(from Ford Press
Release) Ford of Europe's Design team has interpreted the
Company's distinctive new 'kinetic design' form language in an
exciting new crossover concept - the iosis X – which makes its debut
at the 2006 Paris Motor Show.
"We're calling this car iosis X as a deliberate link to our 'kinetic
design' concept car lineage started last year," said Martin Smith,
Ford of Europe's Executive Design Director. "The link is not just in
the name – there's a strong visual relationship between the two
cars, and the 'X' signals the new vehicle's crossover capabilities."
"The iosis X is an exciting five-door sports-crossover that proves
we can extend the boundaries of kinetic design into a niche market
vehicle,” added Smith. "It takes our 'energy in motion' philosophy
even further and shows how different Ford cars will be in the
One of the specific purposes of iosis X is to prepare the public for
the introduction of a future Ford of Europe niche model.
"There's been a lot of speculation about Ford producing a compact
crossover or Sport Utility vehicle," said John Fleming, President
and CEO, Ford of Europe. "The iosis X is intended to send a very
strong message that we will be entering this market in around
eighteen months from now, and that our new model will be both
stylish and individual."
Fordiosis X is very clearly a concept and is not intended to be
representative of this future production model. Instead, it sets out
to explore the ways in which Ford's kinetic design form language and
detailing can be applied to a niche vehicle in a rugged and exciting
"Customers will be able to get a feel for the design direction our
production model will take, and when we do reveal that model next
year the relationship between it and the iosis X will be immediately
apparent," Smith explained.
In a stunning concept at Frankfurt 2005, Martin Smith and his team
revealed the new form language that ultimately will be applied in
varying levels across Ford's future European vehicle portfolio. The
original iosis presented all of the key elements of what Ford
identified as 'kinetic design' in their purest form.
“The iosisConcept has been a great ambassador for Ford design,” said
Smith, adding “the reception it received from the public and the
media gave us the confidence to stretch our design team even further
for future Ford vehicles.”
Part of the task since iosis has been to widen the audience for this
new look, and to generate a heightened expectation for what Ford is
going to do next and demonstrate how 'kinetic design' could
translate into other market segments.
The signal for that future direction is now revealed in iosis X.
This dramatic concept car sends a clear message that the look of
Ford’s European products is changing. Already, elements of kinetic
design are appearing in Ford's latest new production models such as
the Ford S-MAX and the all-new 2007 Ford Mondeo.
But, as with its concept predecessor, iosis X is not intended to be
a future Ford production vehicle.
"What iosis X does do is to move our customers' understanding of our
new design language on further," Smith concluded. "It demonstrates
that 'kinetic design' is becoming a consistent and enduring reality
in Ford's future and it assures them that when Ford enters this
particular sector of the market, it will be with an individual and
dynamic product that shares much of the excitement of this Concept."
“Feel the difference” – iosis X on
“One of the aspects
people recognised and liked about the original iosis was the
considered complexity of the forms,” observed Stefan Lamm, Ford of
Europe’s chief exterior designer, before explaining that “we wanted
to explore and demonstrate how kinetic design could work on a high
packaged body. This was one of the challenges for us, to maintain
this dramatic, emotional design language on a car like iosis X.”
Lamm and his team were keen to exploit what appears to be an
emerging trend for sporting crossovers or SUVs and a movement away
from the traditional two-box styling that dominates the segment
irrespective of vehicle size. "This opportunity suits kinetic design
perfectly – iosis X is more of a four-door coupé crossover which is
very compact and emphasises Ford’s driving dynamics."
Lamm and his team wanted to move the 'kinetic design' story on while
retaining all of the key elements of the form language. As a result,
the chunky five-door sports coupé crossover couldn’t be more
different in its stance and dimensions to the original iosis
Concept, a sleek muscular four-door coupé, yet the two are
"This vehicle shows how we can apply kinetic design principles to a
different type of vehicle," said Martin Smith. "We’ve taken all the
key themes and graphic elements first seen on iosis and morphed them
into a very sporty crossover with the footprint of a compact
At the front, iosis X features the bold new Ford of Europe face
translated into a more rugged look to convey the strength of the
Most noticeable are the strong inverted trapezoid elements,
including a prominent lower grille section.
"The dominant lower inverted trapezoidal grille is now a really
strong brand element,” commented Lamm.
