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The Isabella is perhaps the only Borgward model that those enthusiasts who know Borgward can readily name, so it was only a matter of time that the reborn brand cashed in on its most recognizable nameplate. Borgward, which was brought out of a carbonite freeze of more than 50 years thanks to Chinese funds, kicked off the lineup with a fairly tame-looking SUV in 2015 that immediately invited comparisons to some Audi models, but it will take more than SUVs to get the marque really going again.

Borgward debuted the Isabella concept “coupe” at the Frankfurt motor show this week, a coupe that you’ll immediately note has four doors. Those four doors slide to the front and rear of the car, revealing a futuristic interior with overlapping touchscreens occupying the center stack and the console. The exterior is equally loud, with a sleek front fascia that may remind some of the modern Alpine. The rear fascia is far busier and does not look like anything on the market today, which is much of the point of this design exercise.

“The carefully coordinated body shape with its smooth transitions creates a perfect balance between rounded organic shapes and precise lines. Our aim was to create stylistic synergies between beauty and technology,” said Anders Warming, member of the board of management and chief design officer of Borgward Group AG.

“Aerodynamic excellence and efficiency play a key role in this vehicle and define its flowing shapes,” Warming added. “We are convinced that a vehicle body through and around which air flows in a perfect way must radiate accessibility, appeal and a commanding presence. This is fully in line with the ‘Impression of Flow’ — our Borgward design principle for the electric mobility of the future.”

2017 Borgward Isabella concept rear

The Isabella is a four-door 2+2 coupe in concept form, with the company staying mum on details of its electric powertrain.

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But the design is not the entire point of the Isabella concept. It features an electric powertrain, even though the company shared no details about it. It’s not clear if this electric drive was created just for demonstration purposes or for the concept car to move around while being filmed, but the automaker is adamant that it intends to get into electric cars in the near future.

What are the chances of the Isabella going into production in some form? As a two-door coupe, its odds are not that great; coupes (or convertibles, for that matter) are a tiny blip on the radar in China. Its chances as a four-door sedan are far better — the pressure to churn out full-size executive sedans must already be great, given the Chinese market’s appetite for long-wheelbase everything.

Above all, the Isabella concept is a signal to other automakers (some of whom skipped Frankfurt entirely) that Borgward is alive and is starting to get serious. The automaker plans to bring its vehicles to Germany later this year ahead of the launch of a Bremen factory in 2019, where the original Borgward company got its start in the 1920s.

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