Tag: Design

By on June 19, 2017

2018 Cadillac XTS, Image: General Motors

Thanks to China’s media, as well as General Motors’ aggressive pursuit of new buyers in that populous, prestige-seeking country, we’ve already seen the facelifted 2018 XTS sedan. The Chinese market model appeared a month ago, powered by a downsized motor you won’t find in U.S. variants.

Despite this, the refreshed XTS is now official. Cadillac has released details and photos of a model that wasn’t supposed to have a second act — until it realized you don’t drop a vehicle with steady sales, no matter how outdated it may appear. Say hello to Cadillac’s front-drive full-sizer, now gussied up to look like Cadillac’s rear-drive full-sizer. (Read More…)

By on June 15, 2017

2018 Lincoln MKC , Image: © 2017 Spiedbilde/The Truth About Carse

Lincoln’s littlest utility vehicle, the MKC, always risked being overshadowed by the larger offerings emanating from the resurgent luxury brand. That doesn’t mean it’s forgotten — either by the buying public or its builder.

The four-cylinder-only MKC went on sale in May 2014 as a 2015 model, heralding a new, decidedly non-Ford-like design direction for the brand’s utility vehicles. Sporting a toned-down version of the whale-like corporate split grille, the little utility was Lincoln’s first attempt to tap into the growing compact luxury CUV market. No longer was a Lincoln utility just a warmed-over Ford with a revised face and taillights.

Now that Lincoln’s moving away from the whale look, the 2018 MKC, judging by these spy photos, will follow the brand’s recent “Make like Continental!” design philosophy. (Read More…)

By on June 15, 2017

Image: 2017 Rolls-Royce Sweptail, image via Rolls-Royce

Sweeping fender flares sculpted by hand, luggage trunks affixed to the rear by the help, and huge headlamps housed in metal spheres. These details come to mind when considering the old era of coachbuilding. Grand vehicles reflected personal touches and design cues requested by the customer, which the coachbuilder was all too happy to include in the vehicle in exchange for large sums of money.

This tradition is alive and well today at Rolls-Royce, which recently debuted a one-off bespoke coupe for an unnamed customer of taste and subtlety in design.

I present to you the Sweptail.

(Read More…)

By on May 25, 2017

 

BMW Concept 8 Series

If your 7 Series has friends and club patrons pretending not to know you, BMW has the answer: its upcoming, resurrected 8 Series. Once again, BMW has decided to carve out some space at the top of its model range, this time to rebuff efforts by Mercedes-Benz to lure buyers in the six-figure luxury market.

It’s big, it’s long, it’s expensive, and it’s…a concept. While buyers can expect some deviations between the BMW Concept 8 Series premiering at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este and the final production model, this vehicle seems pretty fleshed out. Also, unlike such styling efforts as the Buick Avista, this vehicle will actually see production. (Read More…)

By on May 15, 2017

[Image: Autohome.com.cn]

The crossover is king and Cadillac doesn’t have nearly enough of them. As it works to correct that problem, the automaker hasn’t completely forgotten about the segment that once made it the first name in American automotive opulence.

As many of its models are now global, it’s not surprising our first view of the refreshed Cadillac XTS front-wheel-drive sedan hails from China — General Motors’ main growth engine. (Read More…)

By on May 12, 2017

1979 Lincoln Continental Collector's Series with Tom Selleck,Image: Old Car Brochures

TTAC Commentator Towncar writes:

I have some piddling little aggravations and head-scratchers, and it appears those serve to entertain the B&B as well as anything.

  1. Black Pillars: When and why did the black B-pillar take over the world? Presumably it’s to make you think it’s not there and the car’s a hardtop, but there’s never been a single case where that worked — not one. Even on a black car, the finish is sufficiently different that you can tell the pillar is present.
  2. Colors: Why are there no good interior colors anymore — red, blue, green? The only current one I know of, fairly recent, is the Rhapsody in Blue interior on the new Continental, and you have to buy the ultra-highline Black Label edition to get it. Which brings up the question: why do so few interiors really match anymore? It used to be that two-tone interiors looked designed that way, but now they just seem to have been put together from parts for different cars.
  3. Gas Fillers: Have any of the fool engineers who put gas fillers on the passenger’s side ever tested this concept out by going through a gas line backwards? (By the way, this pertains to the G6 convertible you advised me to buy about four years ago, and belated thanks, it’s generally great.)
  4. Wipers: Why has the old-fashioned opposed (clap hands) style come back of late years? I saw some kind of little Ford with this lately, and I think a Honda or two. And pertaining to the newer parallel style, what determines which side the wipers “point” to?  It’s almost always the passenger’s, but I can think of two cars having them point the other way — the suicide-door Continentals of the ’60s and the Avanti. Why?
  5. TPMS: OK, this is actually semi-serious. How good are these things? The G6’s dash display gives pressures, but seldom agrees with my trusty tire gauge at the best of times, and changes in temperature and even bumps in the road sometimes trigger the warning light. Can the sensors be adjusted and/or calibrated for accuracy? And are the retrofit kits you can buy for older cars any good?

(Read More…)

By on April 10, 2017

[Image: Lincoln/Twitter]

“We like to think some things are worth the wait,” tweeted Lincoln Motor Company this morning.

Ford’s premium division had a reason to be cheeky when it teased the backlit face of its next-generation full-size SUV, as the Navigator hasn’t seen a full redesign in 11 long years. That’s an eternity in the automotive world.

