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Cylon on wheels - the Bertone designed Alfa Romeo Pandion


March 9, 2010

Bertone designed Alfa Romeo Pandion

Bertone designed Alfa Romeo Pandion

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This year's Geneva Motor Show has seen a deluge of delectable concepts unveiled and one of the finest pieces of eye-candy presented must surely be the Pandion. Created to celebrate Alfa Romeo’s one hundred year anniversary and also marking 75 years of collaboration with Italy’s legendary styling house Bertone (think Lamborghini Countach among many others), the Pandion hides a 4.7 liter, 450 CV 8-cylinder Alfa Romeo engine beneath some very, very well honed curves.

Conceived as "pure dream car," the Pandion is the first produced by Mike Robinson in his new role as Design and Brand Director at Bertone.

The elongated doors (we're talking around 10 feet) open backwards and upwards from a rear hinge on the wheel arch and sit at 90 degrees to the horizontal - sort of taking a gull-wing and turning it into a rabbit-ear, but with a stunning visual result. The designers say there's also a practical spin-off, with the huge doors making it easier to get in and out of the vehicle, although at just 1230 mm (48") high. The doors are also designed to detach from the car body in a roll-over accident.

The short rear end is marked by quad tailpipes and "crystal-like blades which are intertwined in various widths and lengths, protruding out into space," while the deeply buried headlights and a narrow T-shaped grill at the front would make this the perfect ride for a Cylon.

Inside, the distinctive backlit, “swimming pool blue” seats are constructed from carbon fiber shells just over an inch thick. There's two analogue dials placed directly on the steering column in the tradition of Alfa sports cars and three of the four LCD screens are linked to external video cameras that replace the rear view mirrors. The fourth, 9-inch screen shows air conditioning, sound system, Sat Nav and other info on the car's systems.

"Cars are like films: they must tell a story to win people over", says Mike Robinson. "The best car designers are necessarily excellent narrators and their products, whether they are concept cars or mass-produced products, reflect their creators’ ability to gather fascinating ideas from every field, from all over the world, to bring them together and transform them into new and great stories. This is what we have attempted to do with the Alfa Pandion.’

Incidentally, the name Pandion is from "Pandion Haliaetus" - the scientific name for an Osprey.

Alfa Romeo, Bertone.

About the Author
Noel McKeegan After a misspent youth at law school, Noel began to dabble in tech research, writing and things with wheels that go fast. This bus dropped him at the door of a freshly sprouted Gizmag.com in 2002. He has been Gizmag's Editor-in-Chief since 2007. All articles by Noel McKeegan

doors ten feet long ? \" where is that rain water coming in ? \"


Oooooooo- nice! The side door would be a problem opening in a garage, but the concept is very cool indeed...

Facebook User

It\'s cool, as long as you never have to go into a parking garage. Really, you would even need tall ceilings in a garage at home. So all-in-all, I\'d say it\'s a terrible piece of design, from a practical point of view.

Justin LeTempt

I wonder if they will have an option to have a red light scrolling back and forth in the grill!


Forget about that garage and the doors! Picture yourself having an accident and flipping over. It\'s an Italian car so it will immediately start a fire... get the point? You\'re upside down, and the car is burning, and the doors open...NOT! This it shocking to me, as the same flaw was pointed out in the Lamborghini countage. Also, the doors HAD to have an electronic lock safety to assure that it\'s always PERFECTLY closed, otherwise it would be ripped off at speed.

It\'s a brilliant LOOKS design, but safety wise... it\'s a beautiful steel/composite coffin. Too Italian for me: All heart and no brain. It is however the perfect brand. Alfa owners don\'t get bothered by these \"minor details\" as long as it\'s got the ignition key on the left side and the engine roars good enough. (too caustic?)


Imagine opening the doors in a stiff wind! They\'d tear right off their hinges! Design for design\'s sake - pretty much useless in the real world. Can\'t garage it, can\'t get in or out when it\'s windy and/or rainy... it\'s not April 1st is it?

Marcus Carr

TWO DISTINCT HOMAGES Alfa 2uettottanta - Amazing minimalist prêt à porter from Pininfarina in his 80 years. Alfa Pandion - Interesting haut couture from Mike Robinson in his first catwalk.


Well, the text clearly states that this is a pure design study for a a pure dream car. \"Dream\" in this case even meaning \"will never be made\". So discussing the practicalities of it\'s features seems rather silly. But silly I am, so why not at least make it worth while? I have had the pleasure of driving some Italian wonders and owned an old Alfa Romeo once. Some are just pure driving fun, meant for just that and doing it to the degree that no others can compare, but of course one looses practicality and some other qualities.

The safety of the doors is also mentioned in this article, as they are designed to actually fall totally off in the case of a roll over. If such a car was made, and I could buy it, I\'d be in a world where the word \"practical\" is meaningless. My garage would be tall enough. If venturing into some lower part of society, where garages may be accordingly low and have lesser floors than marble covered by shiny white silk sheets, one could easily exit the Pandion without lifting the doors all the way up.

I once sat in a Diablo, not driving, but I\'ve just seen the tremendous Lamborhini Countach, the Worlds fastest car for 20 years, and what all real supercars since have been more or less copying. It was not made to be safe. It was a pure ultimate racing machine made just about road legal and put into a groundbreaking design package. It\'s such a fine tuned on the edge machinery it needs half an hour of warm up before you can drive it properly. Hardly a means of transportation. Its road grip and stability are of stellar proportions. If you manage to roll a Countach, your need speed enough to imply there are no doors left to open. Nor will you be abe to worry about it. You may hope to have appendages to your shoulders resembling the Pandion doors (Angel wings?).

Same kind of logic may be used to some degree on any car made for pure fun. And actually on any car at all, but with differens types of compromises made. Big family cars may be safe and run cheap, and last long, but they are totally boring in every meaning of the word. Still extremely good some of them, for what they are. Italy has allways had a strong hold on the totally wild and beautiful side of cars, without allways gripping all other qualities that may match, but they\'re worth it. Easily!

This Alfa can let loose from reality even more, as it\'s ONLY a beautiful dream.


I love the back seats... about just enough room for a little poodle at best. Forget putting a human with legs back there...


I thought it was a Tesla. The front grill looks like a Tesla logo (or was that stolen from Tesla?). Check out Tesla\'s Eye concept

Facebook User

Those doors need to be changed, no doubt about that. To be honest, I don\'t think it does the car any favours at all to have the doors opening like that. But as a starting point for a new Alfa, I think this looks great.


This Alfa is a total beaut!!! I love all their car models, especially the 8C Spider!

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