If you look into a rear-view mirror, you generally only see things that are behind you. However, a look back can also generate a vision of the future. That’s certainly true of the thrilling Borgward ISABELLA Concept, which is celebrating its world premiere at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show.
The vehicle unites the brand’s traditional virtues with the attributes of today’s Borgward Group AG. Among the outstanding features of the Borgward ISABELLA Concept are its fascinating design, its interior and operating concept, its digital connectivity, and the electrification of its drive train.
Unlike many other studies, the ISABELLA Concept is more than just a vision of a future vehicle concept. On the contrary, the main development goal for the reincarnation of the legendary Isabella from the 1950s was the creation of a characteristic design DNA that would serve as the future focus of the entire Borgward company.
The design idiom of the four-door, four-seat concept coupe is based on Borgward’s “Impressions of Flow” design principle, which will be valid for all vehicles in the future.
The Borgward ISABELLA Concept impresses with its perfect dimensions (5.00 meters long, 1.40 meters high, and 1.92 meters wide) and the beauty of its flowing three-dimensional and sculptural shapes, which are smoothly connected to technical and functional elements such as the cooling air inlets and the aerodynamic components—without any aggressive undertone. Warming is convinced that such an undertone would be unacceptable in an all-electric coupe.
As an all-electric coupe, the ISABELLA Concept represents the future of Borgward. The company already decided during the conceptual phase to dispense with the Octagon radiator grille, which had been a classic feature of the BX models to date. Instead, it chose to create a striking new brand-specific look with a substantially accentuated diamond-shaped Borgward logo as its key element. As a result, the homogeneous and largely closed front section radiates progressiveness and appeal. The prominently positioned diamond-shaped Borgward logo is emphasized by the two futuristic headlights, whose contours and graphic elements also cite the diamond-shaped logo. The headlights view their automotive surroundings with a piercing gaze and at the same time form a harmonious connecting element between the fenders and the sporty flat hood of the electric motor.
The design of the lower front section fulfills the aerodynamic requirements for making the flow of air through and around the vehicle as efficient as possible. In cooperation with the aerodynamics experts, the designers integrated the cooling air inlets in such a way that they enable the air to flow through the wheel housings in order to effectively cool the brakes, for example.
Transformation of the classic Isabella coupe lines into a modern look
The vehicle is as sporty and elegant as a coupe and combines these features with the modern interpretation of a four-door sports sedan. This is enriched by a windshield that is strongly pulled forward in the style of a super sports car. As a result, the ISABELLA Concept proudly expresses its strong forward thrust even when it’s standing still. However, the real eyecatcher when viewed from the side is the future-oriented transformation of the classic Isabella’s swinging hips—a reminder of the early decade of Germany’s “economic miracle,” when unbridled optimism was the order of the day. This charming hip line is accentuated by an aluminum trim that visually extends the entire side view. In the vehicle’s rear, the elegant curve merges smoothly into the seamlessly integrated slim tail-light bands. The design team headed by Anders Warming chose the modern lines of the ISABELLA for more reasons than just stylistic ones. They encompass technical features such as sensors for the driver assistance systems and the electronically operated flush-mounted door openers.
The aerodynamic excellence of the ISABELLA Concept becomes particularly evident when the vehicle is viewed from the side. From this angle, efficiency is enhanced by a variety of detailed solutions as well as the streamlined shape of the basic vehicle body. Behind the front wheels are two free-standing vertical spoilers that enable air to perfectly ventilate the wheel housings by being actively channeled through them, as well as flowing around the vehicle’s flanks. This is also where the lenses of the two optoelectronic side-view mirrors are integrated. They replace the conventional rear-view mirrors and also reduce wind resistance. There is also a flow of air through the two free-standing C-pillars, which additionally generate the downforce on the rear axle that is needed for maintaining driving stability.
Thanks to doors that open in opposite directions, front and rear-seat passengers can easily get in and out of the vehicle, especially because the highly stable ISABELLA body has no B-pillars. A clever swinging/sliding mechanism lets the doors slide forward and backward and provides an unobstructed view of the lounge-like interior. The dynamically sporty design of the ISABELLA Concept is also energy-efficient and is accentuated by large 21-inch wheels. They combine low rolling resistance with great traction and help to ensure that the modern ISABELLA is very enjoyable to drive and ride in, no matter whether it’s fuel-efficiently gliding along or sprinting through hilly Terrain.
Borgward’s electric drive platform ePropulsion
In the near-series Borgward BXi7 concept car, Borgward Group AG presented the Borgward ePROPULSION electric drive system platform in an SUV at the beginning of this year. Now the modular Borgward ePROPULSION system is celebrating its premiere in the ISABELLA Concept, a four-door sedan. Here the electric platform’s impressive performance is especially evident. The battery, which was jointly developed by Borgward and its strategic partner LG Electronics, makes a big impression with its high energy density. In the next development steps, the drive platform’s electric range is due to be increased to as much as 500 kilometers (310 miles). The charging cycle to 80 percent capacity takes only 30 minutes at a fast-charging station. The Isabella Concept can be recharged inductively as well.
The eAWD electronic control and electric motors at both the front and the rear axle turn the ISABELLA Concept into an all-wheel-drive vehicle with a fully variable torque distribution system. The two permanent magnet synchronous motors with integrated converters have a combined output of 220 kW/300 hp, deliver a maximum torque of 450 Newton meters and unite, in line with the driver’s wishes, sporty performance and handling with the highest degree of efficiency. As a result, the vehicle accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h (0-62 mph) in 4.5 seconds, and its thunderous forward thrust does not end until 250 km/h (155 mph) is reached.
Specific driving programs for a customized driving experience
In addition to a high level of energy efficiency, the Borgward ISABELLA Concept provides plenty of driving pleasure. The sporty sedan has a total of five driving programs in order to fulfill different driving requirements. The ECO program ensures maximum energy efficiency and an optimal range, while COMFORT is the NVH-optimized mode for very relaxed driving. When set to the AWD program, the system activates permanent all-wheel drive with symmetrical torque distribution in order to ensure the best possible winter performance on low-friction surfaces such as snow and ice. The SPORT and SPORT+ modes offer a rear-wheel drive focus, more direct responsiveness of the control systems, and a steeper accelerator response to ensure great agility and dynamic handling. In accordance with the philosophy behind the ISABELLA Concept, these driving programs are not subject to rigid control strategies. Instead, they respond to the driver’s requirements and accommodate themselves accordingly.