Geneva Motor Show 2009 - Highlights
by CDN Team   

Ford Iosis MAX

The relevance of this Ford concept is not too hard to decipher: sized firmly in the Focus segment with a high-ish roofline and ‘MAX' in the title, its proportions pretty much give it away. And with the previous two Iosis concepts - the Iosis and Iosis X - leading to the Mondeo and Kuga respectively, it seems likely the Iosis MAX will inform the look of both the next generation C-Max and Focus due from 2010.

There are plenty of showcar flourishes from clever two-stage front and rear doors to the Aeron office chair-a-like mesh seat inserts, but the basic rakish silhouette, small DLO and deep, large trapezoidal lower grille with slim horizontal upper grille (like the new Fiesta) could well make production relatively unscathed.

The interior, led by Ernst Reim, is light and spacious with skeletal-style slim seats hanging off a central spine allowing for storage space and the feeling of space underneath. In a nice link to the exterior, the central driver's dial has translucent angular sections surrounding it in a similar way to the eyelash-like daytime running lights around the front LED headlamps. More neat touches include the unique mounting arrangement to allow the binnacle to move back and forth with the steering wheel to keep an optimum view of the instruments, and the unusual geometric surface texture and pattern on the instrument panel and floor.

From exterior through to interior and color and trim, this concept is yet another example of the consistency and excellence of Ford of Europe's design team right now.

Related Articles:
Design Review: Ford Iosis
Design Development: Ford Fiesta
Interview: Martin Smith, Design Director, Ford of Europe


Frazer-Nash Namir by Giugiaro concept

The Namir concept is a joint venture between Giugiaro design and the famous pre-war English sports car company founded in 1923, which has bee specializing in the construction and marketing of hybrid systems since the early 1990s. Technically it's interesting, featuring a hybrid electric drivetrain comprising an 814cc rear transverse rotary petrol engine coupled with electric motors installed on the front and rear suspensions - developing an overall power of 362bhp - yet has very low emissions of 60g/km of CO2.

From a design perspective it's less impressive, although it's still a striking Italian supercar. A diamond theme dictates the design from all points of view, drawing its inspiration from the historic logo of the Frazer-Nash name. Seen in plan view or side view it works OK, but it's a fairly contrived approach for an all-new brand and the over-use of graphics to define the design leads to a number of functional shortcomings. The diamond-shaped air intakes on the bodyside can be seen as a graphical extension of the pronounced V-shape to the top and base of the screen. However, visibility from the driver's seat is very limited, while the lean-forward B-pillar severely restricts entry, though the little triangular extensions from the doors into the roof seem to be an attempt to redress this.

The interior features brown Alcantara and leather, with baseball stitching used on the seat sides, plus herringbone tweed cloth used on the lower dashboard. Three touch screen monitors are installed behind the hexagonal single spoke steering wheel.

In summary, the Namir disappoints and appears as a collection of old-school Lamborghini ideas: the basic profile, scissor doors, number of intakes, even the orange color. It would have been nice to see a more original styling approach for a newly revived brand.


Aston Martin Lagonda

Not content with simply showing the One-77 concept model, Aston Martin also chose the 2009 Geneva Motor Show to reveal a new concept car for its revived Lagonda sister brand on the second press day (Wednesday 4 March).

Aston's intention is to make Lagonda about luxury travel and enable it to enter emerging markets like China and Russia where out-and-out sportscars are less successful. To differentiate it from the forthcoming four-seat Aston Martin Rapide, the four-seat Lagonda's shape is demonstrably more grand tourer or four-wheel drive luxury crossover than low-slung sports coupe.

However, the result is large and high-sided with huge 22-inch wheels and a massive virtually upright front grille. In profile, especially in the early press photos, its clam-shell roof with blacked out A- and B-pillars recalls the side profile of the Saab 9-X BioHybrid concept, but in the metal, its much greater size and height, chunkier wheelarches and distinctive protruding rear end with cool pillar-box slot rear window, quickly dispel that notion.

The cabin feels suitably spacious and calm inducing given the long distance travel for which it is intended, with generous head and legroom. The luxurious interior was designed by ex-Citroen man Steven Platt, (also behind the inside of the acclaimed 2006 C-Metisse concept). Beyond the usual high-quality leather and metal appointments, the defining detail of the cabin is the diamond-cut pattern faux fur around each seat collar with more inside various cubbyhole areas.

While tramping the halls, we heard precious few positive comments from other designers regarding the Lagonda concept's aesthetics, many comparing it unfavorably with the acclaimed concept from Moray Callum, launched here in 1993. While the decision to position the Lagonda as a crossover model to distance it from the svelte Rapide is understandable, the lack of subtlety in its design is surprising.