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

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