01 March 2011 ~ 1 Comment

Geneva Motor Show 2011: Italdesign Tex – a VW Polo coupé for the 2010s?

Famed design house Italdesign has been part of the Volkswagen Group since the middle of last year, and the first fruits of the companies’ joint cooperation were unveiled last night on the eve of the 81st Geneva Motor Show. Leaked online last week, the two concepts are both less than four metres long, and feature twin-drive hybrid drivetrains. But, most intriguingly, does the Tex, the sportier of the the two models – the other, the Go! is a compact MPV, maybe another future Polo variant – point to a new spin on the ‘80s Polo coupé? The current Polo is 3970mm long, and lacks a true out-and-out sports focused model, so could the Tex fill the void and be a baby brother to the successful Scirocco?

Building on current and reported future Volkswagen design cues, we think the Tex already looks like a slightly edgier Polo, with echoes of the current model in its side profile. The front grille is an even slimmer version of that seen on current VWs, while the rear features a glass hatchback, with hidden rear lights (first shown on the Up! concept from 2007) and a mounted blade-type spoiler. A full-length panoramic glass roof lets light into the brown and read leather interior, while deeply-sculpted ‘quarterlight’ windows provide a new Volkswagen design flourish. Large spider-like multi-spoke wheels fill the pronounced wheelarches, while the red pinstripe evokes that of the original 1982 Polo coupé.

Powered by a Twin Drive plug-in engine built by Volkswagen, the Tex showcases modern hybrid technology. A 1.4-litre turbocharged engine is paired with a 114bhp electric motor, which, when used together, can produce 295lb ft of torque, enough for 0-62mph in around six seconds and a top speed of 137mph. All this power is driven through a seven-speed DSG gearbox, with paddles on the steering wheel, as seen on the latest Polo GTI. As well as being a sporty powerhouse, the Tex is also eco-minded, too, and can travel around 20 miles in all-electric mode only. If given the green light for production, both the Tex and Go! could be on the market by 2018. The full Italdesign/VW press release follows.

Italdesign Giugiaro presents Tex and Go!: the Volkswagens
of the future for the AO segment

A Coupé and MPV powered by the Blue-e-motion and Twin Drive systems mark the debut of the company based in Moncalieri, Italy within the Volkswagen Group.

The world preview of GO! and Tex at the 81st edition of the International Motor Show in Geneva marks the debut of Italdesign Giugiaro as part of the Volkswagen Group. The two prototypes are Giugiaro’s interpretation for the Volkswagens of the future designed for the A0 segment.

‘Italdesign is a figurehead of Italian design and engineering creativity. We have been working together closely in a spirit of partnership for many decades,’ said Martin Winterkorn Chairman of Volkswagen Group. ‘As a full member of the global Volkswagen Group, Italdesign, now more than ever, is a creative center for fresh ideas and new concepts for our brands. The integration of Italdesign is a building block in our effort to take Volkswagen to the top of the automotive industry by 2018. That is why the outstanding know-how and capacity of Italdesign in design and engineering are so important for our Group.’

‘We conducted a research study imagining the Volkswagens of the upcoming future, cars for the most part designed for the city with our highly personal interpretation, for our debut within the Group,’ declared Giorgetto Giugiaro. ‘Go! is an MPV that continues that subject owing to its improved ergonomics and passenger room while keeping the smaller exterior size that has distinguished a large part of my career. It is a vehicle that is no more than 4 metres long, is eco-friendly, and is able to guarantee the utmost in terms of ergonomics and luxury, with an abundant loading volume. Tex on the other hand is our interpretation of tomorrow’s future, sporty Volkswagen.’

The two concept cars are powered by Volkswagen systems. Blue-e-motion is the totally electrical system of the Go!, while the plug-in Twin Drive hybrid is fitted on the Tex. Thanks to these technologies, the two prototypes guarantee performance ever-attentive to the environment. The Go! is able to travel 240km at zero emissions, while the Tex can run a total of 35km in electric-only mode.

‘The Go! and Tex are the first concrete result of Italdesign Giugiaro’s integration within the Group,’ added Walter de’ Silva, Head of VW Group Design. ‘In actual fact, they depict the Group’s philosophy and at the same time the reason that led us to want Italdesign to join us. These two concept cars are the outcome of an independent research study carried forth by Giorgetto and Fabrizio Giugiaro on a topic strategic for the Group: solutions for the urban mobility of tomorrow. The GO! and Tex come out of the discussions and observations that Volkswagen and Italdesign have been working on. The first is a people mover that is compact but very roomy. The coupé instead follows Volkswagen’s long sporting tradition.’

One architecture, two proposals: made in Wolfsburg
The Go! and Tex have a least common denominator labelled Volkswagen. These platform proposals, developed by Volkswagen, show the future potential of the modular transverse architecture (MQB = Modularer Quer-Baukasten). The first vehicles, based on the MQB, will be launched next year. In future this architecture will indeed be able to house an electrical plug-in system, a hybrid system, a classical internal combustion engine powered by petrol, diesel, LPG, CNG and even hydrogen fuel cells without distinction.

