Thursday, April 23, 2009

Geely GT Tiger concept

One of the most dramatic designs sporting a Chinese OEM badge at the 2009 Shanghai auto show was the GT or 'Geely Tiger'. Although attendees of the Beijing auto show in April 2008 will be already familiar with the basic sports coupe exterior shape, the 2009 version now features a complete four-seat interior accessed by working scissor doors and a new maroon metallic paint job plus engine details for the first time.

Powered by a 300bhp 3.5 V6 unit, it is fractionally wider, taller and shorter than the Maserati Gran Turismo it could rival, with a shorter wheelbase (2805mm vs. 2942mm). The large 'growling' but 'butterfly wing-topped' front grille features a series of lozenge-shaped and chrome-accented holes, while a forward character line extends from the front wheelarch to move almost horizontally back before undercutting another line coming from the rear wheelarch. Exaggerated brightwork wraps around the tail lights to help define the dynamism of the rear of the car and bisects another line rising up from the center of the color-coded bumper section to form a subtle 'x' graphic on both sides.

Geely's design chief Mike Ma told Car Design News the car was designed by Giugiaro and is destined for production in 2010. The doors still have no conventional handles, opening instead through intelligent sensing and identification, and the view behind is catered for via a hidden rear view mirror using video imaging technology.

Aside from these showcar touches the inside all looks very much production-ready with smart horizontally-ribbed sports seat cushions, bolstered black seat backs, a straightforward high center stack and console with red-lit controls to convey a sporty feel and a regular steering wheel and black and maroon IP.

Along with the IG city car (see separate report) it was one of the stars of the Geely exhibit and shows the growing confidence of the brand.