This is the Pininfarina Sergio, a gorgeous concept unveiled at the 2013 Geneva motor show. It's named after the Italian coachbuilder’s legendary chairman who died in July 2012.
So the Pininfarina Sergio pays homage to the great Pinin chairman?
Based on a Ferrari 458 Spider and using the same mechanicals, Pininfarina's latest concept is a prototype that does indeed pay homage to the man responsible for founding the relationship between Ferrari and the company that bears his name. It's a relationship that lasted for more than 40 years.
'The capacity of taking an existing car and making a unique product reinforces our coachbuilding roots,' Pininfarina's design director Fabio Fillipini told CAR. 'The concept encapsulates the three basic values of Pininfarina’s DNA – elegance purity and innovation. The fourth value is emotion: elegant, pure design but always expressed through emotion.'
What's been the design inspiration?
Taking cues from the 1965 Dino prototype – the first mid-engine Ferrari road car and the first project undertaken by Sergio without the help of his father Pinin – as well as the Mythos and Modulo concepts, the two-seat barchetta is a straightforward sports car which showcases its design purity through fluid and sensual shapes.
Its progressive volumes, full surfaces and few lines are underscored by bold wheelarches and kicked up rear haunches. Every line defines a change from one volume to the other, avoiding the typical design trend towards overcharged sharpness. It is this simplicity, the few basic volumes which intersect into one another easily, that make it recognisable as a Pininfarina design.
Immediately apparent are the round holes used on the engine cover, a design element that first appeared on the Modulo. There was a variation of ideas for the air outlets on the bonnet – they initially appeared as thin slits. 'I said let’s put round holes like the Modulo,' Filippini recalls. 'No one owns round holes. It’s not old, not modern; it’s timeless, so strong and perfect. It’s homage to one of our best cars in our history.'
The historical tie-in is also present at the front, where the headlamps are nestled beneath a single transversal plexiglass cluster. 'The Dino Berlinetta [Speciale] of 1965 had this same theme. It’s not retro,' says Filippini. 'We transformed the idea with new tech.'
Video: designing and building the Pininfarina Sergio
Where’s the windscreen?
An explicit nod to the open cockpits of racing cars, Pininfarina’s devised a virtual windscreen to shield occupants at speed. An airfoil in the recess on the front bonnet deflects the airflow entering the passenger compartment, much like the system used in the Renault Spider. An extra wing in the front bumper recovers the loss of aerodynamic load on the front axle, and a fixed spoiler within the rear roll bar increases the downforce on the rear axle. The attention to detail goes so far as the rearview mirror, whose form has been aerodynamically optimised to work in unison with the virtual windscreen.
What’s the cabin like?
Though the interior is identical to that of a production 458 Spider, some exterior elements run into the cabin, such as the visual continuation of the engine bonnet which wraps around the rear part of seats. The aerodynamic headrests are connected to the roll bar rather than to the body of the seats, blurring the boundary between the exterior and interior. Its purity and simplicity is intertwined with functional elements, remaining coherent with Pininfarina’s philosophy.
Measuring 4550mm long, 1940mm wide and 1140mm tall, the Sergio’s carbonfibre body is 10% lighter than the 458 Spider’s aluminium panels. With smaller doors and a bodyshell that exceeds the original Spider in torsional stiffness, the Sergio weighs about 150kg less than the donor car and is claimed to complete the 0-62mph sprint in 3.4 seconds.
What does it mean for Pininfarina?
'This is a more passionate project,' Filippini says. 'My brain was driving the Cambiano concept, but this is my heart; it pushes forward the sensual shapes that are typical of Italian design, without looking at fashion or trends.'
As the project was a personal initiative and the car was not created in collaboration with Ferrari there are no plans for production, but Filippini remains hopeful: 'It would be nice to have a single prototype or limited edition but there is no intention at the moment.'
Any rich Ferrari and Pininfarina enthusiasts out there want to make this concept car into a reality?