It's only appropriate that at the Geneva Motor Show, one automaker introduce the vehicular equivalent of a Swiss Army knife — and that the machine come from a corner of the Volkswagen empire.
Tucked among the 12 brands that VW owns — from Seat to Porsche to Bugatti — lies the Italdesign Giugiaro group, the design house that penned the first Golf. VW bought the firm in 2010, and since then it has been working on concepts that cut across the grain of the world's second-largest automaker. With the Italdesign Giugiaro Parcour — named for the French sport parkour — the designers appear to have attempted to build one scissor-doored vehicle that could serve as a desert racer, track-day star and composed luxury two-seater.
Powered by a rear-mounted, 550-hp V-10 from Lamborghini, the two-seat Parcour can hit 62 mph in 3.6 seconds and a top speed of 199 mph via its four-wheel-drive system. Inside is where the weird have turned pro: there's one knob and a single touchscreen below the dash for controlling all functions, including four drive settings for off-roading, icy roads, race tracks and everyday use. LEDs behind the Plexiglass dash change its color depending on the driving mode.
SUVs and sports cars have vastly different suspensions to tackle their roles, and it's here where the Parcour offers some useful innovation. Like the Lamborghini Aventador, the Parcour has a pushrod suspension, similar to that used in race cars. Unlike the Aventador and all other such cars, the Parcour swaps the vertical pushrod for a coil-over strut attached to the 22-inch wheels. In normal modes, only the vertical strut kicks in, but in off-road, both the vertical and horizontal struts at each wheel can be engaged, raising the Parcour's ride height from 8.2 inches to 13.7 inches.
If anything, the Parcour resembles Arizona's Local Motors Rally Fighter and a modern update of the AMC Eagle, the car that first put the idea of an everyday four-wheel-drive car into Americans' heads. This floor-wax-meets-dessert-topping of a concept will never see production; what it's meant to do more than climb every mountain is spark a reaction, inside and outside of VW. Based on what we've seen so far, by that measure the Parcour succeeds.