Appropriately for a crossover, the lower grille has been enhanced
further by reducing the upper grille to little more than a ram air
intake – a horizontal slot bisected by a bright metal bar and
featuring a deliberately large Ford blue oval badge that appears to
be thrusting forwards from within the engine bay.
Impending pedestrian impact legislation has influenced Ford's
distinctive approach to front overhang and headlamp design. The
front corners are aggressively chamfered, reducing the apparent size
of the overhang, while the large headlamps follow the chamfering
into the front wings, resulting in a distinctive kicked back
"Rather than see the pedestrian protection legislation as an
inhibitor to the design philosophy, we now treat it as a positive
design attribute," said Smith. "To accommodate the required volume
in the front of the vehicle we have not only chamfered the corners
back, but we have included a deep offset from the top of the hood to
the front wings, creating a distinctive shoulder that runs along the
side of the car to the rear."
In side profile, muscular surfacing and these strong and athletic
shoulders run through the car, and are underscored by a dynamic
undercut line that gives iosis Xan extremely dynamic stance, further
enhanced by very bold wheel lips. Air vents aft of the front wheel
arches, a key signature on the original iosis, appear also on iosis
X, drawing air from the front brakes.
Side doors hinge outwards at the leading edge of the front door and
rear edge of the smaller back door and are designed without a ‘B’
pillar to give easy access and an uninterrupted view of the stunning
“When the car is viewed from three-quarters, either front or rear,
the last visual points you should see are the wheels, and that’s
just the case with iosis X," asserts Lamm. "I especially like
looking at the car from the rear three-quarters view because that
emphasises the undercut which develops in a different direction to
the original iosis, with a stronger shadow at the rear gradually
fading out to the front."
As well as balancing the proportions between the upper and lower
body sections, this undercut gives the car its sleek proportions,
and it seems to be moving forwards even when standing still. This is
further emphasised by the swooping roofline and daylight opening
that has a coupé-like profile at the rear. The resulting confident
stance of iosis X belies its relatively compact C-segment size.
In addition to leading the eye around each of the corners at the
front, acute chamfering also serves to disguise the longer rear
"It needs to be longer at the rear otherwise the roof line would
stop abruptly and the car would look quite truncated,” explained
Rugged and dynamically formed 'skid plate' claddings on the lower
part of the vehicle stand off from the body and create a very new
“Usually there is some dark plastic or painted, grained plastic in
the rocker area," Lamm explained. "We decided to move in a different
direction and designed 'skid plates' as separate elements on the car
that aren’t integrated into the shape but floating on the side
panels. These were inspired by the aerodynamic foils we see on the
side of a Formula One car.”
At the side, these 'skid plates' fold down to act as a step for easy
access into the vehicle. They are fitted with rubber treads
featuring the same patterns used in the tyres.
Key elements of kinetic design are trapezoidal shapes and
three-dimensional forms and the interplay between them. Whilst the
inverted grille at the front is the most obvious trapezoidal graphic
it appears in many other interpretations throughout the exterior:
the intakes at the front, the chamfers at the base of the windscreen
and rear window, within the wheels, in the ‘C’ post kink and the
ridges running down the bonnet are all elements of this basic shape.
A bird’s eye view is the best illustration of iosis X’s 'three-plane
plan" form but this is also hinted at within the unique wheels which
Lamm considers to be the most extreme so far designed by his team.
“Mixing the finishes within the wheels heightens the
three-dimensional effect, especially on the perimeter castings that
look as if they could almost be scooping the mud and water out of
Lighting elements have developed significantly since the original
iosis, and for
iosis X, the team has been able to capitalise on the use of latest
Both front and rear lamps deploy LEDs in a highly detailed execution
featuring swept back top edges. But what excites Lamm is not just
their 3-D structure but the way in which they seamlessly follow the
contours of the body.
"Too many vehicles feature elements that look as if they’re attached
to the surface or are poking through apertures that have been cut
into the body work," clamed Lamm. "That’s not the case with iosis X.
The lamps appear to be formed as one with the surface, which gives a
terrific 3-D effect and, if you look at the rear lights, you can see
obvious links to the new S-MAX and Galaxy.”
Wing section door mirrors housing spotlights are mounted high up on
the ‘A’ pillars while the rear fog lamp runs the width of the car
above the rear skid plate that also floats away from the bodywork.
There was intense debate about the car’s colour before the team
arrived at their final choice.
