Monday, September 16, 2019

#Hyundai Unveils Retro-Futuristic "45" At Frankfurt #AutoShow [Auto Styling News]

Hyundai Motor has unveiled a stunning look at the future with it's retro "45" Concept.

The 45, envisioned as an electric vehicle signalling a more electrified future for the Korean automaker, was unveiled at the 2019 Frankfurt auto show. The angular concept looks in many ways like something the German hosts would create, especially those at Volkswagen.

But it's not a 1970s era VW Rabbit or Golf they're evoking. "To Define Future Through Heritage" is the slogan the company used to highlight the car, which has many visual cues to the company's 1974 Pony Coupe concept.

The concept, "reimagines the in-car experience in the age of electrification and autonomous technologies," says Hyundai. And does so by evoking "emotional connections from the past to create a consumer lifestyle brand for the future of mobility."

The angular and stunning 45 foreshadows a new era of Hyundai’s automotive design focused on electrification, autonomous technologies and intelligent design. The progressive 45 puts a twist on a 45-year-old icon, the 1974 Pony Coupe Concept, and of course looks thoroughly like a 21st Century vehicle.

In fact, the sharp angles are a radical departure from the current extremely curvaceous lineup. The front view is dominated by beautiful, squared off headlamps, that look a bit like the car is rather impatient with us for not buying it right away.

The iconic character of 45 is defined by its monocoque-style body, aerodynamic and light-weight design inspired by aircraft of the 1920s. The car’s name also owes itself in part to the 45-degree angles at the front and rear, forming a diamond-shaped silhouette that further foreshadows the design direction of future EV models.

"As an icon of Hyundai, the 45 clearly reveals how Hyundai heads towards the future through heritage," said SangYup Lee, Senior Vice President and the Head of Hyundai Design Center. "Through the 45 built upon our design language 'Sensuous Sportiness', Hyundai wants to present our vision on how we want to reshape people's in-car lifestyle in the era of electrification and autonomous driving."

The 45 reinterprets the concept’s distinctive lattice radiator grille with a ‘kinetic cube lamp’ design. The iconic front-end presence with the kinetic cube lamps evokes analogue emotions, while at the same time applying cutting-edge technologies. It also takes Hyundai’s lighting architecture to the next level, allowing people to instantly recognize the vehicle at a distance.

By exhibiting a modernized fastback profile, 45 epitomizes stability and dynamism, characteristics accentuated by the vehicle’s significant width and forward-oriented posture.

As a progressive electric vehicle, new technology is visible in 45’s design. At the bottom of the door, a special garnish highlights its long-distance battery capability and, through active LED lights, drivers can intuitively know how much longer they can drive even before they get in the car. These thoughtful elements are designed for a user who is experiencing an EV for the first time.

Monday, August 26, 2019

#Acura Previews Future Styling With Stunning Type S #ConceptCar [Auto Styling News]

Acura recently unveiled the Type S concept, which it insists will be the basis of future vehicles and help it differentiate itself from its lesser sibling, Honda.

The concept will, says the company,  heavily influence the character of the upcoming, second-generation TLX Type S cars, and they will develop two Type S performance variants in the next two years.

The "S" probably stands for "Stunning," because this concept is just that.

It has a clear, unmistakable silhouette, and a powerful and aggressive front end that will turn heads. 

Building on the style of the Acura Precision Concept, the Type S Concept's powerful form is characterized by a wide track and low stance, with an expansive hood that stretches forward from the A-pillars.

The large "A" symbol within a top-to-bottom pentagon-shaped grille (which is seen on many cars today, notably Lexus) and the stunning, cat-like - "Jewel-Eye" Acura calls them - LED headlamps work together well. One hopes a strong exhaust note in the rear of the vehicle combines to give it enormous presence as it approaches its destination. Indeed, this marks the return of the S Type performance range after an absence of decades.

Functional large center and side intakes, capable of supplying required airflow to a high-performance engine and brake package, round out the front. If "round" could be used in describing the shapes, which are angular, masculine, and, again, aggressive.

The side view features jutting lines that arch upward, ending in muscular wheel arches at the rear.

The sharp and distinctive tail features a deck lid with a sharply creased center line (drawn from the hood) and integrated forged carbon spoiler. "Chicane" LED taillights, a large rear diffuser and quad chrome exhaust outlets complete the look.

In addition to the rear decklid spoiler, forged carbon – created by bonding layers of carbon on top of one another to exceed the strength of traditional interwoven carbon – is applied to the front and rear splitters, side sills, rear decklid spoiler and multi-spoke 21-inch wheels.

The Type S concept's bespoke "Double Apex Blue Pearl" paint reflects a liquid and electric hue that pays homage to blue Type S heritage models, including the acclaimed 2007-2008 TL Type S. "Double Apex Blue Pearl" employs Nano pigments and a color-infused clear coat that impart a sense of fluidity and motion, and enhance the paint's luster and brilliance.

