Gordon Murray Design T25 city car: the scoop

Published: 30 October 2008

CAR Online today exclusively reveals how two versions of Gordon Murray Design’s radical new T25 city car will look when they go on sale in Europe and Japan in 2012. And we can disclose that – in a departure from Murray’s initial plans – the T25 could go on sale in the Unites States just two years later.

The first and most popular variant of the T25 will be the mini-MPV pictured in our main artist’s impression: it’s a ‘multi-seat’ car with a flexible interior layout similar to the Toyota iQ’s, which can be configured to suit adults, children or luggage.

Overall length will be just 2.4 metres, making the T25 – amazingly – a full 60cm shorter than the iQ. If they pull it off, this thing could represent a genuine packaging miracle.

Gordon Murray Design T25: a family of cars

Plastic panels mean that other T25 bodystyles can be introduced quickly and cheaply using the same front-engined running gear. A convertible and pick-up are already under consideration, and it might be possible for owners to switch between some bodystyles – the pick-up and a commercial van, for instance – on their own driveway using a kit of panels.

‘The possibilities are only limited by how big your imagination is,’ Murray told CAR Online in an exclusive interview.

Gordon Murray Design (GMD), the company he set up to develop the T25 and other car projects, is in fact already planning a whole family of bodystyles wrapped around the same wheelbase: the mini-MPV passenger car (pictured), a van, pick-up, taxi, police car (also created by our artist) and a convertible.

>> Click ‘Next’ to read about the engineering behind Gordon Murray Design T25

Gordon Murray T25: how it will be built

Work on the T25 is understood to be progressing rapidly but under conditions of strict secrecy. Murray plans to license the design to another firm to manufacture, and is already in talks with two major industrial companies.

But the $25 billion US federal loan package to help car makers start building low-emission vehicles has prompted a fresh surge of interest from America. The company says talks include designing cars significantly different to the T25 but which use its ‘revolutionary’ manufacturing process.

Why small cars are the next big thing

‘We have been inundated with inquiries in the past two or three months,’ Murray told CAR Online. ‘We’re seeing a huge swing to smaller cars in America, and this time at least a percentage of it is irreversible. We thought there would be a five-year delay before we brought it to America but I think we were wrong on that and the programme will have to be accelerated. You can probably chop half off that.’

GMD is on track to have the first running prototypes on the road by early 2009. Wind-tunnel testing of the final designs is already well advanced and design of the major internal components is almost complete.  Our artist’s impressions are based on insider info and give the best look yet of how the T25 will look when production versions hit the road in 2012.

T25: costs, weights, stats

Real-world analysis for the final design are said to show that the T25 will hit its ambitious targets on weight, cost and carbon dioxide emissions. Simplicity is the key here – the T25 represents a welcome return to less is more.

It will weigh just 550kg and cost from £5500. Murray claims that it will produce 40% less CO2 than a standard car throughout its lifecycle, and one tonne less over a typical year's motoring. Equipped with a 51bhp three-cylinder petrol engine, it will return 81mpg and 78g/km, says Murray.

>> Click ‘Next’ to read more about the Gordon Murray Design T25

Have you seen Gordon Murray’s T25 in the metal?

Plastic, you mean! No, we haven’t. At the launch party for GMD, the company displayed a T25 shrouded in tin foil alongside an original Mini and Fiat 500. Check out our photographs from the event which prove that the T25 is a seriously small city car that could – if Murray's sky-high targets are met – rewrite the packaging rules for small cars in the same way that the Smart did in the 1990s.

One of the few people outside GMD to have seen the final designs is the Duke of Edinburgh, who visited the firm’s headquarters in Shalford, Surrey earlier this month. Sadly, CAR Online couldn’t reach HRH when we called Buckingham Palace to tap him for info.

Will Murray ever design another supercar?

Oh yes. Murray might be a small-car obsessive, but the McLaren F1 designer is also planning a lightweight supercar aimed at matching the F1’s driving pleasure but at a fraction of the price and with a significantly smaller engine. Word is this real-world supercar could cost as little as £60,000 and be powered by a humble 2.0-litre engine.

Gordon Murray Design is likely to build this car itself and it will bear the firm’s mermaid logo and an as-yet unknown marque. But the supercar won’t appear until at least a year after the T25.

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  • Gordon Murray T25 city car: CAR's artist's impression, compiled with help from high-ups at GDM, reveals how the radical new small car will look
  • Gordon Murray's T25 city car will come in a variety of bodystyles – including this police car variant. Perfect for Plod to nip down narrow alleys in chase mode
  • These official Gordon Murray sketches give a flavour for what to expect from the T25. It's front engined, very compact and seems to have the tiny three-pot engine mounted high up in front of the dashboard
  • At the launch of Gordon Murray Design in 2007, they showed the T25 shrink-wrapped in tin foil. Oh, the tease!
  • Tiny footprint, loadsa room. How do they do it? Simple. It's shaped like a (very small) brick. Check out the upright rear end
  • Gordon Murray T25: it's just 2.4m long. That's considerably shorter than a Smart Fortwo, let alone an original Mini
  • Gordon Murray's T25 is so short, three of them can squeeze in one conventional parking space. Presumably slashing your parking meter tab by a third
  • Gordon Murray T25 powered by a three-cylinder engine pushing along just 550kg. So you'll keep up with other traffic
  • Official hand-out picture of Gordon Murray's T25 shows just how short this thing is. No surprise; the man has been obsessed by small cars for years
  • The man himself: Gordon Murray outside his Gordon Murray Design HQ
  • Gordon Murray Design is headquartered in Surrey, England
  • Ah yes, the car for which Gordon Murray is most remembered: the 1990s McLaren F1, pictured here competing at Le Mans in 1995. Could the T25 achieve such fame?