The Dramatic Visos Design Study | Part Three

The Ford Visos Design Study


Chris Svensson, Design Chief, on Visos:

To me, Visos is all about innovation. As the name suggests, Visos is a strong hint at the shape of things to come. It gives a glimpse not only of what Ford of Europe’s future vehicles may look like, but also of the challenges that designers will face in the future. Our team not only addressed each of Visos’ challenges, but also often turned them into advantages that allowed us to entertain, to be dramatic and truly to push at the limits of car design.

Comfortably fitting four adults into a sleek, sports coupé silhouette that is only marginally longer than a Focus, is unprecedented. By giving Visos dramatic, wide shoulders, we were able to move equipment that would normally be found behind the instrument panel, into the car’s flanks. This in turn allowed us to dramatically decrease the size of the instrument panel, freeing up valuable cabin space.

We decided to use doors that open in a conventional way, but extended them to cut deep into the roofline. The roof itself lifts up and folds inward on either side, for easy access to the rear seats.

Despite interior space that is appropriate to a luxury touring car, we managed to retain the energetic lines of a sports coupé. We also hid the B-pillar behind the side-window glass, and created a sharply curved C-pillar to give a distinctively Ford look to the side view.

Chris Hamilton, Exterior Design Manager, on Visos:

From the outset of the project we wanted to create a vehicle that incorporated clean, elegant lines and dramatic proportions that conveyed its purpose and character. Using ‘Active Surfacing’, we were able to hide the aerodynamic aids normally associated with high performance cars and only call on them when required. This retains the purity of Visos’ purposeful exterior shape without compromising its performance potential.

When the driver selects Sport mode it initiates a series of changes to the exterior, the interior and to the performance characteristics of the car. Externally, this results in the deployment of the front splitter, the rear diffuser and the rear spoiler. In Comfort mode the vehicle does not necessarily require the same aerodynamic assistance and so these devices are retracted into the body.

Regardless of the operating mode, the aerodynamic aids are deployed automatically at 90 kilometres per hour.

‘Active Surfacing’ is also evident in integrated door cameras that fold flush into the door panels when the vehicle has been ‘shut down’. When the engine is started the cameras automatically rotate out of the door surfaces. The camera imaging system provides a clear rear view and it features ‘blind spot detection’ to warn the driver if it is not safe when changing lanes. When the car is parked the cameras retract into the car’s bodywork, ensuring that they are fully protected from dirt or damage.

The front lights use a combination of different technologies to create a distinctive light graphic that is a key design signature for the face of the car. It was very important to the team that the car have a strong presence on the road, even at night, and that it was clearly identifiable.

continues... | Part Four
Published 20 September 2003 Melanie Carter

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