Wednesday, December 5, 2018

#BMW iNEXT Revealed; Points To New Design Direction [Auto Styling News]

Citing "human-centered design" and a radical new front end, the 2019 iteration of the electric BMW Vision iNEXT debuted at the Los Angeles Auto Show this year.

And you're either going to love or hate the styling, from the first time you lay eyes on it.

BMW says the Vision iNEXT "provides an insight into the future of personal mobility." And it sure looks "futuristic." If produced as-is (which is of course highly unlikely) it would be extremely distinctive on the road. And yes, it's almost all about that front end.

The BMW's traditional "kidney" shaped grille remains in place, sort of, in a grossly elongated form. Taking its cue, perhaps, from modern Lexus design, this grille has metastasized to cover a full third of the front of this crossover. 

The car otherwise is angular, and frankly impressive. BMW calls it the "i design" language, and its meant to signal how all its vehicles will look in upcoming years. Large front-end scoops, which, like large grilles, are a popular trend, find their place here, as do the thin, super-bright headlamps. The traditional BMW red, white and black badge seems too small for this design, however, smothered by the humongous grille.

There's a lot "new" to this car, especially technologically. Autonomous driving, Connectivity, Electrification and Services (ACES) – have been incorporated into a single vehicle. Some elements, like cameras standing in for the absent side mirrors, clearly won't make it to production.

The concept car's color - the stunning Liquid Greyrose Copper paint finish, which is said to gradually change in shade from warm copper to dark rose - hopefully finds its way onto production cars, and becomes a trend.

The side view is praiseworthy, in that it doesn't look like every other car on the road. More wagon-like than SUV in stance, this car would be recognizable if it comes to America in this form. The "suicide" doors won't make it to production, but the "floating" roof gimmick likely will, and that would be one regret.

The exterior features powerfully sculpted surfaces curved like muscles onto the flanks, meant to project unbridled dynamism and give the exterior greater impact.

At the front, the windscreen merges seamlessly into a large panoramic roof. At the rear, the horizontal lines and surfaces create a wide and dynamic stance, and the slim rear lights cut deep into the car’s tail.

The air flows along the roof of the BMW Vision iNEXT all the way to its trailing edge, and this combines with a diffuser – illuminated for extra effect – said to enhance the car's aerodynamics.

Aside from the "floating roof" concept below it, the diffuser is an attractive styling element and a highly functional one, too: besides its positive influence over the car's aerodynamics, it meant to also increase electric range.

And make no mistake - this car is coming, in some form or another. BMW says the iNEXT's first production model will roll off the assembly line at Plant Dingolfing starting in 2021.

Monday, August 20, 2018

#BMW Leaks Photos Of 2019 #Z4 Ahead Of #PebbleBeach Reveal [Auto Styling News]

It has a long hood, short overhangs, a low center of gravity, and soft top. It's the soon-to-be revealed BMW Z4, and BMW has just "leaked" photos of the iconic car before its debut at Pebble Beach later this month. The photos of this 2019 model were leaked on Instagram.

It's face looks aggressive, with a large, aggressive front fascia, featuring an enormous interpretation of the traditional "kidney-shaped" grille openings, and a large scoop underneath, with more openings at the sides.

These are topped by large, fierce-looking headlights, all of which make the BMW hood badge look tiny by comparison. But of course perhaps that the point.

Commentators note that the front is more aggressive and larger than a previous concept vehicle, as are the lamps and mirrors.

The side features a scoop behind the front wheel wells and some sexy sculpted work on the lower door panels that avoid being compared to the "Bangle" days but still evoke that curvaceous era.

The tail is just as smart, featuring wrap-around tail lamps and a built-in spoiler that's not too large for the vehicle. The rear bumper looks like it's melting away, swooping around the licence tag area and dipping down into rear scoops that continue the aggressive, manly look of the front fascia. Dual exhausts round out the look nicely.

Monday, August 6, 2018

2019 #Audi #Q8 Luxury Mini-Ute Features Coupe-Like Elegance, SUV Seating [Auto Styling News]

Sharing a name (Q8) with a Middle Eastern nation probably appeals to a wealthy market there, if that was the thinking behind the name of the 2019 Audi Q8, which shares a platform with the Bentley Bentayga, Lamborghini Urus, and Porsche Cayenne, and aspires to the same luxury lineage.

Combining the elegance of a coupe with the functionality of an SUV, the Audi Q8 debuted in June at the Audi Brand Summit in Shenzhen, China. It will hit US showrooms at the end of 2018.

Inside, the five-passenger SUV offers advanced connectivity, infotainment and driver assistance systems, combined with capable driving dynamics, to set a new standard as the top SUV model from the Audi brand.

The Q8 introduces the brand’s new SUV design language. And it is at once stunning and aggressive. The large, single frame grille with its octagonal shape, combined with massive, highly contoured air inlets, give the vehicle a commanding presence on the road. The LED headlamp fixtures are blessedly angular, as is the entire vehicle, forever putting to bed the "upside-down bathtub" look of the mid-to-late 2000s.

