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 tries to take the concept of an SUV sporty to new levels while adding ultra-premium luxury. Is it a successful effort? Decide for yourself.
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 original. However, the SUV looks very different.
If Pininfarina’s new LUV moniker is a way of acknowledging its identity crisis, then we are happy to accept it. 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. It’s a project that shouldn’t have been undertaken, especially in the way it was done. Either make it into a sporty, low-slung coupe/sedan, or lift it to resemble a proud SUV.
We would love to dismiss this as a mere design study. However, Pininfarina intends to display it with the first Pura vehicle the Vision is to shape, a real e-LUV intended for consumer consumption. 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 from iconic Pininfarina vehicles to create a future that is sharp and modern. „It is distinctive from every angle and showcases our Pura design philosophy on a new kind of vehicle. This car is unique, with a dramatic exterior, an inviting interior, and carefully selected materials. Clients will still recognize the Pininfarina brand, however, because of its timeless proportions, technical details, and beautiful lower body. „
We’re not sure those clients will recognize the Pininfarina from outside, but they should thoroughly enjoy the experience of crossing over inside. With their sights set on the lounge-like rear, they’ll enter through a dramatic multi-door opening that pairs full-length upper wing doors with coach doors, sliding into a comfortable, enveloping space complete with a champagne cooler and carbon fiber table. They can still relax in the leather lounge chairs, and let the glass around them hypnotize them.
Upfront, the driver’s and passenger’s seats are divided by a central beam which houses an adjustable touchscreen. The screen can be stowed flat and raised when required. The driver’s seat is all about business with a widescreen instrument, brightly lit controls, and a heads-up display. The passenger seat is a relaxing spa by comparison, stripped clean of controls or digital surfaces. The headrest speakers of each seat 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