Find or Sell any Parts for Your Vehicle in USA

Visteon unveils C-Beyond concept

Wed, 09 Jun 2010

Car Design News was recently invited to a preview of Visteon's C-Beyond concept, which makes its full debut at the Paris motor show in September. Based on a Citroën C4 Picasso, the C-Beyond is a showcase for new technologies – primarily focused on the car's interior, which permit a degree of flexibility and design expression.

The C-Beyond simply looks like a C4 Picasso that incorporates new LED lighting technology. Step inside, however, and the interior is markedly changed. The most striking element is the IP and center console. Separate, thin, vertical columns rise to demarcate the center console area, wrapping around the driver instrument panel. The edge of these twin columns feature vertically stacked controls for the driver and passenger climate systems – their layout, operation and feel a strong point of this concept. The haptic aspect of the buttons conveys a strong premium feel, and their arrangement is ergonomically well thought out. The main power button deserves attention for its brushed aluminum face, which conceals a side roller-bezel, inspired by the trackwheel that used to feature on the side of Blackberry smartphones – and here used for adjusting heat and air flow levels.

In between the two center console columns is an open storage space – big enough to accommodate a large laptop bag – made possible by removing the HVAC box from behind the center stack, and reconfiguring it to fit under the passenger seat. The overall climate strategy is the enabler for much of the innovation seen elsewhere in the interior. Instead of on-dash air vents, heating and cooling is diffused through four rings in the headlining, which also double as lighting units, giving the not altogether unpleasant effect of providing passengers with a halo of light, when illuminated.

The liberation of space on the IP brought about by the removal of air vents allows the insertion of elements such as the small passenger-side locator unit, into which a cup holder, or pouch for a mobile, can be slotted.

The instrument panel itself features a virtual, reconfigurable display directly in front of the driver. This is becoming an increasingly common application, seen on vehicles such as the new Jaguar XJ. Some suggest these virtual displays – made possible by TFT screens (as used here) – do not have the level of clarity required for an automotive application. So we note with interest how Visteon's designers have physically defined the upper and lower edges of the virtual gauge cluster, immediately making the dials and information much more legible at a glance.

There is much to see in this concept, more so than first meets the eye. The center unit between the front seats features a combination of iDrive-like rotary control, and smartphone like touchscreen interface, controlling a host of smartphone-enabled location, navigational and social media based applications. These are integrated in a manner that shows a degree of awareness often missing from today's cars' solutions, not just in terms of considering their use in the unique environment that is a (potentially moving) vehicle, but also the wider implications they might have in terms of global mobility issues.

Many will suggest it is a foregone conclusion that much of what Visteon is showcasing here will filter into mainstream cars over the next five to ten years. Yet that doesn't mean this concept is without merit, far from it. The interior of this vehicle has design appeal in its own right, and the integration of new technology – and the thinking shown about how it could enhance and change the overall journey experience in the future – deserves close inspection.

Related Article:
Review: Yanfeng Visteon Q-e concept 

By Joe Simpson