Lancia Dialogos

Lancia Dialogos (1998)

The Dialogos large sedan, in terms of some styling aspects, is said to point the way toward future Lancia production models. It features some advanced design thinking and technology, with frontal styling, in particular, that harks back to Lancias of the 1950s such as the Auerilia GT coupe. Some five meters long, the Dialogos has no central pillar and the rear doors open backwards, as did Lancia sedans of the 1950s. It is understood, however, that it can meet current crash test requirements. The front seats swivel through 90° to help access (they also have a 180° facility, and can be placed together to form a sofa). All seats are trimmed in nabuk, similar to chamois leather.

Two screens are fitted in the back of the front seats. The dashboard and some other areas use a thin film of softwood bonded to a layer of resin and foam; the result is deformable to finger pressure. An “Ego Card,” a personal electronic key, allows the car to adapt to an individual’s needs—rather like a seat-memory system. But it also covers climate control, and even steering-wheel and pedal position. The driver’s door opens on his or her approach. Instead of conventional seats, the Dialogos has armchairs that mold to an individual’s body. The dashboard has three screens, with screen information and cruise control (intelligent, using anti-collision radar) activated via a joystick.

Suspension settings, drive-torque distribution (to both axles), and such things as oversteer, are driver selectable. TV cameras look after rear vision. The system warns the driver of overtaking vehicles. Headlights are adaptive, the beam changing direction, intensity, divergence, and pattern according to speed, proximity of other cars, and ambient weather conditions.

Interior equipment includes voice control for many systems. The steering wheel is in the center of the car to allow easy entrance. Hinged at its base, it can be moved right or left, with the instrument panel moving in relation to it. If the driver allows the car to cross lane dividers unintentionally, the steering-wheel rim vibrates and an acoustic signal sounds.

The Dialogos has multilink suspension front and rear. Main feature of the front suspension is its virtual steering axis says Lancia. The steering axis passes through the center of the wheel, so obstacles such as potholes or uneven surfaces do not cause the wheel to vibrate or turn. The device ensures that steering is unaffected when the active differential applies different pulling forces to both half-axles for increased stability. This suspension architecture also ensures high longitudinal stability and reduces vibrations from the road surface to improve car handling. One of the most innovative features of the multilink rear suspension is its virtual pitch center. When riding over an obstacle, the wheel moves back to reduce interference transmitted to the body.