21st Century : Cars : SEAT Salsa Emocion
The Seat Salsa emoción is a concept car, but not an impossible dream. In fact, the engineers at the Martorell Technical Centre have concentrated their efforts in defining a viable proposal, even more realistic and feasible than its forerunner, the Salsa, first of its kind for its new concept in automobile adaptation, called MDC (Multi Driving Concept), which was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show.
This system enables the driver of the Seat Salsa emoción to choose between three distinct driving environments, differing from the previous Salsa in that not only the interior appearance and information display on the instrument panel change, but the physical aspect (for street, sport or off-road driving) is modified by activating a switch located on the floating central console that separates the front seats.
The main differences from the original Salsa is that the new all-road version is wider (109 mm), higher (142 mm, MDC in Street mode) and sturdier looking (89 mm on the front track and 80 mm on the rear), fitted with wider tyres that are adaptable to mixed driving. Also, the more prominent bumpers and mudguards, triangular head and tail lamp units, double exhaust pipe integrated in the rear bumper and the characteristic golden colour are what set the Seat Salsa emocion apart from its predecessor.
On the rounded front end, with a larger central grille and aligning gas headlamps, there is no bonnet for direct access to the engine, and any routine maintenance operations (oil and water level checks) can be carried out through easily accessible openings: the windscreen wipers (activated automatically by rain sensors) are hidden in the front pillars to avoid aerodynamic turbulence, and at the rear end, the spoiler protruding off the edge of the roof houses an LED third brake light and a rear view video camera.
Behind the number plate there is a winch in case (anything is possible) the Salsa emoción comes up against an obstacle or gets stuck in deep mud.
The underside has also been equipped for driving in off-road conditions, with large protective plates and shields covering the engine and transmission.
Another noteworthy aspect on this Salsa emoción are the head lamps and tail lamps. Besides sporting a daring new design, they incorporate state-of-the-art technology. Both lamps are intelligent, self adjusting to the driving conditions by varying their intensity according to street or motorway driving or adverse weather conditions.
But the tail lamps go one step further. They do not have selected areas for their different functions, so according to the specific need, the same area can be used for signalling, park position or even reverse. To achieve this, the main element of the tail lamp is shaped on a structure that mimics the head of a sunflower, which in turn is made up of several tiny light sources. Through a system of rotating filters, the colour of the light changes according to the function they have to carry out.
Two large doors with a self-stopping opening mechanism give access to a spacious passenger compartment that seats four comfortably. The large tailgate, with one central, gas activated piston joint, gives easy access to the luggage compartment behind the rear seats, whose backs can be folded flush with the floor, creating an uncluttered, versatile cargo area. Carefully machined grooves running lengthwise, conceived to insert luggage and sports equipment anchoring straps, for the moment secure two folding micro scooters that are part of the equipment of the Salsa emoción.
The feeling of spaciousness and light is heightened by the absence of central pillars and suggestive, clean lines, but in the design study nothing has been left to chance. Forming a sturdy floating transverse bridge, the dashboard design eliminates the unnecessary tray that extends to the base of the windscreen, so the visible heater is the only element that connects the passenger compartment and engine housing. The climatised air is blown into the dashboard module and is distributed throughout the passenger compartment indirectly (without vents), providing a climatised interior.
All the conventional and digital information providing instruments and controls are protected behind a large bubble made of translucent material on which all information concerning climatisation, audio, telephone and navigation is projected from the rear, and whose control is carried out through a simple, round multifunction winding control and four directly accessible buttons for volume and temperature control. In the centre of the instrument panel there is a cellular phone connection, enabling information via Internet to be sent and received. The installation can also accommodate MP3, WAP and UMTS technology.
This same control is also located on the steering wheel, next to the sequential change buttons. Furthermore, the variable instrument panel has three dials that rotate like a telephone dial, appearing according to the chosen driving mode. In the Street mode, only the speedometer and revolution counter are visible, in the Off-Road mode, only the central dial, which includes a compass, altimeter and inclination reading appear, and the Sport mode features all three dials.
