Ford Visos: Ford signals its future design direction
2003-10-24 - By Philip Byrne
Building on a history of Ford icons like the Model T, the original Escort, the Puma and the Capri, the Ford Visos hints at where the blue oval is heading in the coming years. Unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the concept car is a showcase for new ideas in automotive electronics, use of space, and interaction between man and machine.
Visos is the fusion of a true sports car and a luxury touring car. It adapts seamlessly to the driver’s demands, delivering a motoring experience that is as stirring as its appearance. It has ample space for up to four adults, and many innovations that set it apart from any current production vehicle.
The inside bristles with LCD panels and futuristic controls, while the outside remains sleek thanks to ‘Active Surfacing’ – a technique that sees the technologies of the vehicle hidden, until they are called for by the driver, the road condition or the
When the driver selects 'Sport' mode it initiates a series of changes to the exterior, the interior and to the performance characteristics of the car. Externally, this results in the deployment of the front splitter, the rear diffuser and the rear spoiler. In 'Comfort' mode these devices are retracted into the body. Regardless of the operating mode, the aerodynamic aids are deployed automatically at 90 kilometres per hour.
‘Active Surfacing’ is also evident in integrated door cameras that fold flush into the door panels when the vehicle has been ‘shut down’. When the engine is started the cameras automatically rotate out of the door surfaces. The camera imaging system provides a clear rear view and it features ‘blind spot detection’ to warn the driver if it is not safe when changing lanes. When the car is parked the cameras retract into the car’s bodywork, ensuring that they are protected from dirt or damage.
Internally, too, the Visos can change from a laid-back saloon into a sports car. The lighting, soft and calming in Comfort mode, can turn brighter, more purposeful – while the seats automatically reshape to hug your body. The steering wheel slides closer to the driver, and the angle of the seat adjusts to a more sports car like position. The instruments switch to Sport mode supplying an array of information to suit the keen driver and the gear lever is deployed from the centre console to operate the sequential shifter on the advanced ASM transmission.
Push the button again, and you’re back in Comfort mode. Gentle lighting is resumed and the seats are restored to a more comfort-orientated configuration.
Visos is powered by a 6 cylinder bi-turbo engine. It has a power output of 350 PS, and 400 Nm of torque is available. The engine is mated to a 6-speed advanced ASM transmission, driving all four wheels.