The concept behind the Puyo was to create a 'Seamless Soft Box' form that is kind to both people and the environment, with the feel of an adorable pet. In fact, the name 'Puyo' is a Japanese term that is meant to express the tactile sensation of touching a soft body, conveying a warm, friendly impression.
The footprint of the Puyo is a simple rectangle and as one moves up the body, it becomes progressively softer in form. The three layers of the body comprise a base chassis, finished in silver, a white body clothed in an 8mm silicon gel skin and, finally, an upper cabin that is completely glazed. The gel body is semi-translucent so that selected areas, such as headlamps, doorhandles and badges, can be illuminated through the surface - a theme that was common to several concepts at Tokyo.
One problem with this approach is that there is no room for automotive conventions such as feature lines, surface changes, tumblehome, nor graphics such as grille apertures, lamps or mirrors and one is left with a minimal impression that is compounded by the small 13-inch wheels and simplistic graphics that remain. Moreover, the gel skin has a slightly patchy appearance around the edges where the thickness varies (or where many fingers have touched it) and, in all, it's not exactly clear what the real advantage of the gel body might be.
The interior, entered by large rectangular scissor-type doors, is more promising. Here, the steering wheel is replaced by a driver control joystick on the door and the IP is comprised of transparent grey fabric that's illuminated from behind. When activated, the fabric covering the navigation controls in the console and the navigation screen is stretched to allow the screen to be clearly seen.
The Hi-CT is Toyota's latest answer for a vehicle to appeal to young couples in Japan, a generation who appear to be losing interest in conventional sporty cars and find a tall and boxy profile far more appealing. So Toyota have come up with the Hi-CT, a concept with the look of a baby Peterbilt truck, employing a high beltline, short nose, upright A-pillars and flat sides.
In photos, it's hard to appreciate the small size of the vehicle - just 3.3 meters long but 1.8 meters tall. The sheer bodysides are relieved by a deep groove in the lower flanks that forms an entry step. The 'cliff face' front has an unusual crest in the upper nose that emanates from the high-mounted Toyota emblem and headlamps that are mounted low down in the fenders.
The rear continues the truck theme. The cab ends just forward of the rear axle and has a short platform where the 5th wheel would be on a full size rig. On this are mounted a pair of Toyota folding powered skateboards that function like miniature Segways. The tailgate can be opened to access the tiny rear seat, which can be turned into a picnic perch by folding the seatback forward in the manner of old streetcar seats. There's no trunk as such - the seatback is hard against the cab wall in normal forwards-facing mode.
The interior is a contrast of color with bold graphics. The main color for the floor and seat bases is dark purple, with white silk used as a contrast texture on the deep IP and on the seats. This is enlivened by red printed silk door panels and recesses in surfaces, almost in the manner of an exotic fruit that's been cut in half to reveal bright red edges to the exposed sections. The hump in the exterior hood becomes a graphics screen at the windscreen base, covered in stretched fabric with readouts illuminated through the material. Beautifully detailed areas throughout the cabin are evident, such as seatbelt buckles and a roof console with an engine start button within.
This is a pre-production teaser of the new A1 that Audi plans to launch next year as a new premium B-Segment entry model for the range. In essence, the Metroproject Quattro is a classical design that blends elements of several Audi models together in a cohesive way and doesn't attempt to repeat the 'baby MPV' look of the unsuccessful A2 that was quietly dropped from production last year.
The exterior design, by Jurgen Loffler, is characterised by two parallel lines that circle the car. The lower one is the familiar Audi undercut shoulder line, the upper one is the beltline that loops around the hood panel and, at the rear, forms a distinctive crease in the rear tailgate. As on the Q7, the rear lamps are incorporated in the tailgate and rise with it, while the top of the glass contains a neat roof spoiler. The trunk floor features a glass panel in the floor to reveal the hybrid drive motor.
At the front, the grille is deeply recessed, with a brushed aluminum frame and a new square grille texture, inspired by the S-series chequered flag motif. Headlamps feature a broad white U-shaped LED signature, while the aluminum pillars and cantrail emphasize the relatively tall glasshouse of this car compared to most current Audis.
The muted grey-on-grey interior is typically Audi-feeling but with a couple of new twists: the IP is strongly convex in plan shape and has a surrounding light grey band that runs into the doors. Grey neoprene fabric is used on seat sides, door pads, steering wheel and contact areas with a fine red stitching and aluminum is used for detailing, including the frames to the seat headrest holes. Finally, there's an Audi mobile device - a portable phone/MP3/navigation unit that is controlled by a new design of the Audi MMI controller with added softkeys.