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Clemson Students Build Deep Orange 4 : News

What happens when a BMW X4 is possessed by the cursed spirit of a GMC Envoy XUV? For the Clemson University students who turned such forbidden thoughts into reality, the result is a pretty rad Bimmer with which to haul funky topiaries.

Dubbed Deep Orange 4, it was built by graduate students in the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research as a joint project between BMW and the nation’s only automotive-engineering graduate department. But this X4 isn’t actually an X4—the project is based on an X3. Work started in 2011, which means the students essentially envisioned the X4 years before BMW introduced it at the New York auto show this past April.

But this is way more than a simple chop job: The team actually thought like automotive product planners, conducting studies, doing market research, and most important, working up a plan showing how such a niche product could be made profitably. As you may have surmised from its name, this concept is the school’s fourth; the previous one was a running, all-wheel-drive plug-in hybrid Mazda on a custom chassis—with a manual transmission, no less—so these aren’t kids playing on computers. They have also built a plug-in-hybrid 1-series.

Deep Orange 4 is covered in a matte-orange wrap to rep Clemson’s primary school color, and it does a handy impression of an X4—right until the tailgate splits into two doors below the sloping glass hatch. From there, a power sliding glass roof section slips under the stock panoramic moonroof to reveal an open-air cargo bay that has been waterproofed and finished with wood. A second sliding window behind the rear seats brings a sort of Chevrolet Avalanche vibe, enclosing the cabin. This window can also fold flat with the seats. The custom roof was fully fabricated from the B-pillars back from 3-D plastic in an example of what the industry calls “rapid prototyping.” We really dig the bronze trim inside, too.

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Sources : Deep Orange 4 Photo | Deep Orange 4 Article


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