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Frankfurt Motor Show 2005 - Highlights
 What we've seen • Our photos and comment

Page 5 of 5

BMW Z4 Coupe concept

The previous Z3 Coupe was no oil painting, didn't sell very strongly and BMW once said they wouldn't replace it, so in many ways it's surprising to see this car. The arrival of the Porsche Cayman was probably too strong a target to resist and the Z4 Coupe offers a similar concept of two-seat closed cockpit sportscar based on a roadster platform. The resulting impression is a bit odd – there's a lot of edges and lines around the rear that don't really line up, the cabin feels very upright and the DLO has a hint of Nissan 350Z about it.

The deep tailgate provides good trunk loading yet the solid bulkhead behind the seats restricts the versatility of the car. Interestingly, the satin silver paint finish shown on the showcar adds to the lightly 'brittle' look to this design but it's a very niche market BMW are aiming at, so maybe they are right to be deliberately unconventional.

Daihatsu HVS concept

Daihatsu unveiled the HVS, a hybrid sports car using electric motors to bring its 1000cc engine up to the strength of a two litre unit. To see the car sitting alongside the still-fresh Copen seems a surprising product planning decision, though the choice of powerplant is not, given that Daihatsu belongs to Toyota Motor Corporation. This latest thrust by TMC shows their determination to be synonymous with the technology, and the design shows much confidence from Daihatsu's Osaka studio.

Unusually for a Japanese car, the barrel body has a thick section, supported by prominent arches that slip into the upper surfaces. Smaller than the conceptually similar MX-5, the HVS seems closer to a Triumph Spitfire instead of the Lotus Elan that Mazda chose to emulate. Initial sketches featured a dipping swage lifted by rear haunches, with cowled rear graphic and pinched front edge. Inside, the architecture is suitably simple and solid. Consistent in concept, if not theme, the HVS is let down only by its tearful face.

Peugeot Moovie concept

It's every design student's dream to see their work put on display as a full size concept at a major show - and that's exactly what Peugeot have done.

Andre Costa from Portugal was the winner of the third Peugeot Design Contest and this is his design made into a full size mock-up. The two-seater urban vehicle has a huge glass area for outstanding visibility and maneuverability in tight spaces. The enormous rear wheels generate the circular theme of the cabin, with the glass centre of the 'wheel' rotating forwards for entry to the cabin. Small spheres at the front replace conventional wheels.

In the flesh, the use of pale yellow for the interior gives it a much lighter, more airy look than in the original renderings and the translation into full size appears to have been well resolved.

Toyota i-Unitconcept

Toyota displayed a running mock-up of an advanced one-person mobility concept at Frankfurt that stopped visitors in their tracks. The i-Unit can run indoors or outside and uses sculptural leaf shapes for its form inspiration.

The wheelbase varies depending on speed - at low speed it remains upright with the occupant's eyepoint similar to walking so they can interact with pedestrians; at higher speed the pod reclines to become a mini sports car with exceptional stability and handling. Control of the i-Unit is by drive-by-wire hand controllers linked to intelligent positioning sensors. Accidents and congestion would therefore be completely avoided. The vehicle uses biometric sensors to recognise you through palms and facial features and can react to your personality too, for instance changing the body colour using LEDs.

It's nice to see a major car company not only tackle this type of advanced concept but also engineer it, display it to the public and open some real dialogue about the future of transportation.

Related stories:
Tokyo Motor Show 2003 - Toyota PM

EDAG Roadster concept

The Fulda-based company, EDAG, have showed a number of concepts over the last five years at IAA and Geneva shows. This latest roadster study, Show Car No. 8, has been designed "as the ultimate driving machine, an expression of individuality and a positive attitude to life", says Johannes Barckmann, head of the EDAG design team.
The mid-engined design features a strongly diving beltline and a sharp slash in the side that sweeps down into the side air intakes. The short rear end is notable for the central airscoop for the engine and prominent rear deck, while the front end combines a friendly face with dynamic lines. Overall, it succeeds as a pretty two-seat roadster whose role is to explain the advantages of various EDAG-developed engineering systems.

Karmann SUC concept

There is a tendency to ignore concepts from suppliers often because they lack the intrinsic quality and innovation of the major OEMs. But it isn't just because of the dearth of good concept cars at Frankfurt than we are featuring the SUC. This concept is a polished and handsome, albeit conventional, design that suggests a new type of car: the 'Sports Utility Cabrio', a niche that should have potential, given that many people when choosing a leisure vehicle consider both SUV and cabriolet.

Nominally the size of the BMW X5, the SUC is notable for – like recent Renault show cars – splitting the grille and incorporating the two air intakes with the lamp graphics. Other interesting design elements are a shoulder that spears up at the C-pillar and a canopy that floats over the instrument console.


© 2005 Car Design News Ltd
Last updated: Mon, Sep 19, 2005