Windows into the future: concept cars at Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este 2008• Concorso tradition is perpetuated
• BMW showcases its Concept CS
• Touring Superleggera presents a world premiere on Sunday
Fully espousing the tradition of the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este, car manufacturers and design studios have for some years now been invited to bring their latest creations along to Lake Como. To qualify for entry, all concept cars and prototypes must be in road-ready condition. 'It allows us to construct a unique scenario,' said Karl Baumer, Chairman of the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este and Director of BMW Group Mobile Tradition, at the press conference in Milan for this year's Concorso. 'Models which are normally only seen in isolation on a pedestal at motor shows can reveal themselves in action in the light of day and be directly compared wîth other design studies and prototypes,' Baumer went on.
Jean Marc Droulers, President of Villa d'Este SpA., sees the contest's tradition upheld: 'Úp until 1949, it was customary for the latest creations by car manufacturers and designers to be presented at the Concorso. Then, as now, the public were able to vote for their favourite on the basis of a direct comparison.' The following concept cars will be showcased at this year's Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este and will line up before the public at Villa Erba on Sunday to be selected for the Concorso d'Eleganza Design Award for Concept Cars & Prototypes:
Rinspeed sQuba, 2008 (Rinspeed)
| ||Vital Stats|
|Engine : 4.2 L., 8-cylinder|
Power: 400 hp
Torque: 333 ft-lbs
Every year, Frank M. Rinderknecht surprises us at the Geneva Motor Show in March wîth a high-tech concept model. Inspired by James Bond, who in his day took up the chase in a submersible Lotus, Frank Rinderknecht presented a concept in Geneva that allows the driver and passenger to fly under water in an open roadster.
Morgan Life Car Coupé, 2008 (Morgan Motor Company)
Morgan Motor Company will soon be lòòking back on a 100-year heritage of motor design. Their Life Car Coupé, showcased at the 2008 International Geneva Motor Show, is a concept car featuring a futuristic design and driven by a zero-emission electric motor.
Bugatti Veyron Fbg Hermès, 2008 (Bugatti)
With the Bugatti Veyron Fbg, Hermès has revived the former collaboration between car-crazy Emile Hermès and horse-loving carmaker Ettore Bugatti to transform the Bugatti Veyron into a Hermès special.
Hyundai HED-5, 2008 (Hyundai)
The HED-5 concept car marked its world premiere at the 2008 Geneva Motor Show. The lightweight design of this compact people carrier features a range of synthetic materials and displays a fluid line that slopes steeply from the front end to the centre of the car before dropping away into a coupé-like rear.
Lexus LF-A, 2008 (Lexus)
Lexus caused a major stir at this year's Detroit Auto Show wîth its LF-A Roadster study. Following its premiere in Detroit, it made its European debut at the Geneva Show. The LF-A Roadster is based on the current version of the LF-A Coupé that premiered in Geneva in 2007.
Renault Mégane Coupé Concept, 2008 (Renault)
The Renault Mégane Coupé Concept affords a preview of the forthcoming Mégane Coupé production model. The real highlight are the doors, which are horizontally split and have an intriguing opening mechanism that is reminiscent of the movement of dragonfly wings.
Bentley Zagato Continental GTZ, 2008 (Zagato)
In recent years at the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este, the Zagato studio has presented customised superstructures on chassis from Ferrari and Maserati. This year Zagato is showcasing its Bentley GTZ study, presented in Geneva where it caused a sensation wîth its characteristic Zagato 'double bubble' roof and tail end design.
Mercedes-Benz F700, 2007 (Mercedes Benz)
With its F700 Concept Car, unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show, Mercedes-Benz is affording a glimpse of what a large touring saloon could look like in the future. Its 'DiesOtto' engine, a four-cylinder wîth a capacity of just 1.8 litres, is designed to unite the strengths of a low-emission spark-ignition ('Otto') engine wîth the fuel advantage of a diesel unit.
Maserati Quattroporte Bellagio fastback, 2008 (Carrozzeria Touring)
With the Bellagio fastback concept based on the Maserati Quattroporte, the Touring Superleggera brand revives its longstanding links wîth the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este: in the past, the latest Carrozzeria creations were likewise traditionally presented to the well-heeled public at the Concorso on the shores of Lake Como.
Cadillac CTS Coupé, 2008 (Cadillac)
The Cadillac CTS Coupé concept celebrated its world premiere at Detroit in 2008. The Coupé is the third study in the CTS concept line and features the same styling as its predecessors. The rear, in particular, displays the hallmark features that reflect the new design language of the Cadillacs.
Saab 9-X, 2008 (Saab)
With the Saab 9-X, the carmaker brought a world premiere to the International Geneva Motor Show that runs on bio-ethanol. A jury from the trade publication Autoweek voted the Saab 9-X 'Best Concept'.
Each year, a concept car from BMW takes part in the competition hors concours. In 2008 visitors can look forward to seeing the BMW Concept CS. With this concept study, the German premium car manufacturer presents the vision of a four-door vehicle that unites the exclusivity of a luxury-class gran turismo wîth the thrill of a high-performance sports car. The design of the BMW Concept CS underpins the competence of the BMW brand when it comes to developing cars wîth an ultra-sporty nature that can accommodate more than two occupants. The most impressive exemplar of this tradition is the BMW M5, which carved out an entirely new vehicle §egmènt more than two decades ago and ranks as a benchmark for high-performance saloons to this day.
Apart from the historic vehicles and concept cars at the Concorso, a special exhibition traditionally held at Villa Erba on the Sunday is dedicated to one outstanding designer or carmaker. This year, the exhibition looks back on the 80-year history of Italy's Touring Superleggera coachbuilders. As well as a retrospective featuring cars from Touring's heyday, visitors can expect to see a line-up of automobiles from the Registro Internazionale Touring Superleggera. But the brand will not merely be presenting its past heritage at the Concorso: the future is to be unveiled as well. The coachbuilders promise to reveal a sports car wîth thoroughbred Touring DNA as a world premiere on the Sunday.
Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este 2008
On the weekend of 25 - 27 April 2008, the splendid grounds of the Grand Hotel Villa d'Este and the Villa Erba in Cernobbio on Lake Como will once again turn into a unique backdrop for the most beautiful automobiles from past eras and the boldest concept vehicles of the present day. First staged at this same location in 1929, the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este today rates as the world's most tradition-laden event of its kind.
After Saturday's opening of the event for invited guests, on Sunday the Concorso offers all car-lovers another opportunity to experience these four-wheeled dreams in the neighbouring grounds of Villa Erba. In addition to the cars presented the previous day, many more high-profile classics will be exhibited in special shows. Admission to Villa Erba in Cernobbio, Lake Como, is 10 euros (single), 20 euros (family ticket) or 8 euros (concessions).