Italdesign gets modular and electric with GTZero concept
Italdesign Giugiaro has had a very nice string of Geneva show cars – last year's GEA autonomous concept was preceded by 2014's Clipper electric MPV, which came a year after the 2013 Parcour off-road sports coupe (which gave way to the Audi Nanuk Quattro later that year). After that intriguing, diverse trio, Italdesign could have taken Geneva 2016 off without a word of criticism. But instead, the Italian design house once again debuted one of the more interesting concepts of the show. The all-new GTZero is Italdesign's vision of a modular, all-electric grand tourer packed with innovation.
We declared the GTZero one of our best-in-show favorites in our concept car round-up and thought we should provide a fuller look at a concept that's interesting on several levels. Italdesign described the GTZero as "a car with a futuristic design that does not lose its grip on reality."
At 193.6 in long by 77.7 in wide (4,918 x 1,974 mm), the GTZero is just a hair smaller than the most similar new car out there, the Ferrari GTC4Lusso, which also made its debut in Geneva. Standing 50.2 in (1,274 mm) tall on its 22-in front and 23-in rear wheels, it's more than 4 in (102 mm) lower than newest Prancing Horse, a fact that's pretty clear to the naked eye when you look at the diving roofline. Its 113-in (2,875-mm) wheelbase is over 4.5 in shorter than the GTC4.
Like Ferrari's new four-seat GT, the GTZero combines four-wheel drive and four-wheel steering for proficient grip and handling in all types of conditions. Unlike its countrymate from Maranello, the GTZero relies completely on electric power, with two motors secured to the front axle and one at the rear. Those three motors team up for 483 hp (360 kW) and enjoy enough battery power to keep the car moving for up to 311 miles (500 km) – it's an optimistic range estimate which, like the claimed 155 mph (250 km/h) top speed, we don't actually have to challenge because we're talking about a design house concept car here.
Italdesign doesn't specify the battery behind that robust range, but it does make clear that keeping weight modest was a priority in the GTZero's construction. The car weighs 4,365 lb (1,980 kg) and features a composite body draped atop a carbon monocoque with aluminum subframes, a structure Italdesign says can be easily reworked to create cars of different styles and powertrain types. The battery is contained within the chassis.
In terms of styling, Italdesign has done an excellent job of giving the GTZero memorable looks. The car's curvy hood, sharp eyes, muscular fenders and pronounced aerodynamics are all "high-performance sports car," while its length and broad rear-end are "roomy shooting brake with space for luggage." It's at the rear that the GTZero is most distinct, with a hexagonal windshield dominating the tail view. More than just a windscreen, the LED-framed glass also provides access to the rear cargo area.
The four occupants access the interior through the two butterfly doors. Those folks can sit in traditional 2+2 configuration or, by moving the passenger seat, in a 3+1 layout.
The cabin follows a "less is more" philosophy, and physical controls, save for the parking brake, are replaced by touch inputs, including dual touch pads behind the steering wheel for controlling the multi-depth OLED driver display, and a pair of pads on the frontside of the wheel for lights, turn indicators and windshield wipers.
Information reaches the driver through an innovative multi-screen display that creates a digital rendition of the instrument panel. A compact central front screen shows drive gear information, while two side screens set back from the front-center screen serve as the speedometer and rev counter. The rearmost level is reserved for the largest display, which shows navigation info. When the driver selects "Pista!" mode using the steering wheel touch pads, the screens collapse to leave a single main screen for a more streamlined view.
The sloped central multi-touch display serves up infotainment, gear selection, lighting and climate controls. Premium materials like leather, satin aluminum and carbon complete the distinctive interior design.
Like many a design house show car, this one is unlikely to show up in the future as anything more than an entry in a classic concept car exhibition or media compilation of Italian automotive styling. So take it in while you have the chance – you'll find plenty more angles in our full photo gallery.
Source: Italdesign Giugiaro