Pininfarina Cambiano: An eco-chic concept car

Pininfarina Cambiano side doors openNobody does concept cars like an Italian styling house. Half art studio and half coachbuilder, each company has a single focus: making cars look good. With Bertone bringing the low-slung Nuccio to March’s Geneva Motor Show, it was only natural that rival Pininfarina would answer back. The car above, the Cambiano, will make its official debut at Geneva but photos and technical information have already hit the Internet.

The Cambiano is named after the city where it was designed, and Pininfarina calls it an “elegant and refined sport sedan.” Like many sedans these days, the Cambiano has a distinctly coupe-like profile, with a steeply raked windshield, low roofline, and sculpted fenders.

Pininfarina calls the Cambiano a sedan, but it only has three doors: one on the driver’s side, two on the passenger’s. Looking at the Cambiano from the side, it takes a second to notice the seam between the two doors. Those suicide doors, lacking handles and B-pillars, are a cool classic touch (think 1960s Lincoln Continental), but probably aren’t production-feasible. It would be very hard to pass side-impact crash tests without a central pillar, but this is a concept car after all.

Pininfarina claims the 1957 Lancia Florida II as its inspiration. This Flaminia-based coupe was originally shown at Geneva, and was company founder Battista Farina’s personal car.

The company also said that it paid “great attention to the environment” when choosing the powertrain. The Cambiano is a plug-in hybrid, but unlike any currently in production. Each wheel is driven by a 60-kW electric motor, giving the car all-wheel drive and opening up some space within the wheelbase.

Providing the electricity is a battery pack that Pininfarina says has a 127-mile range. Charging the batteries is a diesel-powered gas turbine hooked up to a generator. The system is similar to the one Jaguar outlined for the concept version of its C-X75 supercar.

According to Pininfarina, all that adds up to a total range of 497 miles and a top speed of 155 mph (with short bursts up to 171). The Cambiano can theoretically accelerate from 0-100 kph (0-62 mph) in 4.2 seconds while emitting only 45 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer.

On paper, the Cambiano is a svelte sedan with coupe-like lines, plug-in hybrid power, and near-supercar performance. Sound familiar? Henrik Fisker is probably glad that the Cambiano is only a concept car.