Tag: Styling

By on January 27, 2017

mercedes aesthetics a

Mercedes-Benz is giving the world an artful taste of its next generation of compact cars with its “Aesthetics A” design study. The updated design adopts a rounded, flowing look without the complete abandonment of hard edges. Benz claims the new aesthetic is the evolution of the current “Sensual Purity” design’s organic and tapered shapes. Great marketing, but it just makes the next design philosophy sound less intricate and involved. It sounds a little boring, although we won’t know for sure until we see a finished car.

In the abstract, however, the study hints at the general shape of eight new compact models coming from Benz over the next three years. The new A-Class, B-Class, GLA, and CLA will all be touched by the less curvaceous styling identity, which includes an imposing grille. A new compact sedan will arrive to rival Audi’s A3, along with an additional crossover to serve as an alternative to the GLA. All of the vehicles will make use of Benz’s modular front architecture platform (MFA) and move closer to in shape to company’s larger sedans.
(Read More…)

By on January 4, 2017

citroen-numero-9

Pininfarina SpA will be see Carlo Bonzanigo succeeding Fabio Filippini as the Italian styling firm’s reigning design director on January 9th.

Filippini’s decision to leave Pininfarina for “personal reasons” comes during a difficult time for the shop. While his responsibility for heading new projects is essentially over, he has promised to remain on board as a personal advisor to company CEO Silvio Angori, and will continue to provide oversight for old projects leading up to a concept car unveiling at March’s Geneva Auto Show. (Read More…)

By on October 7, 2016

Why Drive Honda When You Could Drive BMW?, Image: BMW of Sarasota

How ’bout that new Civic sedan? I don’t know about you, but I think it’s the boldest mainstream design I’ve seen from a Japanese manufacturer since Honda got rid of the hidden headlamps on the Accord back in ’92. It’s got a ton of surface texture, a vicious fastback profile with a tiny trunk opening, and big wheel arches like a show car.

There’s only one problem; it’s a clear and present riff on the Audi A7. But as we’ll see, this is a game Honda has played before.

(Read More…)

By on August 9, 2016

Hyundai Tucson, Image: Hyundai

Here’s something to depress our older readers: There is an entire generation of drivers that has never known a world without Lexus. Note that I did not say “Lexus and Infiniti.” The majority of American drivers probably have no idea Infiniti exists.

It wasn’t supposed to be that way. I was there at the start, working for a BMW dealer, and I can tell you that many people on the retail side of the business thought that Infiniti would prove to be just as successful as Lexus. Maybe more successful. All of the momentum seemed to be on Nissan’s side: They had the near-legendary Nissan Primera as Infiniti’s entry-level car, beloved of autowriters and cognoscenti everywhere. Toyota had a Camry with frameless windows. Infiniti had the mighty, dream-crushing Q45, which was as fast as a V12 Bimmer and styled from nose to tail in an original, tasteful, fake-wood-free fashion. Toyota had a store-brand copy of the S-Class.

It didn’t turn out that way, of course. We now live in a Lexus world. The brand is so strong that other brands, like Cadillac, obtain the bulk of their sales volume selling knockoff versions of the RX350. I don’t have access to hard numbers, but I would suspect that Lexus dealers are more profitable, per unit sold, than any other franchise south of, say, Porsche.

And where is Infiniti? Nowhere. Lost. Sinking. The reasons for the brand’s failure are too numerous to consider in a single article. But I’m going to discuss what I think might be the most important reason here, because it doesn’t just apply to Nissan’s boutique brand and it continues to affect everyone from Honda to Hyundai.

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By on July 16, 2016

2018 hyundai accent

It looks like the awkward years are over for the subcompact Hyundai Accent.

Our first glimpse of the next-generation Accent comes courtesy of leaked photos from China, where the model goes by the name Verna. In them, the Accent appears all grown up, adopting a large grille and styling reminiscent of its bigger brother, the Elantra. (Read More…)

By on June 7, 2016

7072

Jeremy writes:

I’d love to know your thoughts on the proliferation of plastic cladding on pretty much every CUV/SUV on sale today. I’ve noticed that pretty much everyone does it now – Toyota, Mazda, Ford, Jeep, BMW, Mercedes, Land Rover, the list goes on.

