Lately, concept cars have become showcases of touchscreens and batteries, but remember not that long ago when they used to get you excited about automobiles, driving, and design? Now Suzuki, of all companies, has unveiled a concept that brings us back to the stirring show cars from a bygone era.
The Suzuki Misano is a low-slung, open-top sports car that asks the question, what if there was a four-wheeled motorcycle? Inspired by the Japanese firm’s long history of high-performance two-wheelers, the Misano seeks to “merge the adrenaline rush on two wheels with the driving experience on four.”
The Misano caps off a thesis project for 24 students of transportation design at Istituto Europeo di Design Torino with collaboration from Suzuki. It has a footprint of 157 inches by 69 inches, or about the length of a BMW i3 and the width of a VW Polo. Its height, however, measures only 39 inches, about 50 percent shorter than a Toyota Yaris hatchback.
Like concept cars of old, the Misano does pack in one wacky idea that has no chance of making it into production. It offers a tandem 1+1 seating position, even though it’s wide enough for a side-by-side construction. Not only that, but the seats are off to one side. We would’ve expected a side-mounted motorcycle engine on the other, but it actually contains a trunk and small battery pack. Presumably, the Misano is an EV.
Strictly speaking, it’s a barchetta because it has no mechanism for covering the cockpit and barely a windscreen. In lieu of a steering wheel, the car is controlled by what the IED statement calls a motorcycle-inspired yoke. Clear openings in the doors provide a view of the road that only a motorcycle can match.
It’s not the first time Suzuki has answered the question of a four-wheeled motorcycle. In 2001, it showed the Hayabusa-powered GSX-R/4 concept, which featured a more traditional seating position.
The Misano is just the right amount of beautiful design and bonkers-ness that makes you wish for an alternate universe where it would make it into production. But alas, we know it’ll be a miracle if Suzuki ever makes a sports car again. If you happen to be in Italy and want to check out the Misano for yourself, it will be on display at the Museo Nazionale dell’Automobile di Torino from Saturday May 15th to Sunday June 6th 2021.