The sloping roofline ends in gently inclined D-pillars and the pronounced wheel arches pay homage to the vehicle’s Quattro DNA, and hint at a couple-like shape, though not as much as, say, the Mercedes CLA. Along with the standard color palate of whites, grays and of course, black, the Q8 will be offered in a stunning "Dragon Orange" (shown here) or a brilliant "Navarre Blue."

A rather handsomely wrought light strip connects the tail lights at the rear of the vehicle, and in an homage to the original Audi Quattro, a black surface underlines and connects this strip. The indenture of the strip is mimicked in the light fixtures, themselves.

As is becoming common on all five-doors and SUVs, a sun-shielding overhang protrudes over the top of the rear window, which will both keep rain and sun from the glass. Rear visibility seems like it will be slightly hindered by the small rear window and somewhat large-looking C-pillars, as is the case with many other 5-door mini-utes.

But the vehicle overall has a gorgeous look to it - more car-like than SUV - which leads one to call this a Mini-Ute, or a full-on Ute. The available 22-inch wheels will definitely give it that appearance, despite the long-ish hood, which takes it solidly into the "car" realm.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Chinese Electric Car Company BYTON Unveils Sexy Autonomous electric #KByte Concept [Auto Styling News]

Fresh off a successful round of funding, in which it raised a reported $$ million, Chinese electric car company BYTON has introduced the K-Byte autonomous concept car, and it's a beauty.

The company opines:
"Freed from driving, it is time to expand your personal comfort in your car. Thanks to its intuitive user interface, BYTON K-Byte Concept turns the vehicle into a living and working space. You can enjoy all the benefits of being chauffeured without being confined to the back seat."
The K-Byte's autonomous tech was developed by Aurora Innovation, which was started by the former head of Google's self-driving car division Waymo. The K-Byte was designed by Benoit Jacob. Before joining BYTON, Jacob served as BMW Group’s vice president of design, and was responsible for the design of the innovative i3 and i8 electric cars, and designed 2008's BMW M1 Hommage concept.

With a lineage like that, perhaps Elon Musk and Tesla should be worried about the 2020s and the future of competition in the autonomous electric market.

This car is unique in so many ways it's hard to begin describing it. The glorious (or wild) front end, featuring a beautifully detailed headlamp feature that will either remind one of the Joker's painted on smile, the front end of a 1989-era Mercury Sable, or simply a beautiful art piece. We'll go with the more flattering description here.

The frontpiece is adorned with the clever "B" logo of the company, which reminds one of the Bentley B, or of Bitcoin's, and the BYTON name is appropriately sized here in these images (which are all digital, since not one of these has yet to be built - production is at least three years off.)

Absolutely necessary for this to be an autonomous vehicle are the pieces on the roof and sides, which resemble smokers a beekeeper might use, or elegant lamps used on carriages of old. But even THEY look elegant, and are of a beautiful black lacquer that is in keeping with this vehicle's pretentions - that of a luxury car. And it does look luxurious.

The sides are curvaceous, with a "cut" in the lower door panel, sloping gently to the rear tire, giving it all great depth, and a pointed, dainty rear side panel that reminds immediately of the 2006 Spyker D12 "Peking to Paris" concept (irony noted) a concept that SHOULD have been built, but is now somewhat reincarnated in this concept.

The rear quarters are equally gorgeous, with a wrap-around tail light feature that is thin and dainty and manages to be utterly unique. The rear is instead dominated by a large metal strip featuring again the BYTON B, which looks elegant.

What say you? Should they build it as is, make changes, or give up before they start?

Photos: BYTON website.

Monday, June 4, 2018

#Jaguar E-Pace Is An Attractive Luxury Offering [Auto Styling News]

The 2018 Jaguar E-Pace is a lot of things. It's an attractive vehicle, a luxury car, a Mini-Ute, and a production car that resembles a Concept. But don't make the mistake of thinking it's an electric car.

Many people will make that mistake, unfortunately, but Jaguar is leaving that for it's I-Pace vehicle. This small, beautifully wrought Mini-Ute (a small SUV) is, however, a worthy effort. And it will likely be a success for the company. Though it's not without its flaws.

Coming in at just 173 inches (the I-Pace is 184 inches long) this cute little bundle of engineering is a true entry-level luxury offering, starting at just $38,000.

It's curves up front remind one easily of a Porsche, but the similarities end there. The curves are definitely attractive, especially on the side, which provide the high doors of an SUV and the rakish rear window seen in many others of its size (the Mercedes GLA and its cousin the Infiniti QX30 have similar roof shades in the rear. As does the Nissan Rogue, Subaru Impreza, and... the Honda Fit.)

The front air intakes are huge, and while some my compare them to the Porsche as well, they add a uniqueness to the front fascia that is undeniably attractive.

The rear side view is very "butch" and masculine, if one may still say that these days. The C-Pillars are a bit large and thick, and the back window seems too small, both of which may be problems for visibility, but this is a common complaint for all Mini-Utes. Great back-up cameras will alleviate this problem.

The tail lights are exceedingly attractive, and uniquely beautiful. One cannot mistake them for any other make of car, and that's something rare in today's styling choices. They are similar to other models in the Jag line-up, but that's totally fine. They distinguish the car immediately and give it credibility.

