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Car and Driver: Saved by Zero? Italdesign Unveils GTZero Concept

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Giugiaro GTZero concept

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Giorgetto and Fabrizio Giugiaro may have departed Italdesign, but the Volkswagen-controlled design house soldiers on, displaying its annual concept at the Geneva auto show. This year’s example is a tribute to Italdesign visions of the past, with a futuristic electric drivetrain tucked up underneath. It also looks a bit like a smug cybernetic duck got rear ended by an old Lotus Europa that was attempting to excrete an AMC Gremlin. It’s called the GTZero.

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Giugiaro GTZero concept

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The GTZero’s nose features a bog-standard supercar beak that’s not nearly as inspired as that of 2013’s Parcour concept, a machine whose prow recalled the original Isuzu Piazza/Impulse, the DeLorean DMC-12, and the de Tomaso Mangusta, all penned by Giorgetto Giugiaro. According to Italdesign, the GTZero’s front end was inspired by the Bucrane, a Daewoo concept from 1995. Daewoo! And while the shape of the rear may recall Bizzarirni’s legendary Ferrari Breadvan, Italdesign also credits the Bucrane with an influence tag. Bizzarrini, however, does get a mention, as inspiration for the car’s lines and bobbed tail came from the Manta concept of 1968, designed shortly after old man Giugiaro left Ghia to found his own studio.

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The body itself is made of composites and is laid over a carbon-fiber monocoque that sits between aluminum subframes. Italdesign touts the benefits of the design thusly: While the expensive carbon tub stays the same, the structure can be adapted for different purposes by swapping the subframes. In the case of the GTZero, it needed to be able to support an electric powertrain. While a future hybrid version of the car will run a driveshaft through the tub’s central tunnel, the Geneva car carries a phalanx of battery cells in the unused space. The company doesn’t specify the capacity of the batteries, but says the car has a range of 311 miles and can be charged to 80 percent capacity in 30 minutes. The wonderful thing about concept cars is that you don’t have to completely explain yourself.

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Giugiaro GTZero concept

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They do, however, advertise total system power at 360 kilowatts—or 483 horsepower—courtesy of two front-mounted 148-hp motors and a single 188-hp motor mounted in the rear. Speaking of the rear—besides providing motive power, the 23-inch rear wheels also provide up to 5 degrees of steering angle.

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Italdesign claims a 4365-pound curb weight for the electric GTZero, which is 477 pounds less than the last Tesla Model S P90D to roll across our scales. Inside, the GTZero is decidedly more futuristic than Elon’s sedan-with-a-tablet interior. Imagine a streamlined and simplified Porsche 918 cabin with reconfigurable rear seats (either a 2+2 or a 3+1 arrangement) and you begin to get the picture. The only button in the interior is the one for the electronic parking brake. Everything else is controlled by touch via four screens.

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If the GTZero isn’t one of Italdesign’s more beautiful machines, its interior configurations, wild infotainment and control interfaces, and conceptual electric powertrain at least suggest where Volkswagen’s looking as far as the future is concerned. Just so long as the next concept doesn’t pay tribute to the Daewoo Lanos. In fact, let’s just leave Daewoo alone. Some things should stay in the past.

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Giugiaro GTZero concept

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2016 Geneva Auto Show Full Coverage

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