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Geneva show: Bertone reveals radical Alfa Pandion

Bird of prey: Alfa's Pandion may share a platform with a new model from sister company Maserati.

Bertone builds an osprey-inspired 2+2 coupe concept as Alfa prepares for new era

Alfa Romeo logo26 Feb 2010

By TERRY MARTIN

ITALIAN design house Stile Bertone has revealed its radical new Alfa Romeo high-performance concept – the Pandion – ahead of the Geneva motor show this week.

Previewed as a sketch a month out from the show and leaked in final form three weeks later, the Pandion has officially emerged as a front-engined rear-drive 2+2 coupe with a long bonnet and cab-rearward layout with a flowing, aerodynamic design, lightweight construction, large transparent areas and a remarkable rear-end treatment that must be seen to be believed.

Initial details show the Pandion, which draws its name from the scientific term for osprey or sea hawk (Pandion haliaetus), is 4620mm long, 1971mm wide and 1230mm high – compact dimensions that place it around the same size as the 8C Competizione two-seater super-coupe, upon which the Pandion is believed to be based.

Alternatively, the Pandion could mark the first application of an all-new vehicle architecture understood to be in development at parent Fiat Auto, and which will be used as the basis for a new small coupe from sister marque Maserati.

As GoAuto has reported, Maserati SpA commercial director Raffaele Fusilli revealed to Australian media last month that Maserati was investigating a third model line in the form of a volume-selling sub-GranTurismo 2+2 coupe, with a twin-turbo V6 and a high-performance hybrid powertrain also on the agenda.

26 center imageIf green-lighted for production, the Pandion would likely be built from the same architecture and could also feature versions of these powertrains.

Bertone said the design team, led by Mike Robinson, drew inspiration from the wings of the osprey to invent stunning new vertical door-opening mechanisms, while the bird’s facial markings were used to “project the traditional Alfa family feeling into the next era of design”.

The famous Italian design house also pointed to other cars it had produced with names from “natural wonders”, including the Corvair Testudo (1963) and the Alfa Romeo Canguro (1964), Carabo (1968) and Delfino (1983).

Although it was never developed for right-hand drive markets, the limited-run 8C Competizione produced earlier this decade was easily Alfa Romeo’s most radical and formidable model in many years, and borrowed its platform architecture from Maserati.

It used a 330kW 4.2-litre supercharged V8 petrol engine, which could send the aluminium and carbon-fibre-bodied coupe from 0-100km/h in 4.5 seconds, and on to a 300km/h top speed.

Just as the 8C was designed as a Porsche 911 rival as Fiat attempted to raise Alfa Romeo’s profile in the world of serious sportscars, the Pandion looks to have similar intentions as the Italian manufacturer attempts to resurrect the brand, which is undergoing a strategic review.

As GoAuto has reported, Alfa Romeo is believed to be developing replacements for the 156, Brera and Spider.

Bertone is understood to be responsible for the Brera, with Pininfarina developing a replacement for the Spider, to also be shown in concept form at the Geneva show this week.

Giorgetto Giugiaro’s ItalDesign is believed to be working on a concept that previews a replacement for the 156 sedan.

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