Ford is serving up a big-bang surprise at Geneva with the launch of the Iosis Max concept car. The third in a series of Iosis show cars, the Max affords our first view of the new 2011 Ford Focus, with a hint of next-gen 2010 C-Max thrown in for good measure.
The Iosis Max looks just like the next-gen Focus at the front and heralds some important new styling treatments for all future Fords, its designers have told CAR. The lower trapezoidal grille, for instance, will in future feature these horizontal chromed strakes, echoing the feature lines on the bonnet, and the Blue Oval badge appears more prominently in the middle of the higher, Fiesta-style grille.
Get used to this face; the Focus is regularly the best-selling car in Britain…
Ford Iosis Max: launched at Geneva 2009
If the front end styling of the Iosis Max smacks of new Focus, the rear of the car points to the C-Max replacement. Strip away the limegreen paint job, rear-view bullet cameras, those parallelogram-hinged, handclap doors and the madder excesses of the roof spoiler and you get a good idea of Ford’s next mid-sized people carrier.
The wacky doors arc open to reveal the guts of the Iosis Max concept car – and they’re not the only show-off doors at play here. The two-part boot opens in three distinct movements, either as a full tailgate (with the F1-inspired rear wing itself hinging amusingly from the roof) or as a smaller opening to load up flatpack furniture in a rammed Ikea car park.
Inside the Ford Iosis Max
Step inside the Iosis Max and you’ll enter a world even more alien than the exterior. Despite its people carrier pretensions, this is a strict four-seater and all four individual pews are crafted from carbonfibre and appear to levitate in thin air, supported as they are by beams linked to the centre spine of the car.
The seats are upholstered in a rubberised netting material, making much of the cabin see-through. But they’re pretty comfy too, and the lack of any B-pillars and the extended moonroof make it a summery milieu.
The designers were inspired by the twisting vortices you spot on wingtips of planes and the rippling muscles of athletes' Lycra suits, and the sinewy, vibrant shapes of the dashboard are woven into the entire cockpit. That centre console is a bit more feasible, echoing the Fiesta’s dash once you’ve discounted the concept-cool projector buttons and smooth surface. Bung a few switches on there and you’ll get an idea where they’re headed with the next-gen Focus.
The engine room
Perhaps more significant than the exterior fireworks and interior experimentation is the new Ecoboost engine under the Iosis Max’s stubby hood. It’s a 1.6-litre petrol engine with forced induction, variable valve timing, stop-start and an eco-tuned twin-clutch transmission. All that tech means it can juggle 178bhp with emissions of 125g/km, Ford claiming it’s a fifth more efficient than a comparable performing petrol engine.
So far, we’ve only seen Ecoboost engines in North America and this is the first European model to appear with the tech. Expect the new, downsized engines to roll out in 2010, led by the new Focus.
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