(Read More…)

By on June 1, 2016

mercedesbenz-12-1333727944

Joe writes:

Can you explain black plastic on cars? I saw an Audi Q7 with black plastic all over the bottom, but then a Q5 doesn’t have it. Sometimes the plastic isn’t black but color coded like an Eddie Bauer Ford or something else.

(Read More…)

By on May 27, 2016

2017 Subaru BRZ

Are modest improvements in looks and power enough to revive consumer interest in the Subaru BRZ? The automaker sure hopes so.

A host of small changes were just announced for the rear-drive coupe’s 2017 model year, which sees its sister car (the Scion FR-S Toyota 86) switch identities. Every change aims to nudge the BRZ closer to what the public feels it should be — a performance car worthy of special status. (Read More…)

By on May 27, 2016

2017 Volkswagen Beetle

The Volkswagen Beetle’s days are numbered, but at least it will go to its grave with updated looks.

Design changes are coming for the 2017 model, with a host of new trim lines on tap — in Europe, at least. Expect the updated model to be the resurrected nameplate’s last makeover, as production is said to end in late 2018. (Read More…)

By on May 20, 2016

2002 2

Just in time for the Concorso d’Eleganza at Villa d’este, BMW revealed a stunning concept today that is just magnificent. Unlike last year’s concept, the automaker chose to blend retro and contemporary styling cues to give every kidney grille fan a real treat.  (Read More…)

By on January 20, 2016

cover

One of my CCS Design professors had a saying: it’s all about Proportion, Proportion, Proportion. Just typing that makes me cringe. Perhaps it’s a popular phrase for car design wonks, or a riff from the restaurant business.

However, the theory is valid: Imagine if the Pontiac Aztek was proportioned a la Range Rover Evoque. It’s a fair notion. If that were the case, the Aztek may not have been bound for every “Top 100 Ugliest Cars” list since 2000.

Proving the theory is this 1988 Jaguar XJS. It’s a beautiful grand touring coupe because the proportions are right. (Read More…)

By on July 27, 2015

nissan gtr lm

When was the last time you saw a pretty race car? Maybe I’m turning into Walt Kowalski, but it seems to me that the racing machines of my youth looked nicer. Is there a purer shape than Jim Clark’s Indy 500 winning Lotus 38? Is not the Lola T70 sensuous? Some of Jim Hall’s Chaparrals, like the 2H “vacuum” car and the 2J streamliner with its center mounted high wing look a little odd, but even the 2J has an aesthetically pleasing shape, something you can’t say about a modern Formula One racer, with it’s dizzying array of airfoils, winglets and canards. (Read More…)

By on July 13, 2015

IMG_0602

Polymath sports marketer Fred Sharf is known in the art world for finding underappreciated genres, collecting them, researching and writing about them at an academic level, curating exhibits about them, and then donating much of what he collects to museums so others can share his eclectic interests. Among those many interests, Sharf has almost singlehandedly gotten the fine art world to start appreciating the art involved with making automobiles. Drawings and paintings long considered disposable styling studio work product by car companies are now considered collectible and worthy of art museum exhibitions. (Read More…)

By on May 28, 2015

Capture

Bob writes:

Hi Sajeev. I’m annoyed by styling that makes the trim height look wrong. Most cars today look like the front is sagging or the rear is too high. The stylists even slant side creases and trim strips down toward the front (Man, I hate that. – SM) to create this look even though a close look at the rocker panel shows that the car is level.

Why are they doing it? Does the public really like it?

Sajeev answers:

The delicate balance of physical + visual trim height adjustment is standard practice, proving itself over decades for both aerodynamic and stylistic enhancement. The problem? Jumping the shark. (Read More…)

By on March 26, 2015

Volkswagen-T-ROC-Concept

Feeling its style isn’t metal as it could be, Volkswagen is unleashing a more aggressive language for its upcoming compact and midsize crossovers.

(Read More…)

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