One hopes future production models feature an option to drive home a shade a stunning as this.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Nissan Study Shows Strong US Support For Sedans [Auto Styling News]

Recent research reveals that the youngest generations of car buyers – millennials and Generation Z – may have their sights set on sedans, meaning American auto manufacturers may have erred when they pulled the plug on producing future sedans.

According to a survey of American car owners commissioned by Nissan, desire for sedans remains strong. Among overall respondents who don't currently own a sedan, 78% would consider buying one, and younger respondents reported an even higher affinity for the body style.

For its part, Nissan recently unveiled its latest sedan, an all-new version of its subcompact Versa, which features an energetic new design inside and out along with technology not generally seen in the subcompact class.

Last year, Nissan also introduced the  sixth generation Altima, sporting lower, wider and more athletic proportions than its predecessor. Nissan also recently unveiled the refreshed Maxima, adding safety and convenience features along with updated styling.

 "We see great opportunity in the sedan segment, which is why we're continuing to launch all-new and refreshed products," said Rob Warren, director and chief marketing manager at Nissan North America. "Sedans are still extremely popular with our customers, so as our competitors exit the category, they're creating even more prospects for Nissan."

Nissan surveyed car owners and non-owners in the U.S. between the ages of 18 and 65 and found: A top choice: 78% of American drivers
eration X car owners agreed.

Perhaps a major rethink is in order over at Ford, GM and Dodge/Fiat, before they lose an entire generation to Japanese and Korea automakers.

Monday, April 22, 2019

#KIA Wows NY Auto Show With HabaNiro Concept [Auto Styling News]

At the New York Auto Show, KIA unveiled its vision of the future of electric vehicles, the HabaNiro concept. It's a fully-electric, all-wheel drive, four-seat car with an All Electric Range of more than 300 miles, level-five autonomous model. KIA claims that this is no "fanciful supercar that will likely never be built," but instead, a prescient look into the future.

Tom Kearns, vice president of design for Kia Design Center America, said the designers wanted the concept to be "comfortable navigating city streets, carving turns on a coastal road and off-roading with confidence to remote wilderness adventures." In other words, he says, "for everyone and nearly everything."

It's always pretty bold - and sometimes a huge error - to try to be everything to all people, but we have to take these pitches at face value as marketing hype, understanding that 99% of the time, these concepts, if built, will be headed to the dangerous terrain of the nearest Wal-Mart and mall parking lots.

But there's no doubt it looks bold. With its rugged 20-inch wheels, short overhangs and big haunches, the HabaNiro exudes coiled muscularity and capability.

The HabaNiro design is defined by the energetic interplay between the protective metallic grey cladding that encompasses the front wheels and extends onto the body sides and the bright
Lava Red" aero panel that defines the C-pillar and extends up and over the roof. The gull-wing doors may be mentioned in passing here, and then ignored, since they cannot be mass produced and won't make it to production.

These two elements create a vibrant energy and a forward-leaning posture that suggests the HabaNiro is ready to pounce. This latent forward energy is reinforced by the single elegant character line that wraps around the front end, extends through the shoulder, and ends dynamically pointed at the rear wheels.

The HabaNiro grille resembles a shark’s snout, complete with a slit-like gap full of gloss black aluminum “teeth” similar to the cooling blades found on high-end electronic equipment. The EV chassis architecture allowed the wheels to be pushed to the corners, giving the HabaNiro its wide and confident stance.

The rear of the HabaNiro is surprisingly bland, with a long panel rear gate that is without character. They must fix this in production if it make it to car lots. 

Satin aluminum skid plates, milled billet aluminum tow hooks, anodized Lava Red aluminum accents, and the embossed HabaNiro name complement the upscale look while suggesting the vehicle’s adventure-ready attitude.

Monday, March 11, 2019

#KIA Unveils Handsome "Imagine" Electric Concept At #GenevaMotorShow [Auto Styling News]

Kia Motors has revealed its new all-electric concept car, ‘Imagine by Kia’, at the 2019 Geneva International Motor Show, and it's quite handsome.

Coherently drawing together elements of a muscular sports utility vehicle, a sleek and athletic family saloon, and a versatile and spacious crossover, the company says the Imagine is intentionally designed to not sit within the industry’s predefined vehicle categories.

"Automotive design is about capturing the heart and making it beat that bit faster for that bit longer. We believe that there’s absolutely no reason why that should change simply because the car is electric,” says Gregory Guillaume, Vice President of Design for Kia Motors Europe. “That’s why our all-electric concept is designed to not only get your pulse racing, but to also signpost our holistic and emotional approach to electrification.:

The concept is KIA's first pure electric four-door passenger car. The Imagine is underpinned by a low-mounted, induction-charged battery pack that powers a compact drivetrain.

Reinterpreting Kia’s iconic ‘tiger nose’ grille, Imagine features a bold new illuminated ‘tiger mask’ that encircles the main LED headlamp units. Separated by horizontal ‘eyelids’, the dipped and main beam units are housed with a single block of clear acrylic glass, creating the effect of piercing eyes floating free of visible support.

