Last year Porsche brought a gaggle of concepts out from design studio obscurity into public view and a book called “Unseen.” The Vision Renndienst concept was among them, the minivan being an updated take on the vintage Volkswagen Type 1 race service van that toiled for the Porsche racing team in the 1950s (Renndienst means “race service”). The concept didn’t reveal its interior, but a peek through the rendering’s tinted window revealed what looked like seating for five or six, one of those seats placed along the centerline. Porsche told Autoblog at the time the company is all about sports cars, so “the minivan concept … is not our plan at all.” Nevertheless, of all the concepts in the book, Porsche decided to dedicate three of its finest design minds to creating “the interior of the future” for this one.
Porsche design chief Michael Mauer, head of interior design Markus Auerbach, and Ivo van Hulten, director of user experience design, collaborated on imagining what the minivan driver of the future will need. This being Porsche, naturally this minivan driver still enjoys a romp on some twisty B-roads, so the captain’s quarters is a single seat in the middle of the cockpit. Behind, two ergonomic bucket seats flank the driver, giving those occupants unobstructed views out the windshield, and views of two retractable screens hanging just below the instrument panel assuming the occupants have raptor-like vision.
In the back, a bench seat spans the width of the minivan, curving at the edges along the wall. There doesn’t look to be much room between the back bench and the rear hatch, so the six-seat cabin is probably still best for race services like getting team drivers and VIPs from hotel to track. That captain’s chair in the front can rotate 180 degrees to face the rest of the occupants, perfect for a track-side confab in a private, mobile office.
The exterior (the white van in the gallery above) has been tweaked a touch from the original images (the red van in the gallery below), with new headlights and doors with a different opening mechanism. Oddly, the exterior renderings omit windows except those for the driver, but the interior views show a large window next to the passengers on the right side of the van. There’s also a giant skylight to keep the cabin from becoming a penalty box.
Porsche’s apparently not done with the Renndienst, either. No one’s going to be happy until we get a useful impression of the K.I.T.T. from Knight Rider, UX designer van Hulten saying the talking Pontiac fascinated him as a kid. “I connected with the car because it had a soul. What kind of daily interactions do we plan — in 30 years, will we call our car and then it will come around and pick us up?” Stay tuned for a year from now when the Vision Renndienst achieves sentience and utters its first words, “Don’t touch Turbo Boost. Something tells me you shouldn’t touch Turbo Boost.”