Unusually for this class of vehicle, iosis X is finished in an icy,
brilliant white chilled further by a blue 'flip' effect in the paint
finish which is set off by twin silver stripes running the length of
the bonnet and etched into the glass roof.
“Most products of this type tend to be modern interpretations of
moss green or greys. We thought it would be fun to do iosis X in a
sheer white. That's appropriate for us as we have a history of using
white to good effect - think of the GT40s and rallying Escorts – and
the current Fiesta ST is very popular in white with blue racing
stripes,” Smith said.
“It’s not a pure white, because that would make the car look pretty
heavy," explained Lamm. "The paint we have created features a blue
'flip' effect that changes tone with light and helps describe the
forms and shapes in the car."
Inside iosis X - Optical Impact
Ford's interior design
team, led by Nikolaus Vidakovic, have created a dramatic and
exciting interior for iosis X.
“We started with all of the positive elements from the original
iosis project, and evolved these to deliver even more visual
interest and drama that you might not expect from a crossover,”
The interior is dominated by a new 'interlocking bridge' centre
console structure inspired by modern helicopter cockpit design. The
large console dives down from the instrument panel dividing the
front and rear pairs of seats and dominating the interior before
dramatically sweeping upwards at the rear and into the roof.
"Think of a Scorpion's tail!" added Vidakovic.
The rear section of this console has a practical side to it as well,
as it provides a support and opening mechanism for the one-piece
rear hatch in place of traditional hinges. It also provides a secure
location for the spare wheel.
A central overhead panel contains personal lighting for the front
and rear occupants plus ambient lighting and an entertainment screen
for rear passengers. It also houses three passenger grab handles
which would traditionally be located on the cant rails above the
Twin glass roof panels flank the central overhead console, and these
are complemented by a totally unique new feature – a solid glass
floor beneath the drivers and passenger seats which offers a most
unusual view of the terrain below.
“Because this is a rugged crossover rather than a four-door coupé,
we needed to make different interior design decisions," Vidakovic
said. "At the front, you have the usual functional elements you need
to control a car, but when you go rearwards we introduce elements
more appropriate to this type of vehicle such as lighting and
The slim instrument panel is a further development from that in
iosisand some elements of this theme will undoubtedly feature in
future Ford products.
New technology has allowed the interiors team to locate hardware for
the information, entertainment and heating, ventilation and
air-conditioning systems remotely away from their controls. This has
dramatically freed up space under the instrument panel, creating a
floating centre console and offering a greater feeling of
spaciousness. It also allowed the team to develop a range of
practical storage facilities that customers could choose from,
allowing them to tailor that area for their own needs.
A similar section in the rear console opens up the floor space for
the back seat passengers.
The slim instrument panel flows through into the door lines,
creating a dramatic cockpit feel for the front seat occupants.
Facing the driver is a radical steering wheel developed from that
used in the original iosis, featuring orange perspex sections and
contrasting white 'piano' inserts.
The controls in iosis X employ soft touch screens and touch
sensitive controls in the centre stack.
The main instruments present themselves in the form of a pair of
orange illuminated transparent foil dials that create a deep 3-D
effect, and are housed in individual goggle-like binnacles. Between
them is a Ford HMI screen that allows easy driver control of
navigation, advanced cruise control or other vehicle settings.
Although iosis X is not intended to be a mechanical prototype, it is
fitted with an electronic sequential gear change control in the
centre console. Its innovative design is similar to that found on
many computer games consoles, and fits snugly into the palm of the
hand. Surrounding the gear shifter is a series of soft touch buttons
for dynamic controls, including suspension and traction settings.
Air vents, which are usually a dominating feature of any fascia,
have been subtly disguised with fine mesh blending them into their
“We’ve spent a lot of time developing this mesh over the years,”
revealed Vidakovic. “It took a lot of work to get it right so that
the mesh wouldn't vibrate or restrict air flow to the passengers.”
Orange mood lighting, created by light emitting diodes and light
pipes, illuminates the interior. However, not much lighting is
needed in a car that features not only frosted glass panels in the
roof (to continue the twin silver stripes from the bonnet over the
roof) but also a glass floor.
“We wanted to create the feeling that driver and passengers are
connected to the outside world and can see their surroundings more
clearly," Vidakovic said. "The glass floor is absolutely unique in a
vehicle, like those that you get in boats which allow their
passengers to look into the ocean. In this case, occupants will be
able to see the elements beneath them as they travel.”
