Although this is (mostly) a car-focused website, I still maintain that motorcycles are one of the coolest vehicles ever invented. The mean looks of a sports bike, the thrill of being so exposed; there’s not a day in life where I don’t envy those who can ride – not that I can’t fix this “problem”, but that’s besides the point. Anyway, imagine my disappointment when I found out that the new Suzuki Misano, a car that’s inspired by motorcycles, is a not-for-sale concept.
The Suzuki Misano is a thesis project by 24 master’s students at the Istituto Europeo di Design (IED) in Turin, made in collaboration with the Japanese carmaker. It’s inspired by Suzuki’s celebrated history of making fun things on two and four wheels, and it even shows it in the name – ‘Misano’ comes from the Misano circuit in Italy, famous for its MotoGP races – a sport which Suzuki still actively competes in.
The design brief of the project simply reads “La Dolce Vita X Way of Life”, and it’s a miracle what designers can think of from just a single, somewhat meaningless sentence like that. I mean, just take a look at the result – a stunning open-top roadster, or as the press release calls it, a modern reinterpretation of the classic barchetta.
Refreshingly, the styling of the Misano is surprisingly simple and timeless for a concept vehicle, clearly not trying to overcomplicate things – there’s nothing groundbreaking here, but maybe that’s why it works so well.
From the side, it’s essentially just a basic wedge silhouette, with a tiny windscreen and a roll hoop sticking out the top. Pair that to the unique purple hue and bronze accents, and you’ve got yourself a car that’ll look good for many years to come.
But what makes the Misano truly special are its motorcycle-inspired touches. The passenger sits in tandem with the driver on the left side of the car, and there’s also a window on the door – just like the McLaren Senna – to give you the sensation of the open roads zooming by underneath you, as one would feel when riding a bike.
Adding to the effect, the Suzuki Misano also ditches the regular steering wheel for a “motorcycle-inspired control stick” – we’re not too sure what that means exactly, but we’d imagine an actual bike handle-bar would probably be too awkward in the compact cockpit.
Because this is just a design project, powertrain details aren’t exactly the focus here. But, the press release did suggest that it’ll be an EV, as one would these days; it’s just a shame that they didn’t take the opportunity to stick a superbike engine in there, as they did with the GSX-R/4 Concept from way back – that would’ve felt right, wouldn’t it?
Alas, it wouldn’t have mattered anyway, because just like most concepts, something as out-of-the-world as this would realistically never make it into production. At least, it shows that Suzuki still knows how to have a bit of fun; we’re just jealous we’ll never get to drive it.