In the limelight
The impressive Iroc concept car
he young designers made full use of their liberty. As such, the Iroc is more than an exciting outlook into the future of the sports car from Volkswagen’s perspective. It is a signal that the entire company is on the move, realigning and redesigning itself. Of course, this new culture, this new attitude, extends far beyond the question of design alone. However, it does not find any more authentic impression than in design – and it’s no coincidence that the Iroc has been selected as a signal for the company’s new departure. The only specification was to design the ultimate sports car with a small but crucial difference from similar models: it should be a sports car with sufficient practicality for everyday driving, but with a price tag well below that of its emotional value. One of the first and most decisive challenges concerned defining the correct proportions for the Iroc. That is because they not only determine how the entire car body looks, but also its inner workings. In the end, the key factor came down to finding the right ending: the roof drawn out broad and flat towards the rear. “Only this concept,” explains Robert Lesnik, “makes it
possible to narrow the roof towards the rear and to have the powerful shoulders that are responsible for the formal dramatic effect of the rear end.” In spite of the dramatic appearance that lends the Iroc its character, the basic features of the design are simple and unfussy. “The side view, for example,” says Lichte with a glance to the main features of the pared-down language of form, “depends solely on the one, very clearly defined shoulder line that basically defines the entire car.” The lateral surfaces are extremely formed and vaulted to avoid making the body below this high-set shoulder line look too heavy. More than for any other car, the Iroc is a complete work of art that cannot be broken down no matter what angle you approach the car from. Take the front of the Iroc: no other Volkswagen has ever displayed such a challenging and direct expression. The aluminium trim lends the large, low opening a depth and threedimensionality that has never been seen before. The Iroc really sucks itself onto the road. “We struggled over this shape, and we had to shift a lot of plasticine before it worked for us,” remembers Klaus Bischoff, the Head of
“We wanted to change the way people normally look at things, so we could showcase the enormous innovative potential in the interior design as well.” – Thomasz Bachorksi, Head of the Interior Design Studio Volkswagen 57
the Design Centre at Wolfsburg. “Computers and software are no good when it comes to breathing life and soul into a shape. The only solution is the creative hand of the designer on the actual model.” The dynamics of the exterior design are taken to their logical conclusion in the interior.
Formal themes from the exterior are picked up again: both in overall architecture of the very flat dashboard with its airfoil design, and in touches such as the ventilation nozzles. The strict driver-orientation of the cockpit, as well as the emphasis on the three-dimensional shape of the steering wheel and the two main
instruments are particularly striking features. Interior Designer, Nils Poschwatta says: “The depth of the two main instruments with their tube-like design is further underlined by twelve light rods that break up the display into segments.” The instrument housing is made from light-permeable acrylic for a cool look,
“We’ve never had so much freedom to design a car or been restricted by so few requirements.” – Marc Lichte, Head of Exterior Design Studio and gives an impression of how exciting the future of the interior of a car could look. The Iroc displays innovation from its striking exterior right down to the materials and colours of the interior. Seat material in viper green, inspired by the typical quality of neoprene, contrast with breathable fabrics derived from
sports textiles. The processed leather offers the surprise of a reptilian pattern that gives this highquality material a fresh, young air. These surfaces are not just effective pieces of showmanship, but also “extremely advanced developments that are also suitable for use in cars,” says Colour and Trim Designer Manuela Joosten.
The Iroc is a study, but it does send a signal that Volkswagen is intending to continue down this path of being bolder, showing more emotion and being prepared to take more risks and break many conventions. Volkswagen will do all of this, it goes without saying, whilst upholding the fundamental qualities of the brand.