The glass floor also led the design team to develop a unique
mounting system for the front seats with runners either side of the
glass panels. The added benefit to this is that it gives the rear
seat passengers more foot room beneath the front seats.
The seats themselves are highly complex and have been designed
specifically with the rigours of cross country or light off-roading
in mind, featuring more supportive padding in the upper back section
and integrated seat belts.
“We’ve bought trapezoidal elements and themes into the interior to
link with the exterior, whilst the interior sheet metal and piano
white surfaces are also links with the bodywork to create a
harmonious entity,” concluded Vidakovic.
Colour and Trim - Creating
“As our intention with
iosis X is to stretch Ford's new design language further and
introduce the next phase of execution and implementation, we wanted
to echo this in the colour and material design strategy," explains
Ruth Pauli, Chief Designer for Colour and Trim. "This means a new
emphasis on quality and detailing, touch and surface design.”
As with the first iosis, Pauli and her team have taken extreme
sports as the inspiration for the materials and effects seen in the
iosis X's dramatic four-seater cabin.
“A friend of mine is very keen on extreme winter sports like
heliskiing and ice climbing and after visiting a sports equipment
fair in Munich we came away with a lot of inspiration as to how we
were going to fashion the interior,” said Pauli.
Colours and textures in iosis X are very cool and fresh, contrasting
the darker atmosphere of the original iosis. The similarity between
the two comes in the athletic and sporty approach, with the emphasis
on premium feel in iosis X, and realised in detail elements such as
the seams, stitching and combination of materials.
For inspiration, Pauli and her team studied all the best quality ski
equipment, including boots, helmets, body protection, goggles,
gloves and the latest carbon skis as well as visual clips of
personal music systems and fashion accessories. The result is crisp,
fresh and young.
Traditional materials have their place too. Considerable use has
been made of the finest European Nubuck and aniline leather
available in Europe and the keen eyed will notice a subtle shift in
tone of the blue used in the cabin.
"What we’ve selected here is a more subdued and sophisticated blue,
which we then combine with very strong fluorescent accents, and
orange highlights," explained Pauli. “This is a distinct change from
Ford’s corporate blue, which is very bold and strong, very classic."
While most of the automotive world is using piano black for its
interiors, Pauli's team has gone in the opposite direction using
high gloss piano white on the centre console and in the steering
“We think white is a very strong theme from a product design
standpoint and we have applied it to both the exterior and interior.
We’ve given the white elements a sophisticated sportiness to show
depth and quality of colour," Pauli explained.
"Inside, we have combined the white, high gloss piano finish with
metal elements, contrasted with darker, premium leathers that really
add a new level of sophistication to the materials story."
The result is a contrast between cold and warm textures that’s also
enhanced by metallic elements in the interior to create tension in
the material and colour combinations.
"We’re developing different textures and finishes to redefine a
modern crossover interior," remarked Martin Smith.
A quartet of high end sports seats with integral seat belts provides
the driver and passenger with high levels of comfort and support.
All combine four different materials that were inspired by the
technicality of skiing gear that Pauli and her team found so
The unique seats feature an aluminium skeletal structure and look as
if they have been modelled from a human torso. They are clad in a
combination of leathers and a complementary woven material specially
created for this application with contrasting stitching. With its
chain-link weave and coarse texture, its richness of detail gives it
an almost 3-D appearance, whilst its coarse texture ensures it will
provide plenty of grip for the occupants.
This theme is echoed in the inner door panels and across the
instrument panel, where new technical materials and neoprenes are
used as highlights or details. The major tactile areas of the doors
and fascia are covered in leather to achieve a premium ambience to
The floating centre stack is a combination of piano white,
translucent orange perspex to highlight new technology detailing and
premium grade soft blue-grey hide.
By using piano white in the interior, there is a direct link to the
car’s exterior both visually and emotionally.
As with the interior colours and details, it was snow and ice that
inspired the exterior colour developed by Pauli and her team.
“If you look into tunnels of ice you see silvers and powdery whites
and that’s reflected in iosis X exterior colours," Pauli notes.
"This creates a technical, powder snow look and is enhanced by
silver stripes contrasting with the cold blue flip of the paint."
“We believe that, for the first time, we have developed design
elements that echo the free spirit of skiing and what’s associated
with it," Pauli concludes. "Skiing can be a really emotional
experience – the kind of experience we want people to enjoy when
they enter the iosis X environment!"