Monday, March 12, 2018

Gorgeous #BMW Concept #M8GranCoupe: Designed To "Polarize" [Auto Styling News]

"Polarizing" is not usually the word car designers or auto manufacturers themselves embrace for their products, but that's exactly what the VP of design for BMW's M and i models is saying about the newly unveiled concept M8 Gran Coupe.

"The BMW Concept M8 Gran Coupe is designed to stir things up, to polarize – it should move you emotionally,” admits Domagoj Dukec. "With this car we want to reach people who are looking for something special and who want to stand out from the crowd. Here, BMW M is unmistakably taking luxury out of its comfort zone."

Like the BMW Concept 8 Series before it, the BMW Concept M8 Gran Coupe supposedly shows off BMW’s new design language, featuring expressive surfacing that accentuates the car's dynamic pretensions more vividly than current models. And the concept is more evolutionary than revolutionary, except for a couple of elements that, as we'll describe below, may very well be left on the designer's drawing board.

Low to the road and broad in stance, the eye-catching front end of the BMW Concept M8 Gran Coupe is designed to set hearts racing. But it is the one thing that also may ACTUALLY polarize BMW enthusiasts.

The face is wearing a copper grin, as the familiar kidney shaped grille is outlined in copper, and the look is mimicked in the gold headlamps, which are a hexagonal interpretation of BMW's four-eyed front end. . The contours of the radiator grille kidneys broaden as they descend towards the road, designed to highlight the car’s low center of gravity. The headlamps are positioned slightly higher than the kidneys and give them the impression of sitting lower, which further emphasizes the car’s closeness to the road.

The rear of the car also carries with it the possibility of major polarization. A large "lip" rises up from the hood to form an aerodynamic wing, and massive "scoops" are carved out of the rear bumper. It is  very hard to believe these gaps will
make it to production in the US, what with all the safety regulations, which have traditionally required a large 5-MPH-impact bumpers, as silly as some may think they are. The quad exhaust pipes also feature the copper colored theme that works its way into almost all metal on the concept M8 Gran Coupe.

The sides feature strong lines that cut into the form of the car and give it an undeniably muscular appearance. The windows in this computer model seem gold tinged, which follows nicely from the front end styling, and the "Hofmeister kink" remains, as part of a large rear window of the coupe that looks elegant and upscale.

The greenhouse looks too small in the concept drawing, but in the actual art (clearly this car hasn't been built) it's better proportioned, in fact, it's very nicely proportioned, and easily helps peg this as a BMW. And finally, one must call out the rather large BMW badge on the rear, which is a trend and not at all a bad one (yet.)

So, there are possibilities here that the M8 Gran Coupe concept will indeed polarize. But there's also a lot here to love. The style is undeniably BMW-flavored, and it is undeniably a well-designed concept. But whether some of the more "boy racer" elements remain - including the huge rear scoops and the more mild and mainstream front end ones - is up for debate. It's easy to see the rear become more restrained and the rest of the design remain as-is. Which will work for most BMW enthusiasts just fine.

(Photos: BMW Group)

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

#Porsche Stuns With "Road Ready" Luxury Electric #MissionECrossTurismo At Geneva [Auto Styling News]

Porsche has stunned the automotive world and upended the luxury electric car markets with the introduction of its Mission E Cross Turismo at the Geneva Motor Show.

The four-seater, with its low-cut hood and heavily curved wings happens to go from zero to sixty MPH in 3.5 seconds, matching the speed of the Tesla Model X P100D.

It can also be charged by induction, at a charging station or using the Porsche home energy storage system. The road-ready Mission E Cross Turismo (yes, you read that right: ROAD READY!) builds on the Mission E study Porsche presented at the 2015 International Motor Show and uses elements that are close to series production.

Its look is designed to spark emotional memories of the iconic Porsche 911, says the company. Vertical air inlets in the front, known as air curtains, are a distinctive design feature.

Another stylistic highlight are the matrix LED headlights. The brand’s typical four-point daytime running lights have evolved into narrow, three-dimensional glass elements. Embedded in four sweeping wings, these also contain an innovative four-point indicator light.