When the current-generation Navigator began production in August of 2006, Twitter was a month old, the American job scene and housing market seemed sturdy, and Pontiac, Saturn and Hummer were looking forward to long, happy futures. So, this week’s New York International Auto Show should be quite the momentous occasion for the resurgent automaker. (Read More…)

By on April 10, 2017

ROLLS-ROYCE WRAITH AT THE GOODWOOD FESTIVAL OF SPEED 2015, Image: Rolls-Royce

Three and a half years ago, I found myself blitzing down Wilshire Boulevard behind the wheel of what was then the only Rolls-Royce Wraith in the country. There was much to admire about the car: the saturnine (as in Saturn V, not the dour deity) thrust of the blown V-12, the transcendent sound system, the Starlight Headliner that makes every late-night date a romantic one. Truth be told, I expected all of that. What I did not expect was to be utterly smitten by the Wraith’s two-tone paintjob.

What was the last mass-market passenger car to be sold in the United States with an optional two-color finish? Don’t tell me that it was the ’90s Explorer Eddie Bauer, because I don’t want to think about that despicable slug of a trucklet. Perhaps it was the ’80s Town Car? The bustleback Seville? And could two-tone paint jobs ever make a comeback? I think they might, and I’ll tell you why.

(Read More…)

By on April 8, 2017

[Image: Infiniti]

There’s no debating this. The Infiniti QX80 isn’t just the most overdone vehicle in the full-size SUV segment — it may be the most ungainly looking utility vehicle on the market today.

Oddly proportioned and baroque, Infiniti’s flagship is an affront to the eyes when contrasted with the crisp, creased and traditionally boxy silhouette of, say, the Cadillac Escalade. Well, not for long. (Read More…)

By on April 6, 2017

2018 Subaru Outback, Image: Subaru

It’s just slightly easier to notice the changes made to Subaru’s 2018 Outback compared to, say, next year’s radically refreshed Mitsubishi Outlander Sport.

Though subtle, the Outback’s 2018 styling tweaks brings the all-wheel-drive wagon’s design more in line with its corporate siblings, each of which tries to emulate the brand’s endless parade of Viziv concepts. If you were hoping for a power boost from the vehicle’s stalwart 2.5-liter flat-four, well, dream on. (Read More…)

By on April 5, 2017

2018 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

Sit back and place a nitroglycerine pill under your tongue. It’s product announcement time.

As it revamps its utility vehicle lineup, Mitsubishi isn’t letting the looming introduction of the poorly named Eclipse Cross compact crossover stop it from foisting attention upon its existing products. To keep things fresh, the automaker plans to revamp its very own Eclipse Cross competitor — the Outlander Sport — for 2018.

So, say goodbye to the aging model you see above. Wait — hold on. That is the 2018 model. (Read More…)

By on April 5, 2017

2018 Chevrolet Equinox Redline Edition - Image: GM

After a long eight-year run for the second-generation Chevrolet Equinox, General Motors finally dropped the third-generation 2018 Chevrolet Equinox in September 2016. The 2018 Chevrolet Equinox might not be your cup of tea — I like the look, and the diesel option — but we learned late last month that it could have been downright awful.

How bad was it? It looked too bulky, too odd, too underwhelming, according to focus groups. The Equinox’s chief engineer, Mark Cieslak, said, “What we have on paper we felt was not going to win.”

So GM went back to the drawing board.

But seriously, how bad was it? We want to know, as does Autoweek, which tweeted last Saturday, “We really want to see what the abandoned version looked like.”

GM’s executive vice president for global product development, the Twitter-affable Mark Reuss, responded just 10 minutes later. And, uh, my guess is they really don’t want us to see the first third-gen Equinox. (Read More…)

By on March 31, 2017

2017 Jeep Wrangler boasts LED headlamps.

As Jeep super fans nervously await the official reveal of the next-generation Wrangler, images posted online suggest that deeply held fears of an unforgivably altered 2018 model might come to nothing.

Two images appeared on JL Wrangler Forums this week, claiming to show a 2018 Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon. While the site’s administration says the images are confirmed to be authentic, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles hasn’t made a statement backing that up. So, we’re left looking at what could very well be the next Wrangler.

Several changes immediately catch the eye. (Read More…)

By on March 29, 2017

toyota-ft-4x-teaser-0

Four words. That’s the extent of the details dropped by Toyota today, along with a picture that displays not quite an entire wheel. Perhaps the automaker should take a page from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and release 397 feature-length films about each of the mystery vehicle’s components.

The four words and one picture depict the upcoming FT-4X, a Toyota concept bound for a New York Auto Show unveiling on April 12. From the few clues we have, this concept — in Toyotaland, “FT” prefixes mean “future Toyota” — should boast some measure of off-roading bona fides, possibly enough to make Jeep worried. (Read More…)

By on March 28, 2017

Refreshed 2018 Acura TLX to Make World Debut

Slowly but surely, the inhabitants of the Acura stable are dropping the toned-down version of the brand’s polarizing “shield” grille in favor of the far more appealing “diamond pentagon” mouth.

That grille debuted on Acura’s Precision concept car before appearing on the redesigned 2017 MDX. Now, it’s the TLX sedan’s turn for plastic surgery. The automaker promises a refreshed and shieldless TLX at the New York International Auto Show on April 11, hoping that a new face might turn the tide on the midsize sedan’s flagging fortunes. (Read More…)

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