This X factor can already be seen in the earliest study sketches, one of which, for instance, includes a drawing of a rhino, which inspired the car’s attitude. This explains the appearance of a new face with less circular eyes and more determined look than the 500, and with the trademark ‘whiskers’ subtly underscored by a slender air intake. The car’s expression is decisive but not aggressive – “it would have been pointless to add one of those grilles that look like they’re about to
take a bite out of the road” says Giolito. He also draws attention to the deliberately uncluttered flank – where even the character line seen on the 500 has been eliminated in favour of a simple crease – with a C pillar that pushes the roofline forward like a coupé, and protective cladding encircling the entire perimeter, wheel arches included, adding a sense of strength.
A goal throughout the project was to create an impression of greater harmony, which is also clearly evident in the interior. The habits and behaviour of drivers were analysed in detail for the project – “we know that people are not easily separated from their objects and like to take them on board with them”, says Giolito, “so we insisted on a concept of usability, of a car that must fit like a glove”. So the cabin is bristling with numerous, well-thought out cubbies and storage spaces, the most noteworthy of which being the dashboard glove compartment, which opens like a piano keyboard lid. The work done to define the seats is also impressive – these are the result of a dedicated effort to maintain the look of the 500 but applied to more supportive forms, which were needed in light of the 4×4 capabilities of the 500X.