17 March 2008

Wedge of reason

Meet Giugiaro's Quaranta concept. It's like the Nineties never happened

Quaranta Concept

Giorgetta Giugiaro's Italdesign studio has gone all 1980s with a new sports concept called the Quaranta.

The wedgier-than-a-doorstop-emporium Quaranta is described as a 'four-wheel-drive super-sports car', and is powered by a Toyota-sourced hybrid drivetrain.

A 3.3-litre petrol engine is mated to a battery system with a pair of electric motors, a system that, says Italdesign, will allow the Quaranta to manage 621 miles on a single tank but also crack 60mph in just four seconds.

The Hybrid Synergy Drive system is supplemented by electrical power from the roof-mounted solar panels - a roof that hinges right off from the front of the car. Like opening a pistachio nut. Or something.

The roof isn't the only bit of oddball design on the Quaranta. There's a McLaren F1-style three-seat layout, with the driver in the middle - but with a space behind for a child. A very small child, by the looks of things.

In the cabin, the traditional stalks have been replaced by keys - presumably the button sort rather than the Chubb lock sort.

With its wedgy, monobox shape and squared-off rear end, the Quaranta should at least be seriously aerodynamic. To keep things slippy, Italdesign has done away with the front grille, instead opting for two air inlets above the headlights which apparently help to stabilise the front wheels at speed.

Italdesign says that the Quaranta's retro looks are 'modelled on F1 styling', but we can't help noticing the resemblance to Michael Jackson's Moonwalker car. Just us? Oh.

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