The 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show sees SEAT continue the exciting development of its design DNA with the world debut of the new SEAT IBL concept car.
At Frankfurt the Spanish brand’s unique design language is extended to a sports saloon concept with a dynamic, confident look. The SEAT IBL combines a clean, minimalist exterior with an innovative, premium interior that clearly conveys its quality and precision.
James Muir, President of SEAT, S.A. said: ‘The IBL shows that sports saloons within the SEAT brand portfolio will play an important role in future. However, this concept car does not pre-empt a specific model, but rather shows the design philosophy we are applying to bring the unmistakable SEAT identity to a saloon car, too.’
He added: ‘The IBL is the perfect representation of SEAT brand values – with its distinctive look, its precision and its premium feel. Over the next few years, SEAT will embark upon a product offensive that will see the spirit of the IBL reflected in several series-production models.’
The IBL completes SEAT’s exciting series of concept cars that define the genetic design pool for the ongoing development of the sporty Spanish brand’s cars. Laying the groundwork was the highly acclaimed IBE compact electric sports coupé. The IBX that followed showcased the new DNA code of SEAT design in a completely different vehicle architecture – a crossover between SUV and sports coupé.
Dr Matthias Rabe, Vice-President of Research and Development at SEAT, said: ‘In SEAT’s Technical Centre (CTS) we have combined the latest technology that the Volkswagen Group offers with our design language to achieve products as exciting as the IBL.’
Hallmark SEAT interpretation of saloon and coupé
Now, with the IBL, SEAT is turning its attention to the reinterpretation of the sports saloon. With its powerful proportions derived from a generous wheelbase of 2.71 metres and an overall vehicle length of 4.67 metres – plus its flowing, dynamic roofline – it almost belongs in the four-door coupé category.
In any event, the SEAT IBL fits into a premium, individual lifestyle that sets great store by clarity and quality, technological excellence and precision dynamics.
Pure precision and a determinedly sporty character
After the IBE and the IBX, the new IBL concept car delivers a further, enticing, perspective on the continued development of SEAT design. The pure forms, precise lines and exact surfaces of the IBL depict the distinctive design language that not only sustains the modernity of the SEAT identity, but also clearly strengthens it.
Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos, the new Head of SEAT Design, explained: ‘IBL is all about emotion. Love at first sight. But this first impression is something that is meant to last thanks to its timeless, elegant, design.’
Perfect crossover of saloon and sports coupé
As a further evolution of this new design strategy, the IBL also demonstrates how well it works when applied to a car in the upper medium class. The SEAT IBL is a crossover in the very best sense of the word – it combines the elegance, spaciousness and utility of a classic saloon with the athletic look and dynamic line of a powerful sports coupé.
The genetic pool for the next generation
‘The IBL was created from the unique design DNA that will prevail right across our next vehicle generation,’ says Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos.
‘The IBL is certainly more than a saloon; it is the SEAT interpretation of a very sporty four-door. With it, we are also demonstrating that we can apply our elegant dynamics and our youthful character to a full-size vehicle concept, too, making it unique and unmistakable.’
Based on powerful proportions
At 4.67 metres long and 1.85 metres wide, the SEAT IBL falls into the full-size saloon category. Its long wheelbase of 2.71 metres gives it short overhangs front and rear, and enables powerful proportions – the essential basis of every good design.
At the front, the IBL is distinguished by the familiar ‘arrow’ nose, the classic core element of SEAT design. The front end features the arrow form, with a clear centre line along the bonnet. The grille also bears the characteristic, five-sided arrow shape, expressed here in a very wide, flat form.
‘We are very satisfied with the result achieved. Under the skin of a sporty vehicle, the IBL offers a surprising degree of ergonomics with comfort and practicality, thanks to the use of the latest technologies in materials and processes,’ says Dr Rabe.
LED headlamps as light sculpture
The full LED headlamps are designed as sharp strokes: precise in their appearance and state-of-the-art in their function. The individual segments of this light sculpture fulfil the various lighting functions, ranging from a main beam with variable illumination, to indicators, to daytime running lights.
The air intakes low down on the front end take a fine, linear form. They are evocative of the design of an electronic circuit board, creating a visual connection to the zero local emissions electromobility that the IBL commands perfectly as a plug-in hybrid. The air intakes are designed in black and red and framed with fine chrome lines that emphasise both the vehicle’s breadth and its premium character.
‘Our engineers successfully combined the spectacular design of the head and tail lights fully integrated into the bodywork with innovative light functions,’ said Dr Rabe.
The profile of the SEAT IBL is dominated by its mighty wheels – at a diameter of 20 inches and with a sophisticated design featuring single and double spokes, they are not only extremely sporty, but also pleasingly elegant.
Their stature is further emphasized by powerfully defined wheel arches – the entire car seems to grow towards its wheels with the extremely muscular flanks firmly fixed to the road. The dynamic line running the full length of the flanks and the chrome line around the greenhouse add taut visual length to the side view.
Details such as the small fold-out door handles and the aluminium feet of the exterior mirrors bear testament to the consistently minimalist approach. The SEAT IBL is form at its purest level, the essence of SEAT design.
Super-sharp lights on the clearly defined rear end
The same applies to the rear end of the IBL, too. The LED lights are also cut extremely sharply; with segments of the arc fulfilling the various light functions. The bumper is indicated by just a character line while a piece of chrome trim also serves to underscore the vehicle’s breadth, as does the finely sculpted rear diffuser.
Luxuriously sporty ambience
Clean, minimized to the essential, exceptionally precise and premium in its look-and-feel – this is the SEAT IBL interior philosophy. Innovative technology and perfect execution come together here to create an ambience of relaxed and luxurious sportiness. Light, matte leather dominates the surfaces and brings breadth and a lightweight feel to the generously proportioned interior of the four-seater. Contrast is offered by leather surfaces in clear, sporty black and trim elements in the rich red of the exterior paintwork. The form of the dashboard, which almost seems to hang suspended in space, further adds to the impression of lightness.
Complete cockpit beneath a curved glass surface
The cockpit is clearly oriented towards the driver. A one-piece, curved glass surface covers the complete instrument panel all the way to the secondary display in the centre of the cockpit. The main display behind the steering wheel is fully digital and can be programmed to suit the driver’s preferences. Information can be presented either in the form of classic analogue dials or as a digital readout.
Mr Mesonero-Romanos said: ‘The interior of IBL is in total harmony with its exterior design. It is definitely a place where you want to be, and to be seen.’
State-of-the-art, programmable information system
The information hierarchy and colour choice can be selected from three programmes – ‘Travel’ for relaxed driving, ‘Sport’ for concentrated driving fun or ‘Efficiency’ when the focus is on the fuel efficiency of the plug-in hybrid drive. The second display in the centre of the dashboard is dedicated to the extensive communications and information systems.
The navigation system, for example, incorporates data from Google Earth and real-time traffic information into its route recommendations. The information systems are operated intuitively via two touch pads integrated into the steering wheel spokes.
Draught-free air conditioning with perfect details
Particular attention has been paid to perfecting the car’s climate control technology – virtually the entire upper side of the cockpit is conceived as large-surface air vent, facilitating draught-free ventilation. Targeted air flow is handled via individual air channels, integrated into the displays. The air channels have been designed with precisely executed frames machined from solid aluminium. They stand as symbols for the passion with which even the tiniest detail on the SEAT IBL has been designed and executed.