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  Rinspeed Presto

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Country of origin:Switzerland
Produced in:2002
Introduced at:2002 Geneva Motor Show
Source:Company press release
Last updated:Before December 1st, 2004
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Click here to download printer friendly versionThe Rinspeed Presto transforms itself in a few seconds from an under-3-meter long two-seater roadster - presto! - into a 3.7-meter long four-seater with plenty of room for the rear-seat passengers. The additional space can also be used as a pick-up bed for cargo when the rear-seat backrests are folded down.

This almost magical transformation is made possible by a centrally located electric motor, which stretches the vehicle with the help of two mechanical screw-and-nut gears by exactly 746 millimeters to its full extended length of 3.74 meters. The longitudinal members run on low-friction precision rollers and disappear like a drawer in the rear of the floor pan. Despite its variable length the engineers succeeded in designing the adjustable Presto floor pan with the torsional rigidity necessary for a roadster. To ensure absolute operational safety the extension mechanism also features self-locking safety latches.

A four-cylinder, 1.7-liter common-rail Turbo diesel engine in dual-fuel configuration, based on a Mercedes-Benz engine, provides future-oriented and highly environmentally friendly propulsion. The engine runs on a mixture of natural gas and Diesel fuel at a 40 to 60 ratio. Natural gas is a very clean-burning fuel, which consists almost entirely of methane with sulfur content near zero. However, since a Diesel engine has no spark plug to act as an ignition source, operation on natural gas alone is technically impossible.

The creators of the Presto came up with a very special solution for the vehicle rear and front: Instead of conventional light signals the Rinspeed Presto informs other drivers in writing about the intent of its driver. The innovative lighting technology with powerfully bright LED lights is contributed by in.pro. During braking the international word 'Stop' appears on the brake lights, and during turns 'Turn' appears on the appropriate signal. With lights turned on, the taillights proclaim the vehicle's name, 'Presto', to those who follow. A color camera integrated into the taillights reveals any potential obstacles to the driver in the rearview mirror.

The Presto shows its noble heritage in the interior, too. The dashboard comes from the A-Class and the seats are from the smart. The fiery-orange interior is as versatile as the body. The comfortable two-seater turns into a spacious pick-up or four-seater roadster at the push of a button. The rear-seat passengers can enjoy more leg room than in an A-Class with long wheelbase. In addition, the rear seats can be folded down individually and make almost any interior configuration possible.

Exclusive reflective upholstery materials from Xmobil create an eye-catching yet comfortable atmosphere. Entertainment in hi-fi quality is provided by a Sony stereo system whose sound is transmitted via wireless headphones. Foliatec contributed many clever styling elements for the interior as well as the exterior.

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  Article Image gallery (6) Specifications User Comments (2)