At the same time, the vehicle has high-performance full beams with Porsche X-Sight technology. The off-road design elements include robust wheel arch protection and door sills, a striking front spoiler and lower rear and increased ground clearance.

The silhouette is defined by a sporty roofline that slopes off to the rear, which Porsche designers refer to as a "flyline." This is reminiscent of the rear of the Panamera Sport Turismo.

Equally distinctive for the brand is the dynamic shape of the side windows. The broad wings and three-dimensional side panels with air outlets behind the front wheels reinforce the sporty crossover character of the concept car, which is 6 feet 6 inches wide.


Monday, February 26, 2018

#Mazda Vision Coupe Concept Wins French Award [Auto Styling News]

The Mazda Vision Coupe concept was named the “Most Beautiful Concept Car of the Year” on at the 33rd Festival Automobile International held in Paris, France.

Revealed in 2017, the Vision Coupe concept is a design model signalling the styling of the next generation of Mazda cars. Featuring a simple and flowing “one motion” form, it embodies a more mature interpretation of the company's KODO/Soul of Motion design language tempered with a Japanese aesthetic. 

Taking its cues from the Mazda Luce Rotary coupe and other models from Mazda’s design heritage, the Vision Coupe's styling is elegant and projects a luxury feel. Clearly, this would be the company's "halo" car if it was ever produced close to this design (however unlikely that is.)

Vision Coupe uses reflections to express a sense of vitality; the next step for KODO design,” said Ikuo Maeda, Mazda’s Managing Executive Officer in charge of Design and Brand Style. “This car embodies a delicate Japanese aesthetic, and to be recognized here in the ‘City of Art’ two years after RX-VISION was awarded the same honor is very gratifying. We want to retain our identity as a Japanese brand as we continue making cars with global appeal.”

The award celebrates the freshest, most creative and most beautiful of the current crop of concept cars, as chosen by a jury of prominent designers working in fashion, architecture and other industries. Mazda RX-Vision won the same honor in 2016, making this a double win for the two concept models that will guide the design of the next generation of Mazda cars.

Photo: Mazda USA

Monday, February 12, 2018

#Infiniti Q Inspiration #Concept Previews Design Language [Auto Styling News]

Previewing a new generation of Infiniti vehicles, the Q Inspiration Concept proposes how an innovative VC-Turbo powertrain, next-level autonomous drive technologies, and a unique human-centric interior could enrich the experience of drivers in the mid-size sedan segment.

While this vehicle, per se, won't be hitting the road in the 2020s, Infiniti says this represents the next step in Infiniti design.

The exterior of the Q Inspiration Concept features clear and concise lines with dynamic and confident proportions. It is the first manifestation of Infiniti's new form language for an era of advanced powertrains. The concept sheds classical sedan forms with its coupe-like appearance and elongated silhouette, presenting Infiniti's design vision for vehicles in this segment.

Monday, February 5, 2018

#VW's ID CROZZ #Concept Is An Autonomous Electric Slated For 2026 [Auto Styling News]

Volkswagen's I.D. CROZZ concept offers a fashionable sneak peek of the future, and that future is electric, autonomously driven crossover. And it may be in driveways by early 2026.

The concept's sleek, four-door coupe shape has a similar footprint to the new 2018 Tiguan, with dramatic doors that open 90 degrees in the front and slide back in the rear to reveal a cavernous interior. On the outside, the I.D. CROZZ greets passengers with a light show, with lighted VW logos and daytime running lights that “awaken” like eyes.

Personally, I'm not even a fan of the many, many vehicles already on the road that "blink" by turning out the headlamp when the turn signal is engaged. But I'm sure this silliness will either be long gone by 2026, or will be so ubiquitous that we don't even notice anymore.

The exterior is quite handsome, and is a bit of a step up from today's rather bland VWs. The sliding rear doors are just plain silly, and likely won't make it to production, but are less silly than ones seen on many other concepts, or current minivans. Not sure they want to emulate minivans, but it's entirely possible they show up on the final version.

The I.D. CROZZ resembles, especially from a side view, the Toyota Prius Prime, which isn't a bad vehicle design to emulate.

