Concept Car Microbus
Original design, communicative interior, new V6
Microbus was developed in the Volkswagen design studio in California
The bus of the future was designed in the
Volkswagen design studio in Simi Valley and the concept is oriented
especially towards the American market. With its original design and
numerous innovative ideas, the Microbus harks back to a great tradition,
starting in 1950 with the first VW bus. This Volkswagen was successful
worldwide and reached cult status, especially in the USA, with the name
Microbus. This design study redefines this cult with an up-to-date
expression of personality and freedom.
Five metre long Microbus as Volkswagen design study for the US market
With the background of the legendary first generation of VW buses, the
design of which is even today as well known and well loved as that of the
Beetle and the New Beetle, the designers didnt want to run the risk of
merely copying the old bus style. The aim was to create another Volkswagen
original, which was to pay homage to a great history in its own
independent visionary way. The innovative Californian design team has
succeeded in doing just this. No decision has been made concerning putting
the Microbus into series production.
The exterior: The Volkswagen designers created a vehicle
which was a conscious new interpretation of the style elements of past VW
Bus generations. The very short body overhangs are reminiscent of the
first VW bus, officially called the T1. However it differs from the
classic bus in its exterior dimensions: The Microbus is over 4.7 metres
long, and both higher and wider than 1.9 metres. That means that the
design study is approximately equivalent in size to the VW Bus T4, which
is sold in the USA as the EuroVan.
The front end: This becomes very obvious at the front end
with its striking bonnet. It maintains one characteristic of the classic
T1 but underneath it, as with all modern Volkswagen vehicles, is a
front-mounted engine, in this case a 3.2 litre V6 engine with 170kW / 231
bhp power output. The new interpretation becomes clearer when one looks at
the connection between the bonnet and the voluminous bumper and the flat
double xenon headlights and the windscreen. The design in this area
documents the exciting spectrum of the modern Volkswagen design: it
maintains tradition, but points towards consistently new, innovative and
independent characteristics at the same time.
This independence is demonstrated on the Microbus by the particularly
thin-line xenon headlights with their typical clear glass optics. They are
a stylistic counter-point to the rounded headlights of the first VW Bus
generation and thus look to the future.
The side body: The side body of the design study is
characterised by the concept of the windows and an additional side window
in front of the A-pillar, powerful D-pillars with integrated glass slits
and large sliding doors. These doors open and close electronically at the
push of a button. The emphasis on the powerful wheel arches ensures that
the vehicle has a dynamic appearance. They provide the space for the
specially developed 20" alloy wheels with 245/45 R 20 tires.
The rear end: A further demonstration of the independence
of Volkswagen design can be seen at the rear end of the vehicle. The
design is both clear and functional, but the emotional form language is,
however, continued. The flat rear lights correspond in design to the front
headlights. From this perspective, the wide track and tires have a
particularly dynamic effect. As a conscious element of the design, the
large VW symbol dominates the large tailgate as it does the front end.
The colours: The colour concept "Biosphere" was
developed for the design study. The two colour combination the darker
"Elm green" in the lower area and the lighter "Elm green
pearl" in the upper area document the inner values of the design
study to the outside: friendly, light and communicative.
The interior represents a new dimension for comfort
The interior As soon as the doors open on the Microbus, one can see an
interior, which both visually and technically shows the perspectives for
the Van of tomorrow. Large lights integrated into the roof area create a
friendly and light atmosphere. A particularly interesting solution was
found by the development team for the floor of the interior. It is made of
a semi-transparent material with a geometric pattern. The defining
feature: A layer of aluminium is fitted underneath this material
(urethane) and this shines through, harmonising perfectly with the other
The instruments: A progressive concept is also
characteristic of the instruments: The dash panel base has an asymmetric
design. It comes further forward near the driver, thus optimising the
feeling of space. The circular instruments with an analogue tachometer and
digital additional information as well as the gear stick integrated into
the instrument panel are particularly striking. Using this joystick, the
five speed automatic gearbox with tiptronic function can be shifted either
fully automatically or manually. The advantages of the layout of the
instruments: The gear stick does not prevent the driver or front passenger
from getting through to the other passengers while taking a break from
The seating concept: The Microbus has three rows of seats
which are covered in a high-quality nappa leather in the colours
"Cotton White" (seat surfaces) and "Elm Olive" (side
trims). The middle centre seats can be turned through 180 degrees and the
third row has been designed as a bench seat with two individual contoured
seats. A rail system makes a multi-variable layout of the two rear rows
All passengers have the protection of an integral seat belt; the belts
have an ideal and independent belt guide through points in the roof
pillars. The electrical seat adjustment has been redesigned with a new
layout: the round switch unit is located on the outer side of the seat
underneath the seat surface. The seat can be shifted up, down, to the
front or back by simply pressing on the desired axis on the round button.
The information systems: Intelligent features such as
these are characteristic of many features in the interior. The Microbus
can, for example, be transformed into a veritable car cinema: The
appropriate visual images are provided by a seven-inch screen in 16:9
format in the centre console, four large monitors in the backrests of the
first and second rows as well as two extendable displays between the
second and third rows. The latter are located in the rear bench. When the
construction is pulled out to the first stage it can be used as a
conventional table in the conference layout of the two rear rows of seats.
In the second stage, a display is made visible on both sides when the
table is moved to a vertical position.
A second seven-inch screen provides a view of what is behind the vehicle.
The Microbus has a so-called backeye camera. Along with both the exterior
mirrors, this provides a comprehensive view of what is behind the vehicle.
The monitor is located in the roof in the exact position where the
interior mirror would otherwise be located so that the driver does not
have to change their automatic responses when driving. The system also
warns the driver via spoken warnings when parking that they might be
getting too close to an unwanted bump.
The technology of the Microbus is not based on any of the Volkswagens
currently on offer; the floor assembly, for example, corresponds to that
of a future vehicle generation. A further development can also be seen in
the compact 3.2-litre V6 engine with 320 Newton metres.
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