Italdesign Quintessenza is part GT, part pickup, all EV, with tons of tech

It’s been awhile since Lamborghini-owned Italdesign showed a proper 4×4 concept car, that being the 2013 Parcour concept. Before that, the last four-wheel-drive experiment the Italians take credit for was the Panda 4×4 from 1980, which morphed into the Lancia Delta. The Italians figured this year’s Beijing Motor Show was the right time to do it again, flying into China with the Quintessenza concept that’s part high-riding fastback GT, part pickup, and all-electric. Aimed at that most popular segment, youthful types who live in the city but love nature, with the money to enjoy both, Italdesign says the Quintessenza is “inspired by the concepts of flexibility, freedom, sportiness, and duality in concept and architecture.”

What that means is that in the city, this is a GT with Latin polish and seating for four adults. The front splitter lowers into position during this mode, enhancing aerodynamics during high-speed driving, while above, an “aerodynamic flow control system” in the hood reduces drag. Five inches longer than a Chevrolet Colorado midsize pickup, electrically powered scissor doors the length of the cab make ingress a breeze, and the generous frunk holds plenty of groceries or luggage. The cabin’s got all the concept vibe you could want, with most of the controls projected onto a light, eco-friendly fabric covering every interior panel. The gear selector sits on the right arm of the octagonal yoke, the digital instrument panel is a docked smartphone running an Italdesign app with all of the necessary gauges.    

In the country, the front splitter raises to be out of the way of trail obstacles, while the 24-inch wheels on all-terrain tires and up to 11 inches of ground clearance do the rest. Removing the hard fastback cover reveals the pickup bed, the pair of back seats rotating on their base to face rearward. That way, two people can sit in the comfort of the Quintessenza while enjoying a little stargazing. An electrically operated tailgate offers another simple way to get in and out, a minibar and refrigerator in the console between the rear seats is large enough to hold a bottle of wine and two glasses, because hydration in the wilderness is vital. The cabin displays include a large digital compass under the windshield, and location mapping projected onto the interior fabric panels.

A bouquet of illuminated design elements highlight the composite laminate body panels hung on a lightweight aluminum structure, the repeated line motif a nod to Italdesign’s logo of 13 bars. The two fins at the rear of the roof house the GPS and ADAS sensors, plus, their various illumination states can indicate the chosen driving mode or act as high-mounted brake lights.

Underneath, a 150-kWh battery runs three electric motors, one motor for the front wheels, two for the rear. A combined 778 horsepower gets the Quintessenza to a virtual 62 miles per hour in under 3 seconds, or a range of 466 miles on the European cycle.

Don’t expect to see this anywhere other than a show stage for the time being. However, coming not long after Fiat showed its Panda-based concepts around the time of the Geneva Motor Show, fastback convertible pickup concepts might be a trend we’ll see more of.

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