While the rest of the car industry seems intent on inventing new crossovers, fusing coupés, MPVs, SUVs and saloons, Pininfarina leaves the ordinary behind with its Sintesi, a research prototype where aesthetics, function, man and technology meet.

Rather than hybridising tried and tested architectures, this graceful concept car “steps into the future and breaks free from familiar configurations to re-approach the motor car from a fresher perspective in terms of both packaging and context”, says Pininfarina design director Lowie Vermeersch as he explains the forms and content of the Sintesi.

While this is a sort of laboratory on wheels, it is also an extremely handsome car, with a sports car theme chosen for the design. It is a four seater grand tourer, with a low, elongated silhouette reminiscent of Italian classics. “Usually it is the technical layout that dictates the overall dimensions and proportions”, continues Vermeersch, “but in this case the opposite is true. We first defined the interior space, which is roomy and ergonomic for easy accessibility. Then we redistributed the mechanicals, applying a principle which, since the start of the project, we have called ‘Liquid Packaging’. We like ‘visual’ definitions, and it seemed an effective term to express this new direction, conveying an image of fractioned mechanicals filling up empty spaces.”

This dissociation and permeation of drive components throughout the vehicle has been made possible by abandoning the old fashioned internal combustion engine in favour of a new system – Quadrivium Drive, produced by Nuvera – which employs small fuel cells grouped in four sets gravitating around the wheels. A fuel processor in the central tunnel converts hydrocarbons (of either fossil or plant origin) into hydrogen, meaning that the car generates its own fuel on board. Four batteries installed in the bottom of the car deliver extra power providing, for example, additional thrust in sport mode.

The article continues in Auto & Design no. 170

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