liter Porsche boxer-6
@ 4600 rpm
hp @ 6200 rpm
lbs per hp
hp per liter
(from Rinspeed Press
Release) "The driver and not the technology should be the focal point of a car," observes the head of
Rinspeed, Frank M. Rinderknecht (49), summing up the fundamental idea behind his latest
concept car offering: the "Senso". Due to be presented jointly by the famous Swiss
automotive design and solutions specialist, Rinspeed, and Bayer MaterialScience, one of
the world's largest plastics producers, at the Geneva Motor Show from March 3-13, 2005,
the innovative "Senso" was developed in cooperation with the experienced engineering
specialist, Esoro. Johannes Seesing (51), who specializes in automotive applications at
Bayer, says: "Together with our partners in the automotive industry, we are already carrying
out research on the car of tomorrow. The "Senso" is an outstanding example of
unconventional ideas and applied lateral thinking."
The "Senso", which runs on environmentally friendly natural gas, has, not without reason,
been labeled the most sensuous car in the world. The "Senso" actually "senses" the driver
by measuring his (or her) biometric data, and then exerts a positive effect on him with the
help of patterns, colors, music and fragrances. A person who is relaxed and wide-awake
simply drives better and more safely.
The whole project is based on an elaborate sensory system that forms the heart of the
vehicle. It consists of a number of sensors that have the job of gathering data about the
driver's condition. Firstly, there is a biometric Polar watch to measure the driver's pulse. A
"Mobile Eye" camera records his driving behavior, in other words how well and how often
he changes lane, and how close and at what speed he approaches the cars in front. Then -
this, at any rate, is the vision - a HP board computer evaluates the data and establishes,
with the aid of special algorithms, the driver's current state of mind.
The developers of the concept car speak, not surprisingly, of "Zen-sorial" – with reference
to Far Eastern meditation. On the basis of the measured data, the driver now receives
various impulses to his senses that put him in a state of relaxed attentiveness. The idea of
'communicating surfaces' stems from Andreas Fischer, a designer who developed the
"zenMotion concept" at the Institute for Computer Sciences at the University of Zurich in
close cooperation with the Institute for Psychology at the University of Innsbruck. The
inspiration for the development came from studies by scientists dealing with the emotional
effect of moving patterns on people. In the "Senso" – depending on the condition of the
driver - four small Sharp LCD monitors emit stimulating (orange/yellow), relaxing
(blue/violet) or neutral (green) color patterns into the driver's line of vision. They are
integrated into the futuristically designed interior paneling, which lights up over the entire
area and bathes the cockpit in dazzle-free ambient light.
It is all made possible by an innovative electroluminescent film technology developed by
Bayer MaterialScience and the Swiss electronics specialist, Lumitec. This "smart surface
technology" is celebrating its world premiere in the automotive industry. Johannes Seesing:
"In the "Senso", we are showing what breathtaking possibilities this new technology can
open up for car designers. The glowing material can be made into any shape and does not
need electric bulbs or LEDs." The high-tech surface is computer-controlled and, depending
on the applied voltage, shines green, blue or orange.
The optical stimuli are reinforced by especially composed sounds stored digitally on a
computer. In addition to the eyes and ears, the nose is stimulated, too – by scents
developed by the fragrances specialist, Voitino CWS, which flow into the car through the
ventilators. Vanilla-mandarin has a calming effect, while citrus-grapefruit is more
stimulating. Even the tactile senses are included: should the central computer establish any
symptoms of tiredness in the driver, electric motors integrated in the seat will shake him
awake by vibrating.
Rinspeed "Senso" - Polarizing opinions
But the "Senso" not only has inner values. It would, after all, not be a Rinspeed if it did not
have a radical - perhaps even controversial – design, too. In particular, the clear-cut, nononsense
design of the interior puts the driver very much in the spotlight. The driver sits
alone in the middle of the front row, flanked behind by two Recaro passenger seats
covered with Italian designer fabrics from Xmobil. On the subject of design, the use of
carbon parts in both the interior and the exterior gives the overall car a cool, technical look.
The carbon components were custom-made by hand at MP Design.
The exterior shape of the vehicle borrows from the world of architecture, structures man
has created over the centuries. As such, it creates a tension-filled dynamic between moving
and non-moving objects. The two-part structure of the rear end is reminiscent of bold roof
constructions and deep chasms between ranks of skyscrapers. The interplay between
smooth curves and sharp edges evokes attractive industrial architecture.
To produce these contours, the makers have used a number of high-tech materials such as
the fully recyclable composite for the bodywork. The striking Speedster windscreen is made
of high-grade Makrolon® polycarbonate - like the rear end, which is reminiscent of the
modern facade of a high-rise building. The window has a scratchproof coating and weighs
little more than half as much as a conventional car windscreen. It is also considerably more
break-resistant, and opens up entirely new possibilities for car designers.
A breathtaking body such as this naturally needs to be clad in extravagant accessories that
are not simply available off the peg: The eggshell matt special effect finish on the "Senso",
which was produced using coating raw materials developed in Bayer's laboratories, is truly
custom-made and only available this once for the Rinspeed "Senso". A soft-feel clear coat
of the same shade in the interior additionally provides a pleasant, soft-feel surface.
Clean performance - the power plant
The 1385 kg lightweight "Senso" is powered by a 3.2-liter boxer engine from the Porsche
Boxster S, modified for its service in the "Senso" to run on gasoline and natural gas. As a
result, emissions of harmful CO2 are reduced by as much as 30 percent. This is because
natural gas is an extremely clean burning fuel, consisting almost entirely of methane with
virtually no sulfur. The engine produces 250 bhp/184 kW at 6,200 rpm and has a maximum
torque of 300 Nm at 4’600 rpm. A manual six-speed transmission transfers the power to the
rear axle. The "Senso" accelerates from 0-100 kph in 5.9 seconds and has a top speed of
Optimum traction is provided by Continental SportContact 2 tires: 235/35 ZR 19 at the
front and 255/35 ZR 19 at the rear. They are mounted on 8.5x19" Barracuda rims at the
front and 9.5x19" at the rear.
The futuristic body sits on a chassis specially developed by KW automotive. It can be
adjusted in terms of both height and hardness. The chassis engineers have succeeded in
performing the rare feat of attaining a perfect symbiosis between drive comfort and sporty
The innovative lighting technology in the "Senso" was developed by the lighting specialist
in.pro. The eight light units awaken associations with scenes from "Star Wars" - Captain
Kirk would certainly have enjoyed it, too. The intelligent in.pro.Sat system sends
automatically an emergency call via the GSM network in case of an accident, robbery or
An optional FBI Bio Drive by Genesis Technology with integrated finger print recognition
stores all personal data of the driver and allows an individual adjustment when starting the