Sign me up if this is what the future of Borgward is going to look like

There was a lot of hype surrounding the Borgward Isabella Concept ahead of the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show. I even got a little caught up in the buzz. It’s a good thing, then, that Borgward delivered in spades on its promise to shake up Frankfurt with the Isabella Concept because the car is absolutely stunning – never mind that Borgward didn’t bring any information on the car’s powertrain behind the hints of it going electric in the event it hits production. I was prepared for that because the company made it clear that the Isabella Concept would be a design exercise more than anything else. And as far as that was concerned, the company passed its Frankfurt test with a firework of exploding colors.

As far as concepts go, this is the kind that you wish had a production future with no changes made to it. I know that’s asking a little too much given how concepts go in the first place, but it’s a credit to Borgward’s design team that it could create a concept study like the Isabella and have people clamoring for it to come to life. At the very least, the Isabella marks a triumphant return to the Western auto scene for Borgward. It’s been gone for over 50 years and while it has returned by way of the arrivals of the BX5 crossover and the BX7 SUV in the Chinese market, the Isabella Concept is the first real indication that Borgward is making some noise once again. I don’t mind it one bit. I may not have been alive when the old Borgward went under, but I sure am looking forward to seeing what the new Borgward is capable of moving forward.

Continue after the jump to read more about the Borgward Isabella Concept

Exterior

2017 Borgward Isabella Concept High Resolution Exterior
- image 731341

The Borgward Isabella is, in one word, mesmerizing. It’s one thing to see an established automaker design concept like this. We can at least expect that. But Borgward? I didn’t see this one coming, though I am very excited to admit that I underestimated the company’s design team.

The fastback shape plays into a luxury car, but the front and rear sections scream performance car.

Look at the Isabella from afar and you’ll see how it establishes a look that’s unique to its own. The fastback shape plays into a luxury car, but the front and rear sections scream performance car. I especially like the creativity in some of the car’s design aspects, particularly how the upper section of the front fenders stretch out all the way into the sides of the of the body. That kind of treatment may have been done a few times in the past, but not to the extent of prominence that Borgward was able to do.

2017 Borgward Isabella Concept High Resolution Exterior
- image 731325
2017 Borgward Isabella Concept High Resolution Exterior
- image 731319

Even the headlights that are integrated into this panel look fresh and original. The headlamps look like two boomerangs joined together, separated by a line that cuts across the middle and creating an image of an “S” on one side and a “Z” on the other. I don’t think there are any easter eggs to this design, only that I like how it turned out with those little LEDs surrounding the lamps.

The headlamps look like two boomerangs joined together

The nose of the concept also slopes down at an angle that’s consistent with most performance cars. It’s met by the bumper and the aggressive front spoiler just below it. About the only caveat I have in this section is Borgward’s logo, which is shaped a little too similar to the logo of Renault. In fact, if you look at it from a distance, it’s easy to mistake the Isabella as a Renault concept.

2017 Borgward Isabella Concept High Resolution Exterior
- image 731329

Now let’s move to the side profile, which is far too often undervalued relative to the front and rear. Borgward didn’t do that as the Isabella Concept’s sides look just as sexy as the front and rear. I already mentioned how the top section of the body looks like it’s stretched out from the front. The two-tone color of the concept and the presence of a large chrome body line that stretches all the way to the rear wheel arches help create that separation between the top and bottom sections of the car. As striking as the top section of the side is, the bottom part is just as conspicuous, thanks to the presence of the large carbon fiber side skirts and the air inlets on the front.

The curved look of the taillamps stretch out instead of in, which helps create the illusion of width in the back

Now to the rear where Borgward actually kept things relatively simple. The shoulders are massive in this section, partly because of how stout those rear wheel arches are. The curved look of the taillamps stretch out instead of in, which helps create the illusion of width in the back. The presence of more layered sections also enhances that visual in the back.

2017 Borgward Isabella Concept High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 731328

I’ve learned not to get too caught up in the excitement of seeing a concept that looks like the Borgward Isabella. It’s a tricky position to be in, especially if the car amounts to nothing. But I am making an exception for this one because I think Borgward is in a good enough place financially to actually make something out of the Isabella Concept. (It reported revenues of €1.5 billion in the last year.) I don’t know what timetable the company has, but I’m hoping that if a production version does arrive, it gets here sooner than later, and should it do that, I hope it’s going to look a lot like the Isabella Concept.

Interior

2017 Borgward Isabella Concept High Resolution Interior
- image 731336

Borgward adopted a more minimalist approach in the interior of the Isabella Concept, with the possible exception of the glass cockpit treatment. Other than that, everything was designed with the approach of less is more. The front and rear seats look clean. Same thing with the steering wheel, door panels, and the counter-looking dashboard. The center console, on the other hand, not only screams for attention with what appears to be a quartz-like look, but also highlights the layering approach in the overall design of the car.

Borgward adopted a more minimalist approach in the interior of the Isabella Concept, with the possible exception of the glass cockpit treatment

The treatment in the interior will most definitely not appear in a production version of the Isabella. It’s too consistent with what a concept cabin looks like so the absence of functionality is pretty evident. Even the console, as cool as it looks, will probably elicit more confusion than admiration. I don’t mind this kind of set-up on the cabin, but if it does become a production model, I’d definitely prefer something a little bit more of a traditional look mixed in with a Borgward twist to it.

Drivetrain

2017 Borgward Isabella Concept High Resolution Exterior
- image 731330

This is the big mystery surrounding the Borgward Isabella Concept. As stunning as the concept looks, the German automaker has made no mention of what kind of powertrain it’s going to carry other than hinting that it’s going to adapt electric technology to power it. This is a bit of a letdown if I’m being honest, but it really was a smart move from Borgward’s part to resist attaching any more pressure on the Isabella Concept more than it already has. So in the absence of any concrete information from the automaker, I’m assuming that the Isabella, if it does end up in production, could use a power set-up involving the use of four electric motors, each producing an output of around 200 horsepower and bringing the total power up to about 800 ponies.

Remember, that figure is nothing but an estimate on my part so don’t take it as gospel. That said, the Isabella Concept does look like a car that has 800 horsepower. Anything significantly less – lower than 600 horses – and it loses the cache of having a body look like it could compete against the very best of what Mercedes and BMW can offer.

Conclusion

2017 Borgward Isabella Concept High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 731328

At the risk of contradicting my own position of not getting too amped up over concepts like the Isabella, I will say that Borgward isn’t what I’d call a start-up. Sure, it may not be the same company that closed down over five decades ago, but it is the same brand, at least for the most part. The name has a long history attached to that a lot of people will be able to recognize. More importantly, Borgward seems to already have the financial footing to actually do something with the Isabella Concept.

The success of the BX5 crossover and the BX7 SUV in China helped Borgward to begin mapping out its return back to the European market. The two SUVs are likely the first models to hit the market in that region and if they end up being as successful as they are in China, then the road to actually seeing a production version of the Isabella Concept will be much easier. I’m hoping that it gets there for the company because it showed something with the concept that’s oozing with promise and potential.

  • Leave it
    • * No plans of production yet
    • * No information on powertrain either
    • * Best to temper the excitement
What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: