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Magna Steyr Revolutionizes Convertible Tops

Magna Steyr Fahrzeugtechnik AG & Co KG, now known simply as Magna Steyr, showcased at the Geneva 2007 Motor Show perhaps the greatest breakthrough thus far in retractable hardtops. This was the principal attraction of the Mila Future Concept, really just a chassis that could take on four body configurations and be licensed to interested carmakers.

Magna Steyr demonstrated real design genius in neatly solving a longstanding problem of convertible makers: how to fold away a hardtop without creating an unsightly bulge (and ruining the classic coupé profile) atop the boot or taking up to half the luggage compartment. In addition to the disagreeable aesthetic effect, the orthodox solution of tucking the roof into a rear deck cover had always called for additional motors.


For the Ferrari Superamerica, design house Fioravanti hit on an inventive answer: make the hard top roof flip or rotate clockwise until it came to rest on the rear deck lid.

Headquartered in Oberwaltersdorf near Graz, Austria, Magna Steyr is an engineering house, component maker and contract vehicle manufacturer for such models as the BMW X3, the Chrysler Voyager and 300/300C, the Jeep Commander and Grand Cherokee, Mercedes-Benz’ E-Class 4MATIC and G-Class, and the Saab 9-3 Cabrio.

The Magna Steyr solution is a retractable top made up of just two parts: the hard top roof itself and a deck lid that integrates the rollover pillars and a moveable rear window. Built into the B pillar are all the hydraulic cylinders and suspension links required to raise the roof, elevate the deck lid in a forward direction and tuck the roof under that.

Two elements make the Magna Steyr Mila unique. First is the design of the slanted B and C pillars. These are integrated into the rear deck lid and are strong enough to serve as roll bars when the top is down. Even better, their sloping shape and integrated triangular windows make for a distinctive look on the road.

Second, and the really exciting element here, is that the entire system has four possible configurations:

• Coupé – With the roof in place and the pillars conforming to the classic aerodynamic slanted shape, the Mila conforms to the vibrant design two-seater sedan owners have come to expect. All the trunk space is available for use even as passengers are fully protected from airflow, sun, snow and rain.

• Targa/”Copster” – Retracting the roof while keeping the rear window in place combines the feeling of a coupé and roadster. While enjoying the freedom of open-air driving, one still feels protected by the raised window and pillars that remain in place. In addition, the raised rear window acts as a wind deflector.

• Landaulet – The Mila Future lets one lower the window while keeping the roof in place. A throwback to the carriages of old that had two-part folding tops, this configuration lets one take in the scents and atmosphere of a country road while remaining protected from the elements.

• Full convertible/Roadster – With the rear window lowered and the roof out of the way, the Mila Future is every bit the roadster that two passengers could hope for. The B and C pillars remain in place, providing good rollover protection and a distinctive look. Consequently, useable trunk space is about 20% roomier than in traditional systems.

In the Mila Future concept design, all in all, Magna Steyr arrived at an elegant solution to the challenge of maximizing useable trunk space when the car owner wishes to drive with the hard top roof down. Car makers that license the design will get a distinctive roadster profile and three more configuration options.





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