Ford was one of the manufacturers which showed a freshly introduced model from the Geneva Motor Show. In this case it was the third generation of the Mondeo line, the popular middle-class range of Ford Europe. As if to show where the inspiration for the new Mondeo had come from Ford also showed the Iosis concept, displayed next to the Mondeos.
Like the Citroen C-Métisse from the previous page this concept, which first appeared at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2005, is a 4-door coupe of which all doors open in gullwing style. In this case the rear doors are hinged in the roof section and open mirrored to the front doors. Though it shares ideas with the C-Métisse the design of the Iosis is less radical and unsettling. It shows Ford's new "kinetic" styling language on which future models will be based, like the 2007 Mondeo.
Formally the Iosis looks familiar, like it could go for sale any day now, apart from its over-the-top doors. It fits in snugly with not only the new Mondeo, but also with current models like the Focus and the Fiesta. The extended wheel arches make it a typical Ford design, as do the typical creases and lines on the sides and at the rear of the body. Realizing that the previous Mondeo looked a bit dull and out of tune with its dynamic abilities, Ford has turned to a more performance oriented style with this Iosis and it translated well into the 2007 Mondeo.
The interior is a flashy combination of orange rubber, black leather and aluminum details. In front of the driver are a hexagonal steering wheel machined from aluminum with orange rubber sides, a relatively simple 3-dail instrument panel and remarkable vents that look like the business end of a jet engine. Central in the console between the bucket seats, within striking distance from the steering wheel, stands a large rally-style gearlever which operates the sequential gearbox. A novelty is the application of electroluminescent foil to illuminate the doors and ceiling.
That the Iosis is strictly a design exercise, even though it appears quite realistic, is proven by the lack of technical details concerning chassis and propulsion. It's the exterior that's important, the interior is an interesting addition but the Iosis holds no promise of Ford's mechanical progression in the near future.
At any rate the Iosis indicates Ford's refreshed and more exciting styling direction. It's not that original nor very advanced but it looks pleasing enough, especially seen from the rear.
Of a totally different order to the Iosis is this Mustang interpretation by Italian styling house Giugiaro (also known as ItalDesign). It wasn't displayed at the regular Ford stand but by some tire manufacturer, yet it has been backed by the Ford Motor Company. Amazing about it is that anyone would immediately recognize it as a Mustang, even though it is considerably different and shares no body panels with the contemporary Mustang. It made a surprise debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show in 2006 and has wooed spectators at a number of various car shows since.
The "Italian Mustang" is the brain child of Fabrizio Giugiaro, the son of famous designer Giorgetto Giugiaro who was responsible for a wide range of car designs, varying from the Zastava Yugo to the BMW M1. Fabrizio liked the retro-styled Mustang which was introduced in 2005 and it inspired him to make his own version of this car, with the consent of Ford. It sort of runs in the family since his father had designed a Mustang concept in 1965, around the time Fabrizio was born.
Unlike his father, who gave his 1965 Mustang a completely new, unrecognizable shape, Fabrizio retained classic Mustang ingredients and details. He moulded them into new shapes and forms to create an aggressive looking fastback which appears much more like a sports car than the original.
Based on an unaltered Mustang floorpan the Giugiaro Mustang is lower, shorter and wider than its regular counterpart. This makes the car seem more muscular, like an athlete ready to sprint, an impression enhanced by the wide flares of the wheel arches, the curvy wedge-shape of the body and the firm rear.
Special exterior features are the upward opening doors and the windshield that turns into a glass roof, both very trendy at the moment. Actually, the windshield runs all the way to the rear without interruption, turning the interior into a glass dome. The interior itself is less restrained than the exterior, though still distinctly Mustang. A wild combination of orange and brown leather forms a dashboard that seems to frown on its onlookers. The seats are upholstered in hide, with parts of fur and Mustang-emblems on the headrests.
Effectively this car is a showpiece to show off what Giugiaro has to offer, but it is a complete car, it does run. Ford Racing assisted to make this car as potent as it looks with components taken from the FR500C Grand-Am racing Mustang. The regular 4.6-litre aluminum V8 was fitted with an intercooled supercharger to produce 500 hp. Better cooling is provided by a high-efficiency racing radiator. Upgrades to the suspension and braking system enhance handling and help to cope with the extra power. In all, it does not only run, it actually performs like it should.
Unfortunately there won't be a production version of this car. Wouldn't it have been great if the 2007 Shelby Mustang GT had looked anything like this concept?