The interior is stunning, as one expects from a Jaguar. Fit and finish inside, not to mention a properly working drivetrain under the hood, will make or break this car among luxury enthusiasts.

But from the looks alone, there's no doubt that the car will be successful in the marketplace - even a crowded one, filled with Mini-Utes already. It will be a stunner on the road, and in driveways, and that's part of the draw for its target audience.

Photos: Jaguar USA

Monday, May 14, 2018

#Mercedes Unveils Stunning #Electric Vision Mercedes-Maybach Concept In China [Auto Styling News]

At "Auto China 2018" in Beijing this year, Mercedes-Benz rolled out the stunning Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury concept. The design of the crossover, based on an exclusive high-end sedan and an SUV, follows the philosophy of Sensual Purity.

The show car was designed to combine the comfort and typical strengths of both body styles. It does it pretty well. It certainly has the raised seating position and athletic looks of an SUV.

The Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury is conceived of as an electric vehicle with four compact permanent-magnet synchronous motors and fully variable all-wheel drive.

Smooth, extravagant surfaces with no beads or sharp edges create an image of sporty elegance: the Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury has a majestic look. With its balanced proportions, the vehicle has tremendous presence.

The front end is accentuated by the distinctive chrome-plated radiator grille with its fine vertical bars in the style of a pinstripe suit.

The new grille design celebrated its world premiere in the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6, the exclusive coupĂ© concept car that delighted aficionados and fans of the brand in 2016. It also inspired the latest reinterpretation for the Mercedes-Maybach S‑Class.

In combination with the low-profile front headlamps with three lamp units, the grille dominates the front view of the vehicle while emphasizing its brand affiliation.

Large air inlets along with the horizontal air inlet with integral chrome blades stress the sportiness of the SUV sedan while lending it a dynamic look. The air inlets are crossed by the brand's typical honeycomb pattern. A continuous trim strip extends from the split hood across the roof through to the rear end.

Unlike a conventional sedan, the Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury offers a significantly higher, SUV-typical seating position and therefore a better driving experience. This addresses the desire of many customers for a feeling of protection and security – even though this was said to have been a challenge for the designers.

Ultimately, the task was to harmoniously transfer the familiar three-box design – hood, passenger compartment and trunk – into an SUV-like architecture. This produces an interesting tension between the poles of sportiness and Mercedes-Maybach luxury, and gives the car a very distinctive look that will set it apart from others on the road.

The upright C-pillar, long, gently forward-sloping hood and compact notchback dominate the sporty-but-elegant side view. The muscular volume of the flank is accentuated by a long wheelbase and short rear overhangs. The overall appearance is rounded off by 24‑inch turbine-look wheels.

Truncated running boards in machined aluminium are integrated in the lower door area. They are illuminated in white and bear the Maybach logo. The overall vehicle is accentuated by subtle chrome trim above the running boards as well as in the lower area of the front and rear ends. The electrically extending door handles are flush with the sides.

At the rear end, the three-part tail lights mirror the design of the front headlamps.

Above them is the vertically split rear window - a stunning feature that hearkens back to earlier Mercedes designs of the 1930s (and one, sadly, that has featured on several concepts of the past, which never seem to make it to production.)

Another striking feature is the modelled underride guard with diffuser look. It, too, is permeated by the Maybach pattern from the front end.

The car was almost obviously designed with the Chinese market in mind. Far more than Western countries, Chinese Elites love to be driven, and this car certainly lends itself to that proclivity.

The interior features a beautiful ebony wood surrounding the entire cabin, which is either extremely beautiful and comforting, or makes it feel as if one is riding inside a piano. The soft leather seats, especially in the rear compartment, are supple and extravagant.

One hopes that this vehicle makes it to the roads in both China and the West in the same basic format. If it does Mercedes will have and it's large and varied lineup one of the most striking vehicles ever produced.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

#Nissan Debuts 2019 Altima, Resembles Maxima Styling [Auto Styling News]

Nissan today revealed the all-new Altima, bringing excitement back to the mid-size sedan segment with expressive styling (which resembles older brother Maxima) and the first available Intelligent All-Wheel Drive in a Nissan sedan in the U.S. and advanced Nissan Intelligent Mobility features, including ProPILOT Assist.

The car bears a striking resemblance to the Vmotion 2.0, a concept vehicle released last year showcasing Nissan’s new sedan design direction, is the winner of the 2017 EyesOn Design Award for Best Concept Vehicle.

The 2019 Altima goes on sale in the U.S. in the fall, followed by other global markets at later dates. The sixth generation of Nissan's best-selling sedan made its world debut at the 2018 New York International Auto Show, alongside the first North American showing of Nissan's Formula E racing car. "

This new Altima builds on 25 years and more than 5.6 million Altima sales to date – but to us, this is just a starting point," said Denis Le Vot, senior vice president, chairman of management committee, Nissan North America, Inc. "That's why we decided to shake up the midsize segment in terms of design, driving enjoyment and technologies that are advanced and affordable."

The Nissan VMotion Concept

Photos: Nissan USA