|Italdesign Quaranta Concept|
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The "Quaranta" project is a concept car designed to celebrate Italdesign Giugiaro's forty years of business in styling and technological research at the service of the automotive sector. The Quaranta, world-premiered at the 2008 Geneva International Motor Show, is a synthesis of Italdesign Giugiaro's unmatched experience of automotive design: from city cars to super sports-cars, from MPVs to medium-engined saloons up to and including luxury flagships and environment-friendly SUV, not to mention light/heavy duty commercial vehicles, in complete cooperation with leading manufacturers all over the world.
The Quaranta is an "extreme" product, an environment-friendly, 4WD super sports-car which incorporates a series of innovative aspects: its styling, but also its drive technology, which combines a hybrid engine with solar energy, and its internal layout which, despite its mid-mounted rear engine, can accommodate three adults and a child, also providing a generous luggage compartment.
The idea which inspired the Quaranta project is that of the first single-volume concept car with central engine and drive. The original reference is to the 1968 Bizzarrini Manta which, at that time, represented a major breakthrough in styling, now adapted to state-of-the-art technology and enriched with Italdesign Giugiaro's forty years experience of research.
Despite its flat, highly compact shape, the Quaranta features a single-volume shape characterized by a continuous body line stretching from its clipped nose to the tail that exploits the almost horizontal rake of the windscreen. Access to the cabin is "step-in" via an upper door incorporating the side ones. At the touch of an electric on/off button, the door opens upward in a downwind direction, regulated by proximity sensors. The door is hinged to the hood pillar and is aligned with a second upper rear door, for access to the engine compartment and boot.
The roof houses the array of solar panels, necessary to power the electric battery, in the space between the two doors. Along with the other solar panels positioned on the front end, these create a central opaque strip, a distinctive signature of the model, thanks to the interplay of light with the bright paint of the bodywork. The solar panels can generate a power of up to 250 W, sufficient for the functioning of the cockpit conditioning system and for recharging the electric battery.
The styling of the Quaranta prototype is further enhanced by the attention dedicated to surface aerodynamics, designed to ensure maximum possible efficiency and penetration, also by using sharp edges on the rear. This can also be noted in the front end of the vehicle where the radiator grille has been eliminated and replaced by two side air inlets, positioned above the lighting clusters, which perform the delicate function of front stabilizers. The rear of the vehicle has also been conceived to improve overall aerodynamic performance: an attentively-molded spoiler, with a perfectly square-edged cut and a very technical design, has the scope of supporting the lower wing, modeled according to latest generation F1 styling, that makes up for the absence of the traditional upper stabilizer.
Styling research aimed at top aerodynamic performance is also reflected on the sides, characterized by extremely generous glazing stretching from the front fender to the tail and in which the air vents are housed, located after the doors but also along the sill, in which the water cooling ducts are inserted. The most innovative feature of the side profile is certainly the contour line, between the door-windows and the sill, which is "negative" in the shoulder section, a particular, absolutely innovative feature for super sports-cars.
Inside, the most striking innovation can be found in the multi-control steering wheel which reflects an idea already incorporated in the 1980 Medusa, a prototype developed by Italdesign and on display at its stand in Geneva: all vehicle driving and control functions are concentrated on the spokes, where the stalks have been eliminated and replaced with keys. This guarantees easier control by the driver, in a central position which can be obtained due to the absence of the gearbox-transmission block tunnel. This is possible thanks to the electric four-wheel drive system which eliminates any obstacles on the floor pan, making it completely flat. The generously-scaled central space of the cockpit can accommodate two adults and a child, behind the driver. The dashboard has been conceived with a sporting, modern look, with clean-cut details matching the style of the exterior, and equipped with a vast array of instruments. These are organized on two levels: the screens of the side and rear TV cameras are positioned on the upper level, with particular attention tothe left-hand view mirror, useful when overtaking; the lower level is dedicated to the management of the vehicle. The drive-panel also includes a visor for Xray sensors for night driving. The dark-colored leather and alcantara upholstery reflects the most refined Italian taste.
The lighting clusters are extremely modern: the low-beam lights are based on led technology, while the full-beam are of the Bi-xenon type. The direction indicators, the tail and rear stop lights are of the full led type, inserted in a single box but differentiated according to color, assembled and adapted by hand at Italdesign Giugiaro. Last but not least, the Quaranta features 9 ½ by 20" alloy wheels, without hub caps for improved styling and aerodynamics, and four Vredestein tires as standard, which differ only in shoulder height: 275/35/R20 front and 275/40/R20 rear. The dimensions are certainly tight for a super sports-car but suitable for a 4WD car.
The structure of the prototype is made up of the carbon monocoque frame onto which aluminium and special steel parts are assembled, while the windscreen and roof are made of stratified glass with UVA filter. The Quaranta is fit with electronic four-wheel drive, divided in a small electric motor on the fore-carriage and the thermal engine/electric engine system located in a central rear position. This particular structure, which has seen Toyota's involvement in the electronic control management, has made it possible to develop the vehicle on a 2620-mm wheelbase, ideal for a midengined car.
The batteries which assist the electric motors are located between the engine compartment and the cockpit and are powered directly by the solar panels. The Quaranta features a double fuel-tank, integrated in the supporting frame, with a total capacity of 60 liters, giving a mileage of up to 1000 km.
Dynamic asset is variable in two ride height positions: sporting and raised. Maximum ground clearance is 230 mm, an absolute record which means that the super sports-car can take any type of terrain in its stride. The main technical aspect that distinguishes the mechanical design of the Quaranta is the weight balance and in particular the "weight centering": all the mechanical weight of the vehicle is contained between the two axles, including the mufflers which are positioned in front of the rear wheels. Only the radiator and a large overhanging luggage compartment, able to accommodate two golfbags, remain outside.
The front suspensions also represent a breakthrough: designed according to F1 cars, they are equipped with a central mono-shock echoing an idea already presented by Italdesign - Giugiaro on the 2004 Toyota Volta and on the 1997 Alfa Romeo Scighera. The linkage mechanism of the levers guarantees exceptional stability in any type of situation, simulating a "multilink" mechanism. The links have been designed and engineered entirely by ITALDESIGN GIUGUIARO: the "ovalized" down tubes are made of special steel and the uprights of Ergal.
The entire Quaranta project is an idea of Italdesign Giugiaro, constructed in accordance with the classical formula of the package of services furnished to automotive manufacturers. Quaranta confirms the classic Italdesign - Giugiaro versatile service formula for car manufacturers. The competence and capability of designing a new car model considering style development, frame development, safety and ergonomics analyses and mechanics development, starting only from a given functioning engine.
The chassis, bodywork and layout of the Quaranta prototype have been designed by the Engineering Division of Italdesign Giugiaro, while the mechanicals and electronics have been developed in cooperation with Toyota. The vehicle was entirely built at the Moncalieri facilities.
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