‘Besides the one for cars, Walter de’ Silva, Fabrizio and I share another passion: the one for Italian comics hero, ranger Tex Willer,’ said Giorgetto Giugiaro. ‘We wanted to name the coupé after the legendary ranger, as a homage to the men who wrote and drew important pages on our popular culture. Thanks to Mr. Sergio Bonelli’s kindness and helpfulness we finally could realize this unique operation. And, in the end, our prototype, just like the real Tex, has a strong heart and a gentle soul.’

Exterior
Four real seats, front wheel drive and a gently aggressive line, the Tex fits into a long tradition of Volkswagen brand sports cars.

‘We designed the Tex in actual fact thinking to the Volkswagen sports cars of the years to come,’ commented Fabrizio Giugiaro, deputy chairman and style manager of Italdesign Giugiaro. ‘We intentionally kept a family feeling that would immediately identify it as a Wolfsburg product close to production. No visionary or futuristic choice was made, but it is rather a natural evolution of today’s canons with the addition of a few technologies that will shortly become available on the car market.’

Compact, very low (1355mm in height) and 1750mm wide, the Tex at first glance looks like a sports car with great grip on the road, stressed by the large 19” wheels at the ends and generous wheel arches. Its set-up is that of a classic two-door coupé whose clearly sporty personality is emphasised by an aggressive front and its rear flaunting two spoilers. The side view is marked by lines that sculpt the doors next to the air exit of the front wheels and its waistline that rises up toward the tail.

The front is distinguished by a slender grille that encloses the light clusters in an unprecedented trapezoidal shape and three air intakes in the bumper/spoiler zone, necessary for cooling the brake discs and 1.4-litre turbo engine. The VW badge sits in the centre of the grille and is optically underscored by the V-shaped groove of the bonnet. Windscreen and roof are a single piece of glass that becomes dark electronically.

The large rear window dominates the rear and accommodates two spoilers, with the windscreen wiper housed in one at the bottom. Like the Go! previously, the light clusters are under the windscreen and are invisible when the panel is off. Access to the luggage compartment is permitted by raising just the rear window and, once it is open, the light indicators are repeated by the two supplementary tail lights located in the lower part of the bumper, at the sides of the rear air intake that also contains the rear fog lights.

Interior
As in the Go!, the Tex’s interiors have also been designed to offer the occupants maximum space and maximum ergonomics. The passenger compartment is definitely geared to the driver. All of the instruments are positioned in a functional manner and wrap around the driver so as to leave the passenger an incredible sensation of space. The large dashboard containing the controls and driving information grows smaller as it approaches the door panels so as to make getting in and out of the passenger compartment easier.

‘We designed the interiors so that the first sensation would be that of entering a sports car,’ continued Fabrizio Giugiaro. ‘The driver has to be able to find himself, and this is why we chose finish details and elements that refer back to the classic idea of the sports car. We have adopted the large gear knob and leather interiors, with the speedometer and rev counter situated in the classic position behind the steering wheel and with “analogue” graphics, precisely for that reason.’

If the outfitting is classic in style, the contents are instead full of the maximum technology available today. All of the controls and indicators are housed in LCD screens, as is the infotainment console put on a touchscreen in the centre of the dashboard, set in a transparent structure that lays bare the structure. The dashboard is separated from the central tunnel, an unusual solution for a car, but wraps around the driver with a graphic and colour continuity. The two rear seats are independent and can be folded down.

Strong heart, gentle soul
The Tex is fitted out with the hybrid plug-in system called Twin Drive conceived and developed by Volkswagen.

The Twin Drive couples a 1.4-litre turbo internal combustion engine with a battery-powered 85 kW peak electrical system capable of developing 400 Nm when used combined together. It has front-wheel drive with a 7-gear Direct Shift gearbox with gearshifting on the steering wheel. Its performance is that of a pure sports car. The Tex is able to reach 100 km/h from a standstill in about 6 seconds, and reach a top speed of 220 km/h. However, in this case sportiness and eco-friendliness are not worlds apart. The Tex is able to cover approximately 35 km in the totally electric mode, mostly enough for getting around during the day.

Italdesign Giugiaro
The roots of Italdesign Giugiaro go back to February 1968 when Giorgetto Giugiaro set up a design studio that represented an innovative formula for the car industry: a firm set up to act as an independent service company, with the aim of delivering creativity, engineering, construction of preseries prototypes, production start-up assistance and all the support required to put a new product into production. Italdesign Giugiaro has been a part of the Volkswagen Group since 2010. Since 1968, some 200 car models have been created that have spawned 50 million standard production units produced by international car manufacturers.

[Source: Italdesign Giugiaro]

What do you think of the Italdesign Volkswagen Tex? Do you think Volkswagen should fast track it to market and produce a new version of the Polo coupé? If so, should it look like this? Let us know by leaving a comment below

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