In autumn 2003, Ford presented to the world its newest concept at car at that moment – The Visos. Many said that this is an attempt to resurrect one of Fords oldest legends, The Capri. The resemblance between the two is on individual character level, yet some visual ones as well. Officials never said anything about this, but it is clear that they are trying to send a message to automobile fans: that this is the design direction Ford wishes to go.
"The Visos whispers passion in every curve, every seam, every angle," says Derrick Kuzak, vice president for Product Devel opment at Ford of Europe. "But most importantly it is a Ford. It speaks Ford’s design language, the visual culture that unites all the members of our family of cars."
The full, four-seat sports coupe is slightly longer than a Focus, yet is spacious enough to meet sedan-size expectations. Broad shoulders allow a smaller instrument panel, and in turn, significantly more cabin space. For easier access to rear seats, both doors extend deep into the roofline, and the roof itself lifts up and folds inward on either side.
While preserving the interior space and practicality of a luxury sedan, the Ford Visos maintains energetic lines that are characteristic of a sports car. Its B-pillar is hidden behind tinted side-window glass, and a sharply raked A-pillar and curved C-pillar complete the distinctive Ford profile. The windscreen, roof and rear screen blend into one element, giving the Visos an uninterrupted look that is similar to futuristic aircraft cockpit designs.
The Ford Visos maintains sports-car characteristics while preserving the interior space and practicality of a luxury sedan.
"We wanted Visos to be a car from which we could take ideas and features and flow them through into future models," says Ford of Europe Design Director Chris Bird. "We also wanted to ensure that the vehicle we created would send a message about how we see the European ’blue oval’ car of the future evolving."
Set on 20-inch wheels, the Ford Visos reveals its performance potential with two chrome-tipped exhaust pipes, twin air intakes in the front and rear and a narrow chrome-framed grille. Angled, horseshoe-shaped rear lights are inverted in the front and create a distinctive light graphic using a combination of technologies – a key design element on the face of the car.
Overall, the exterior design can be described as "purposeful performance." Using a technique known as "active surfacing," Ford designers achieved a clean, uncluttered exterior look by hiding the concept’s aerodynamic features when they are not in use. Only when its "sport" mode is activated or when the vehicle reaches 90 km/h (approx. 60 mph) are the Ford Visos’s front splitter, rear diffuser and rear spoiler deployed. In "comfort" mode, these features are retracted into the body.
Integrated door cameras rotate out of the door surfaces when the engine is turned on to provide a clearer rear view image and then rotate back in when the car is turned off. A blind spot detection feature warns the driver of unsafe conditions when changing lanes.
Inside the Visos, design and technology are complementary. A sculpted instrument pod is mounted to the steering wheel and provides unique access to instrument controls via analogue dials and liquid-crystal display (LCD) panels. Most of the concept’s conventional dials have been replaced with high-definition LCD panels to ensure widespread access to the car’s advanced technology, including in-car entertainment, navigation and climate-control systems.
At the push of a button, the concept’s sport and comfort modes are interchanged, activating or deactivating exterior aerodynamic features while simultaneously "customizing" the cabin environment. From the soft-lighted and relaxed comfort mode, the Ford Visos can be quickly adjusted to the brighter, more eager sport configuration. Its seats automatically reshape and angle in a more sports car-like position. The steering wheel slides closer, a gear lever is deployed from the center console for shift control and instrument panels alter to provide more performance-oriented information.
Drivers aren’t the only ones who have fun in the Ford Visos concept. Front-seat passengers can fully recline and put their feet up on the extending footrest. When the seat is in non-recline mode, the Visos provides comfortable, adult-sized rear seats, as well as an independent rear-seat audio/visual entertainment system operated by a full-length, rear-seat console.
The Ford Visos concept is powered by a six-cylinder, double-turbocharged engine. Mated to a six-speed transmission, it produces 345 horsepower and roughly 295 foot-pounds of torque. The Ford Visos invites enthusiast drivers to tinker under the hood. An LCD monitor is mounted to the side of the engine and displays its configurations. By simply connecting a laptop computer to the provided USB port, Ford Visos drivers can change damper settings and adjust the rev limiter – interacting with an engine like never before. Preset configurations would be available for download at specified Ford Internet sites.