakes.
Beneath the DS's swoopy looks lurked a chassis with some trick technology, including a hydraulic-based self-leveling suspension for a comfy ride.
The automatic gearbox as we know it appeared in mass-market form in 1940, on this Oldsmobile.
The Aston Martin Lagonda was one of the boldest shapes of the 1970s, and its cabin contained some equally bold innovations.
The Lagonda was the first car to use a digital instrument panel -- but the cutting-edge technology was prone to failure.
Modern car innovations tend to focus on connectivity as much as mechanical ingenuity. The latest Land Rover can raise and lower six of its seven seats using a smartphone app.