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SUC Concept
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  Karmann SUC Concept

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Country of origin:Germany
Produced in:2005
Introduced at:2005 Frankfurt Motor Show
Source:Company press release
Last updated:October 03, 2005
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Click here to download printer friendly versionThe Cabrio boom continues. Retractable hardtop from the automakers sparks demand. The trend for the Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) is also unbroken. SUVs combine off-road capability with the driving properties of a limousine, the storage space of a small utility vehicle and the spaciousness of a van. With the Sport Utility Cabrio (SUC) Wilhelm Karmann GmbH and ZF Friedrichshafen AG present a road ready concept car, which unites the abilities of the booming lifestyle vehicles and creates a new vehicle niche with promising future. The cabrio specialists from Osnabrück attach a soft top with show roof to the roomy SUV and combine it with a separate glass rear window. ZF Friedrichshafen contributes an innovative chassis system. The SUC is a prototype with technical finesse.

Unique technical features: doors opening in the opposite direction with adaptive sealing system, the rear window that is integrated into the tailgate, the large opening angle of the side and rear doors as much as to 90 degrees and horizontally operable rear compartment door handles. The main attraction is the cover and soft top and storage area design because the soft top spans the SUV's occupant and luggage compartments. Because the rear window is not integrated into the soft top, it's comfortable to load luggage when the roof is open.

Classic vehicle models, such as sedans and station wagons are increasingly threatened by new niche models. Vans, Mini-Vans, Convertibles, Coupés, Retractable Hardtop-Cabrios, Sport Utility Vehicles and many other varieties make the borders blurred. So, how do designers and engineers find new niches? At the beginning of the Sport Utility Cabrio the idea was to combine the advantages of two strong-growth vehicles in a new, to-date vacant, vehicle concept. The concept cars builted by the Karmann design studio are all in the creative tradition of the VW Karmann Ghia. They take its striking lines and transport these into the present. The tripartition on the front area, the striking middle line and the air intakes is formative.

From the first rendering to the first model and to the concept car the best possible solution was sought between technicians and designers in order to present a vehicle feasible for production and economically viable. As development service provider and full service vehicle supplier Karmann does not pursue the goal of developing its own car but giving car makers impulses for their new trends with concept studies. Moreover, the chassis specialists from ZF and the engineers from Karmann are the proof of this by successfully carrying out a very complex project in close cooperation.

With the concept vehicle "Karmann Idea" roadster in 1991 Karmann already presented a roof design whereby a fixed roof part served at the same time as cover for the fold-away soft top. The high level of stability of the roof design at the same time improves the occupants' protection. This Sport Utility Cabriolet roof concept utilizes the Karmann ZFolding system and includes an integrated sunroof. It spans the SUV's occupant and luggage compartments, with an area of more than 4 square meters it is by far the largest fully-automatic powered top in the world which folds away in 13 seconds. It has a polycarbonate sunroof, which is integrated into the soft top, and gives the driver the feeling of being in a cockpit. With the soft top up, this rear window concept allows for flow through ventilation and the pass through of bulky articles for easy transport. The rear door can act as a tailgate for the transport of long materials. Additionally, when the rear seats are folded into their stowed position the Sport Utility Cabriolet provides luggage space comparable to a classic station wagon.

All of ZF's innovative products successfully meet the high expectations placed on modern cars. These include the following; 6-speed automatic transmissions, manual and automated 6-spped standard transmission, continuously variable automatic transmission, double clutch modules, variable damping systems such as CDC, Active Roll Stabilization (ARS), chassis components and complete axle systems as well as steering systems such as Servolectric and Active Steering. The networking of the transmission, differential, steering, suspension, leveling system and other vehicle components illustrate a further innovative step forward by ZF in vehicle manufacturing. Networking allows coordinated corrections along with additional functions in the form of driving dynamics. Electronic networking delivers a number of clear advantages. Firstly, the vehicle will respond more precisely in critical situations. In addition, reactions to throttle lift-off, yawing moments and vibrations can be compensated for, and the steering angle, stability and braking moments can be optimized. Finally, in cases of dangerous overreaction by the driver such as sudden swerving to avoid obstacles or emergency braking, the enhanced driver control reduces the risk element.

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  Article Image gallery (6) Specifications