Tourist coach unites Italian design with Chinese bus making.
Over the years, Italian design house Pininfarina has graced us with some truly beautiful automotive art. Aside from some less-desirable looking vehicles (we're looking at you, Hyundai Matrix) sports cars such as the Lancia Scorpion and Ferrari 330 America starting out life as sketches on a Pininfarina page. Ferrari's F12Berlinetta, the predecessor to the 812 Superfast, was also styled as part of a Pininfarina collaboration.
The design house's latest creation, however, is far from sporty. Chinese bus maker Asiastar commissioned the design firm to style their latest tourist coach, the high-end X9-3. Despite the obvious constraints that come with the practical shape of a bus, Pininfarina has managed to come up with a rather appealing commercial vehicle.
The modern and dynamic exterior was achieved by giving the X9-3 a large frontal glass area that flows into the side of the bus. Pininfarina notes the aluminum blades located on either side of the tourist coach lend it a dynamic and luxurious feeling. Round back, the expansive glass area flows seamlessly into black painted body panels, giving the illusion of a floating roofline. This isn't the Cambiano-based firm's first attempt at a commercial vehicle. The company has a rich history filled with high-speed trains, buses, and even trucks.
With state-of-the-art technology and a sumptuous passenger area, Asiastar's aim with the X9-3 is to convince people to leave their cars at home and use the plush bus to travel on their holidays. A minimalistic interior - replete with slim, seatbelt-equipped seating - promises to provide a refreshing feel to passengers.
The driver hasn't been forgotten, though. With comfort and safety in mind, the dashboard has a modern, wraparound design which, says Asiastar, is "fully optimized".
Asiastar's general manager, Jia Kaiqian, notes the "new bus is targeted at the domestic high-end tourism market and overseas high-end market and represents a brand new platform for Asiastar Bus' high-end tourism buses. This new vehicle was developed in cooperation with well-known design house Pininfarina over a period of two and a half years. The styling and interior give a refreshing feeling, and the quality and performance of the product [have] been taken to a new level."
Asiastar hasn't made mention of what motor the X9-3 is running, although it's likely to be powered by a turbodiesel if the rev counter is anything to go by. The idea of an electric powertrain shouldn't be cast aside, though. London's latest fleet of iconic double-decker buses is being trialed with battery power, with several examples silently roaming the streets. Should an electric-powered option become a reality, it would undoubtedly need incredibly large batteries to cover the distances tour buses usually cover.