The Bertone Birusa is a concept car that reinterprets a theme which is part of the company's genetic code: the most elegant, dynamic embodiment possible of the Italian sports car, an exclusive object and the source of supremely enjoyable driving. These are important features, acknowledged in the car's ironic name, derived from the adjective 'biross' (pronounced 'birùss') which in Piedmontese dialect describes a brilliant, extremely resourceful person. Like all Bertone's recent concept cars, the Birusa incorporates innovative features and technologies, which Bertone has developed with companies that are all leaders in their respective fields, and have succeeded in rendering the ideas and concepts developed by Bertone both credible and sustainable. These features include: voice controls (Loquendo) to open the doors and the double sunroof (developed with Inalfa) made of heat-resistant glass (Socar ICS) laminated with PVB film (Solutia), a Stereo system with Dolby Surround effect (Bose), semiadaptive headlights and an infrared night-time vision system (Valeo), and a Segway (HT) stored in the boot.
The Bertone Birusa gives us an idea how a typical interpretation of the high performance GT car (front engine, rear drive, two seats) could evolve stylistically in the near future:. In structural terms, the Bertone Birusa borrows the aluminium chassis and engineering of the BMW Z8, with a 400 bhp V8 engine and 6-speed manual gearbox. This design choice is also reflected in the interpretation of certain design details that are typical of the BMW brand identity.
The architecture of the Bertone Birusa is based on a classic two-box configuration, onto which the features of a thoroughbred GT are grafted with linear elegance: the imposing slope of the bonnet and the drop-shaped cabin that tapers towards the rear end. While it respects this graphic structure, the Bertone Birusa lets its exuberant, aggressive but measured personality emerge, as the powerful final result blends with the harmony of the proportions.
The wedge-shaped profile is emphasised by the graphic treatment of the windscreen, whose upper crossbeam is linked to the roof, and thus to the rear window, by a single pencil stroke. The side window is sculpted like a diamond and protrudes from the side like a dihedral of light cut through by an aluminium blade. This solution is both decorative and functional because this element, which is actually an engine bay air outlet, also hides the door release pushbutton. The gull-wing doors are made entirely of carbon fibre and hinged just below the windscreen, with electrical power assist.
The interior of the Bertone Birusa has very simple, linear styling, in line with the design of the exterior. The central tunnel passes between the two seats, linking up to the facia in a 'T', and creating two separate, superimposed elements between the actual facia and the central instrumentation.
The anatomical seats have a cradle-like shape, similar to that of racing cars, although the material chosen is in keeping with the image of a car born for touring.
To simplify access, the driver's seat slides backwards electrically when the door opens to the end of the stroke, returning to its pre-set position when the door closes. The interior of the Bertone Birusa was developed with Trend & Design, the new styling division of Alcantara S.p.A. (TDA). The Bertone Birusa is the first car to adopt embossed Alcantara upholstery, which is hot-pressed to imitate the characteristic weave of a top quality fabric.
Physical wellbeing is guaranteed by a climate control system which distributes the air uniformly from under the facia, without the classic vents.
The luggage compartment contains a drawer which is opened by a control on the facia. In luggage mode: the drawer slides out to simplify loading and unloading. Segway mode: the drawer does not slide out, but becomes a ramp to load and unload the Segway.
The sunroof was designed and developed with Inalfa. It has two large sliding panels, which fold and disappear completely under the boot lid.
The laminated safety glass panels fill the interior with light, but they also filter ÚV rays. This system allows the roof to disappear altogether. In the fully open position, a specially designed automatic mechanism moves the guides and the roof panels, stowing them in the boot where they cannot be seen.
A special electronic control unit manages the entire operating sequence of the system components (panels, mechanisms, trim, motors, sensors, controls), while the roof opening and closing functions can be activated manually, vocally or by remote control.
The Bertone Birusa is equipped with the Loquendo VoxDrive system which allows the driver, or anyone else recognised by the system, to control certain functions on the car using his voice, in order to create a sense of dialogue with the car. The system is multilingual and, thanks to its Speaker Verification techniques, commands will be accepted exclusively from someone recognised by the system.
Loquendo's powerful voice technologies have been adapted and perfected to be incorporated in a prototype embedded system, so that it can be used on a car, with its complex acoustic background, meeting strict constraints of accuracy and speed of execution.
Voice control technologies do not only make it easier to use the car, they also let you communicate with the outside world; if they are connected to a mobile communications system, information and info-mobility services can be requested rapidly and easily, and they will be presented vocally to make driving simpler, safer and more entertaining.
The stereo system (Bose)
Continuing a four-year relationship with Bertone, the Bose Corporation has developed a customised sound system for the Bertone Birusa. The car's elegant design challenged Bose to find a location for the audio components where they would intrude as little as possible into the passenger compartment. Neither the audio performance nor the vehicle cockpit could be compromised.
Two bass modules have been installed in small cavities under the front seats and Bose also outfitted the vehicle with 11 neodymium speakers that deliver a powerful, lifelike sound. Being lightweight and small, these speakers were particularly easy to position.
The Segway Human Transporter (Segway HT)
The Segway Human Transporter (HT) is a transportation device designed to replace short distances car trips and has zero environmental impact.
Bertone approached Segway to develop a version of the Segway HT to be incorporated in the Bertone Birusa, transferring styling features from the car onto the Segway Human Transporter. This means that two means of transport merge seamlessly into one travelling solution. It is the first time that a Segway has been presented together with a vehicle, but more important still, it is the first time that one has been 'dressed' by a coachbuilder, to match the car's styling, covered with soft foam and upholstered in Alcantara like the car's interior, specifically to make the car more road-friendly in pedestrian areas. The Segway is also fitted with lights, a navigation unit and display and a Bose stereo system.
LED light clusters and night-time vision system (Valeo)
The rear light clusters developed with Valeo adopt LED differentiated intensity lighting calibrated to the braking effort. This means that the greater the effort of the brake pedal, the more intense the illumination of the light cluster.
The night-time vision system (Active Infrared Night Vision) was also developed with Valeo and it guarantees the equivalent of conventional full-beam illumination but using dipped lights. In order to guarantee an improved view, an on-board camera captures the images and presents them on a cockpit display positioned on the steering wheel.
In practical terms, this system offers 200 metres of visibility, compared to 60-80 metres with conventional dipped beams.
Socar ICS employed special technologies to indulge the creativity of its designers and engineers when it developed the complex glazing system on the Bertone Birusa.
The sunroof has a perfect profile, with no interruptions, thanks to the Water Jet method at 4000 atmospheres, a process that Socar is the only European company to use. The particular colouring was achieved by laminating the glass the new chromatic films by Solutia, a company that Socar ICS has been working with for many years in the field of innovative products.
Thanks to this treatment, the weight can be reduced (by as much as 10% compared to tempered glass), protection is stepped up in the event of a collision (the film absorbs the great part of the energy impact and strongly reduces the formation of splinters), and acoustic and thermal comfort are enhanced (better soundproofing and protection from solar radiation: the film filters 95% of all ultraviolet rays.Source - Bertone