The production car, says VW, will feature the company's I.D. Pilot self-driving system concept. That means that in self-driving mode, the steering wheel of the I.D. CROZZ will (rather horrifyingly) retract into the dash, and the interior lights will change color. Drivers can summon the I.D. Pilot by simple voice controls, and the concept system is designed to rely on four laser scanners that pop up from the roof of the I.D. CROZZ, as well as ultrasonic sensors, radar sensors, side area view cameras and a front camera.

VW estimates that the car's battery pack will be able to be recharged up to 80 percent in 30 minutes when using a 150-kWh fast charger. The company's EV plans are among the most ambitious in the industry, and call for launching next-generation electric vehicles on three continents - Europe, Asia and North America - anticipated to begin in 2020.

Monday, January 29, 2018

#Nissan Xmotion Concept Signals Future Design Direction [Auto Styling News]

Nissan revealed the Xmotion concept at the 2018 Detroit International Auto Show this past week, and it signals the company's potential design for the early 2020s.

The six-passenger, three-row Nissan Xmotion (pronounced "cross motion") concept is a worthy successor to the company's long history of cutting-edge SUVs. The company says it is meant to fuse Japanese culture and traditional craftsmanship with American-style utility and new-generation Nissan Intelligent Mobility technology.

The Xmotion concept's stunning (or polarizing) exterior features a powerful dynamic presence, including unique U-shaped highlights and a bold evolution of Nissan's signature V-motion grille.

The concept's exterior features rugged, metal-crafted wheels and all-terrain tire design. Like the rest of vehicle, the mechanical tool-inspired wheels and all-terrain tires coexist as one piece, with the tire tread physically laminated over the 21-inch aluminum-alloy wheels. Additional exterior features include a retractable "rooftop box" and a unique tail light design inspired by Japanese woodwork.

With its long wheelbase, with wheels and tires pushed out to the extremes of the corners, the Xmotion concept allows for the creation of a fresh, "4+2" passenger layout. Featuring three rows of side-by-side individual seats, it's designed to provide a perfect space for a young couple, another couple and two children or pets in the third row.

The concept's "suicide" rear doors won't make it to production, of course, and a b-pillar will obviously be added to the car to accommodate proper rear doors that open to the front, rather than the back. Still, the concept is visually stunning, and will likely come to production, adding to the stunning design style we've come to expect from Nissan.

Monday, January 15, 2018

#Lexus Previews "Flagship Crossover" LF-1 Limitless At Detroit Int'l Auto Show [Auto Styling News]

Like molten metal being forged into a fine Japanese sword, the lines of the Lexus LF-1 Limitless concept have the potential to shape the future of a flagship luxury crossover for Lexus.

Revealed at the North American International Auto Show, this concept - billed as the brand's "flagship crossover" - signals the very real direction of the brand. And it's spectacular.

Lexus established the luxury crossoversegment two decades ago with the global debut of the
RX 300 at Detroit. It remains the top-selling luxury crossover despite nearly 50 competitors that have
since entered the segment.

Like its name, the possibilities for powertrains are limitless. Lexus says the LF-1 concept could be powered by fuel cell, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, gasoline, or even all-electric. By around 2025, every Lexus model around the world will be available either as a dedicated electrified model, or have an electrified option.

Love it or hate it, the "hourglass" spindle grille design is becoming the standard already on all Lexus vehicles. And here, it's accentuated and has evolved into something quite beautiful - even if you're still wary of it appearing on YOUR car.

The innovative LF-1 was created at CALTY Design Research in California. The design language is rooted in the simple yet elegant design concept dubbed “molten katana”. This design visualization fuses the organic shapes of liquid metal with the sharp edges of a traditional Japanese sword. Imagining that shift from a smooth, flowing mass into a solid, chiseled shape formed the basis for the fluid, yet aggressive design of the LF-1 Limitless.

The Lexus LF-1’s exaggerated dash-to-axle ratio gives it an athletic profile that’s more sports car than station wagon. Combined with a cabin that sits deep within the rear-wheel drive chassis and aggressive 22-inch wheels barely contained under bulging fenders, the LF-1 has a powerful stance that conveys its performance intentions at a glance.

The low roofline and elevated ride height further emphasize that this is a crossover designed for performance with practicality.

What do YOU think?