The GTZero is Italdesign’s interpretation of the classic Gran Turismo format with a contemporary twist. Inspired by concepts and production cars from the company’s past, the show car is a powerful, sufficiently practical sports car with an emotional design, but also one that generates zero emissions from its plug-in electric powerplant.

As the first concept car created under the direction of new design boss Filippo Perini, formerly head of design at Lamborghini, the GTZero’s exterior design is strikingly similar to recent supercars wearing the Raging Bull badge, but it is also a clear showcase for Italdesign’s technological capabilities.

“The GT Zero was an opportunity to design a car that had the emotional qualities of a sporting GT but on a new electric platform with zero emissions,” says Perini. “We used technology already available within the Volkswagen Group.”

Measuring in at 4918mm long, 1974mm wide and 1274mm tall, the GTZero concept was completed very quickly – going from initial sketch to full size prototype in just four months.

The GTZero’s body is made of composite materials and is supported by a solid monocoque carbon frame with aluminum sub-frames. These sub-frames can be altered to change the vehicle’s overall dimensions, allowing a level of modularity suitable for different types of vehicles and drive systems.

The all-wheel-drive concept’s plug-in electric drivetrain (two electric motors in front, one in the rear with batteries in the floor) is claimed to achieve 500km on one charge in low drag mode. Thanks to the modular platform, a V6 engine and hybrid drivetrain or even a V10 powerplant could also be accommodated mid-ship.

Aerodynamics was a primary concern in the exterior design, with the airflow around and through the vehicle dealt with by sophisticated active components. The front inlets close to decrease drag in electric ‘Drive’ mode or open to cool the engine and brakes in the ‘Pista!’ racing mode. The front splitter and rear spoiler also extend to guide airflow and increase downforce in Pista! mode.

The front end design emphasizes the width of the car, with thin LED headlamps imparting a technical look in tune with the geometric shapes of the aerodynamically optimized elements. The front and rear wheelarches, in contrast, are softer, voluptuous forms cloaking massive 22-inch (front) and 23-inch (rear) wheels.

The modular capabilities of the GTZero’s platform also allow for a reconfigurable interior that can accommodate four passengers, either as a 3+1 or in the 2+2 seat configuration shown in Geneva.

Elytra style doors that open forward and upwards – extending into the vehicle’s roof to ease ingress and egress – provide access to the minimalist interior devoid of buttons. All of the essential controls have been delegated to four screens with a multi-touch feature – different menus and settings appear depending on how many fingers are placed on them.

A very small screen on top of the steering wheel indicates the gear, while the larger OLED screen in front of the driver can slide forward and aft depending on the driving mode. In the regular ‘Drive’ mode the screen ahead of the steering wheel moves closer to the pilot, but when the car is placed in ‘Pista!’ mode the screen slides back away from the driver. The main center screen houses the navigation monitor.

The GTZero concept is proof that Italdesign is clearly benefitting from its affiliation with the Volkswagen Group, from which it sources its modular platform components and the interior HMI technology. And with the convergence of the automobile and technology sectors becoming a dominating trend, Italdesign’s GTZero concept’s innovative technological solutions look well poised to take the company into the future.

Full article in Auto&Design no. 218