The look is "striking" says KIA, but one has to be cautious about analogies to eyes, eyebrows and eyelids on headlamps, as Chrysler's infamous, unintentionally hilarious ads for the 2011 200 illustrated. 

One could easily also compare them less charitably to a raccoon's "mask," although the look is undeniably handsome, and instantly recognizable, much like the headlights of  a Dodge Charger or Ford Mustang, or the menacing tail lamps of a late model Dodge Durango.

From the side, the curvature of the vehicle really is striking, most noticeable, the huge C-pillar, which surely will be either reduced in a production model, because it greatly reduces visibility, even while it looks amazing. But the gently sloping windscreen, sharply bending roofline and long rear window give the car a rakish, masculine shape. A single pane of glass covers the windscreen and the roof, which may or may not survive into production (surely it's expensive.)

There's a shoulder-line crease running along the entire length of both sides of the car, continued in the rear with horizontal tail lamps, which are housed within deep-set tunnels to create a three-dimensional effect, with the looped lights extending outwards as they grow in size.

A single sheet of glass is used for both the windscreen and roof, flowing from the base of the A-pillar and over the cabin to create a vast sky-window, before tapering into a double-bubble over the rear passenger compartment.

The front turn signals, located high up on the sharp-edged hood, feature illuminated glowing elements that appear to float in fins of clear acrylic glass.

In  a world of look-alike SUVs, the rear of this vehicle alone will make it stand out. A symphony of curved glass and sheetmetal, tail lights that look inspiring, and an intended roofline that seems to be being hugged by the C-Pillars, there's no way to mistake it for any other vehicle.

Let's hope SOME of this makes it past the bean-counters and to the streets.

Showing that car designers have a keen, even wicked, sense of humor (one hopes!) 21 individual ultra high-resolution screens curve their synchronized way across the top of the dashboard in a layout that is (says KIA) "at the same time both casual and coordinated." According to Ralph Kluge, Kia Motors Europe’s general manager of interior design, "These 21 incredibly thin screens are a humorous and irreverent riposte to the on-going competition between some automotive manufacturers to see who can produce the car with the biggest screen."

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

#Toyota Supra Looks Great, But Some Only See A BMW [Auto Styling News]

Sports car enthusiasts have been waiting more than 20 years for the return of Supra and will soon be able to purchase the 2020 Toyota GR Supra for about $50,000.

For those fans and collectors anxious to be among the first owners of this iconic sports car, the initial 1,500 production Supras for the U.S. will be Launch Edition models starting at $55,250. Each will be uniquely numbered and have distinctive features signifying the exclusivity and excitement of Supra’s return. Toyota dealers will be handling all orders and the Launch Edition models go on sale in Summer 2019 starting at $55,250.

The Supra Launch Edition will be available in exterior colors of Absolute Zero White, Nocturnal Black or Renaissance Red 2.0, each featuring high-contrast red mirror caps and 19-inch forged matte black alloy wheels.

The Absolute Zero White and Nocturnal Black Supra Launch Editions will have a red interior. Each of the racing-inspired seats will be wrapped in red leather, with red leather steering wheel grips, and a red center console with carbon-fiber accents.

The Renaissance Red 2.0 Supra Launch Edition will feature a black leather-trimmed interior, with black seats, a black steering wheel, and black center console. The black interior will also feature carbon-fiber accents.

The first 1,500 Supras will feature an individually numbered carbon-fiber badge on the passenger-side dashboard complete with a graphic of Toyota Motor Corporation President and Master Driver Akio Toyoda’s signature.

The design bears a great resemblance to the most recent iteration of the car, the A80, which was produced from 1993 to 2002. The final design bore some resemblance to the 2014 FT-1 concept car, though with much toned down features.

The Supra is powered by two BMW-sourced engine options, and some critics say the interior is ripped from a BMW Z4. The exterior, too, has been accused of having a rather Teutonic/German style, and in a way, that's not an entirely bad comparison. (Though BMW is openly saying that the Z4 has a more powerful engine!)

The Pontiac-like nose juts outward, dangling between the two, large headlamps, which look like panthers about to pounce. They are placed on a bulging, Z4-like hood, that begs the question, "What's under that thing?" before one even asks the question. The side windows are small, and are finished off with a Hofmeister-kink style rear window. In front of both wheels are large, Lexus-like vents (likely not operational or useful.)

Another cut exists on the hood parallel with the windscreen that makes one wonder if the car has been in a knife fight. There's little question, however, whether it WON that fight. This small car screams masculinity in a way a Miata never could.

The rear of the Supra really shows the amazing curves on this thing. While rear visibility seems severely compromised by the large rear spoiler, the heart-shaped curvature of the rear window, indented rooftop and C-pillars - which curve inward at a sharp angle - are a sight to see, and the tail lights sit atop two large cuts that swoop downward, forming dramatic frames to the dual exhaust ports.

In short, this BMW-like Toyota is a quite ballsy sports car, and whether Toyota purists will enjoy the few Lexus-like hat-tips in the design or whether they'll shun it like they would a 3-series sedan remains to be seen.

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.