A cutting-edge coupé that evokes memories of the days when Bertone was the creator of such uncompromising models as the Stratos Zero. That’s what the Turin coachbuilder’s current President Lilli Bertone demanded from her Style Centre as a prototype for the Geneva Show.

Having spent the past few years focused on intensive technological experiment, Bertone has now gone back to pure styling in the elegantly aggressive Birusa concept which was warmly welcomed by the trade press on its appearance at the Swiss Motor Show.

Which is not to say that the Birusa is no more than a gracious styling exercise, imbued as it is with all the trend-setting experience Stile Bertone at Caprie has amassed on the innovation and advanced technology fronts. Although based on BMW Z8 mechanicals, there’s nothing visibly Germanic about the Birusa’s looks. On the contrary, unmistakably Bertone styling cues abound: from the streamlined silhouette to the top-hinged gull-wing doors that rotate around the axis of the windscreen.

Inside, the Birusa offers a genuine cornucopia of impressive accoutrements. There’s a Bose sound system and Loquendo voice recognition controls, LED-based tail lights and Valeo’s Active Infrared Night Vision system for driving in the dark. Even the glazing has been coated in the Solutia chromatic film developed by the Bertone Group’s own Socar ICS company. What’s going to attract the crowds, though, is primarily the “diamond-cut” bodywork of the Birusa, the play of convex and concave surfaces highlighted by the aluminium strips that embellish the bonnet, sides and headlights.

The article continues in Auto & Design no. 138

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