Between the front seats, the floating central console houses the swivel MDC selector control of the three driving functions, next to the power window and exterior rear view mirror controls, and the ignition.
Between the rear seats, the central module incorporates two cup holders with taps to serve water (from a refrigerated tank with 0.5 litre capacity).
Keeping in mind the conditions it will be put through, the interior of the Salsa emocion has been designed to withstand demanding tests, and extensively uses waterproof materials. Besides the non-slip rubber floor mats (there is no carpeting), panel, door and luggage compartment trim features plastics resistant yet soft to the touch. Furthermore, the seats are upholstered and the steering wheel is wrapped with water resistant leather, and the bare panels have been painted in the same colour as the bodywork. These elements make cleaning the interior an easy task, by hosing it down, and on the floor there are plugs for easy draining.
Materials have been chosen with as much care as the design of the eventual production process. In this respect, parts manufacture and assembly, and paint (water-based), produce the lowest possible environmental impact, and the Seat Salsa emoción is almost 100% recyclable at the end of its road life.
The key to the emocion's road surface adaptability is its height-variable suspension depending on the selected driving environment: in Street mode, it is 240 mm off the ground: in Off Road it is 310 mm, 70 mm higher, the Sport mode sets it at an intermediate height. This control is activated by four gas pneumatic bellows, combined with front McPherson strut suspension and a multilink axle at the rear.
Street. In this position, the Salsa emocion is ideally suited for city driving: normal height, automatic gear change, power steering, wide angle rear view video, conventional instrument panel and street navigator. On the exterior, the radiator grille is open widest for maximum engine cooling in slow urban traffic conditions.
Sport. In this mode, the Salsa emocion adopts a conventional All Road configuration: higher suspension (the gas pneumatic system sets automatically in the intermediate position), and more complete information on the instrument panel, which features a central dial showing information on direction, altitude and lateral incline, that complements the GPS navigator system.
Off Road. With this function, the Salsa emocion features its most adventurous behaviour. Only the compass on the central dial appears: the suspension adjusts to its highest position, and on the front end, sliding panels reduce the radiator grille opening, protecting it from rocks and branches. At the same time, side spotlights appear that facilitate night driving over abrupt terrain and winding roads. Furthermore, the exterior mirrors fold down and two video cameras go into operation, which are integrated in the mirror housing.
These cameras, which can be disassembled for autonomous use, are equipped with night vision, becoming the driver's eyes for "instrument driving" through the panel installed in the roof module. They can also be used as handheld video cameras to record the developments of each adventure on the DVD equipment.
The transmission is based on a design with hydromechanical connection and Haldex electronic control to guarantee a permanent distribution of progressive, precise force to all four wheels. And the driving force is a high performance engine, the well-known 2,791 cc V6, delivering 184 kW (250 hp) and an exceptional torque of 297 Nm at 3,200 rpm.
The five-speed automatic gearbox is equipped with a sequential Tiptronic change with the controls on the steering wheel. The advantage of this system is its tremendous adaptability to any type of driving. The torque converter allows a controlled slip from a low rpm and at low speed, making a reducer box unnecessary. In this sense, the Salsa emocion enjoys enviable traction, controlled by the EDS system (this device combines with the ABS sensors, which brake any individual wheel that begins to skid, resulting in the effect of an efficient self-locking differential). Furthermore, the Tiptronic function gives the driver increased participation in the task of driving by allowing him to manually select the gears.
Efficiency means active safety at the same time, and the Salsa emocion is equipped with everything you would expect from an advanced car. The ABS and EDS systems are interrelated with the stability control ESP, which helps maintain the bearing of the car on a paved surface by checking any unexpected wheel spin reaction in milliseconds. And the TCS traction control prevents any excess, reducing engine power when the other systems are not enough, avoiding unnecessary skidding and consequent loss of road grip, furnished by 225/55 R18 tyres on enormous, polished aluminium rims.
The Salsa emocion is the ultimate solution for a truly multifunctional vehicle, able to give smooth road driving (with a maximum speed of 233 km/h and acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in only 7.9 seconds) and exceptional 4x4 qualities for safe driving in any condition.
The Seat Website