Electric vehicle engineering has really emboldened car designers, the compact, decentralized powertrains inspiring new vehicle shapes and packages. Designers have been trying to combine the sportsmanship of a coupe and the comfort, size, and utility of SUVs. Automobili Pininfarina steps in and does its best to push the idea of a sporty SUV to new heights while giving it ultra-premium levels of luxury. Is it a successful effort? We know our answer; decide yours.
What we see is not an SUV or one of the newfangled coupe SUVs that were mentioned. No, according to Automobili Pininfarina, it’s an LUV – Luxury Utility Vehicle. The market already has a lot of luxury SUVs and ultra-luxury ones, so it’s not necessary to create a new acronym. However, the SUV does not look like the typical SUV.
If the new LUV moniker means Pininfarina is acknowledging the identity crisis on wheels it’s created, we happily concede the point. The exaggerated proportions, high ride and 23-in wheels feel like designers were setting the table for a rugged SUV, but then side-tripped last minute by topping it off with a low, sleek glasshouse that feels like it was stripped from a half-finished 2+2 sports coupe concept and slapped atop the Pura Vision to meet deadline. The narrow, undersized cabin is just left out there floating for its life in a big, beefy sea of white bodywork.
Pininfarina admits it was actively trying to blend the road presence of an SUV with the character of a low-slung sports car, and it would tell you it’s been very successful in the endeavor. We’d argue it’s an endeavor that should not have even been attempted, and certainly not in this particular way – either make it a low, sporty coupe/sedan or lift it up into proud SUV form.
While we’d like to call it a study or a concept, Pininfarina will show the vehicle alongside a Pura e-LUV that the Vision is destined to shape. Hopefully, the company will temper its ambitions and make the major structural elements a touch more congruent.
Unsurprisingly, Pininfarina chief design officer Dave Amantea frames things a little differently.
„Pura Vision embraces the DNA of iconic vehicles from Pininfarina’s past to shape the future with sharp lines and a modern aesthetic,“ he explained. „It is distinctive from every angle and showcases our Pura design philosophy on a new kind of vehicle. This car is unique, with its dramatic appearance, curated interior, and carefully selected materials. Clients will still recognize the Pininfarina brand, however, because of its timeless proportions, beautiful lower body detail, and Pininfarina’s stunning body. „
We are not certain that these clients will recognise the Pininfarina outside but we know they’ll enjoy crossing the interior. They’ll be able to see the rear lounge from a distance, and enter via a multi-door entrance that combines upper wing doors along with coach doors. The space will include a carbon fiber table, champagne cooler, and a comfortable atmosphere. Even if they choose not to imbibe, they’ll be able to melt away in their supple-leather lounge chairs and succumb to the hypnosis of the sprawling glass all around.
A central beam separates the front driver’s and passenger’s seats. It houses a touchscreen which can be adjusted and stowed flat when it is not needed. Each seat exists within a very different micro-atmosphere – the driver seat being all business, fronted by an instrument widescreen, boldly illuminated controls and a head-up display. The passenger seat is a relaxing spa by comparison, stripped clean of controls or digital surfaces. The headrests of each seat feature dedicated speakers, which allow for customized sound zones.
The Pura Vision, and the e-LUV set to spiral its way into existence from the concept’s young DNA, will be on display in California this month, at Automobili Pininfarina’s Monterey Car Week residence from August 17 to 20 and at The Quail on August 18. We look forward to seeing how closely – or not – the latter follows the concept’s formula.
Source: Automobili Pininfarina