Fellow TTAC scribe Alex Dykes put a somewhat innocent enough post on our Facebook Wall, suggesting the BMW 3-series has a reputation for homogenous design, while the new Cadillac ATS suffers from…well, what so many modern GM products suffer from: a new release that’s only “almost” there. The ATS gauge cluster was his proof.
This cluster spurred a commotion from our FB readers that merited a chat window popping up from the Esteemed Mr. Dykes, suggesting this is a good Vellum Venom. Agreed.
The (mainstream) staying power of GM’s B-body is pretty much history. Panther Love shall live for the next decade or so, not much longer. I was in this state of mind when auto writer extraordinaire Alex Nunez posted a picture to my Facebook wall, suggesting that the Chevrolet Caprice’s proportioning is somehow a worthy successor to these Iconic American Sedans. My response? Relative to the Chevy Impala, sure. But proportioning is more than having rear-wheel drive and a lot of real estate. If you proportion it wrong, you create a Fool’s errand. You create the Chevy Caprice.
While we say Panther Love, we really mean Cab Backward design for an Iconic American Sedan. Can you dig it?
“MR2turbo4evr”, today is your lucky day: you suggested that someone would appreciate my critiques on Lincoln products, and maybe you are right. But this self-proclaimed Lincoln-Mercury fanboi was pissed when his favorite version of Ford’s CD3 platform, the Mercury Milan, bit the dust. But I digress: what to do when you are a designer tasked with making every Lincoln look like the MKR concept, even if that ridiculous grille maybe (MAYBE) works on a sedan with Town Car levels of decadent proportioning, and no other Lincoln?
If you worked on the 2010-2012 MKZ, I suspect you bit your tongue, did your job, cashed your paycheck and told your family how much they meant to you. This applies to the MKZ more than the re-skin of the MKS, MKX and the all-new MKT. Or maybe working on such a half-hearted design isn’t so bad for a car designer, because job satisfaction is a relative term. That’s where fanbois who’ve lost their way get lost in their own thoughts.
Sometimes it’s a little difficult to style a car in a certain genre. Case in point, the “entry level” luxury car segment. And not because the cars are rubbish or the designers simply phoned it in, but because so much equity is on the line…on a budget! This is no audacious Maybach Exelero, here’s an ordinary platform given a few dimensional tweaks, a touch of class and a lot of tacked on “visual presence” in hopes of high volume (compared to an Equus) and high margin (compared to an Accent) successes. And while this Hyundai has one of the toughest acts to follow–after its Sonata brother blew the roof off the world of family car design–it isn’t a dog.
But it’s a good thing Hyundai never called it the Hyundai Grandeur here in North America. There’s nothing especially “grand” about it.
I understand the need for a luxury car maker to create a super car. It spilled into my drawing books at CCS. But I love Lincolns. To wit: a stand up grille (modeled after the Bugatti EB110), covered headlights (Continental Mark III) , a power dome hood and an-ever-so-slight Continental kit that blended into a spoiler (like the final RX-7). Jokes about my Panther Love on TTAC is fine, but I was far too scared to encourage the stereotypes in design school. I showed absolutely nobody my super car Lincoln, and I never will…it, among other aborted design studies, went in the trash when I left Detroit.
But Lexus? No, they actually think they can play in this space. At least long enough to make a statement: since I never did, I do applaud their effort. Even if I don’t especially like it.
A design studio gets shocking when someone shrugs off their stereotypical work, coming up with a whole new game. But all your designs look the same! You are too retro! I’ve had better looking bowel movements than your last luxury sedan proposal! The end result of this hate can be shockingly different from what they normally make, and the person behind it can have new found swagger. In my case as a student at CCS? Not so much. But for the Lexus? Maybe so.
One of my Transportation Design teachers insisted that cars were just like restaurants: success depends on proportion, proportion, proportion! And while the mere thought of his lectures makes me want to vomit in terror, the dude is right: cars need to be perfectly proportioned to prove a point. And my goodness, the Fisker Karma is just that. Put another way…
The MP4-12C has a wonderful backstory for those who love and admire the McLaren brand. The McLaren F1’s instant Zeus-like status is a large part of the mystique, but not necessarily all of it. That said, for everyone outside of this world (and price point) you are forgiven if you wouldn’t even consider this over the similarly priced Ferrari 458 Italia….as I probably fit into that category.
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