There seems to be a recurring theme this year in Paris, one that automotive journalists can’t help but notice; the general lack of new, exciting products. Cars and concepts revealed at Geneva and Beijing are still making the rounds, but at least Smart has made an effort by giving its ForUs concept from Detroit a makeover to create the ForStars.
Despite the fact it’s a rehashed ForUs, there are enough touches of interest here and there. Where the ForUs has a distinctly playful appearance, the ForStars looks like the “bad boy” of the brand thanks to its moody “eyebrows” and a hood air intake that hides a projector to create you own drive-in movie.
Aside from the glazed panel that creates a distinct coupe roofline and encloses the rear, the ForStars largely sticks to the ForUS’ architecture. A fun-looking car, sure, but can you just show us the new productions cars please, Smart?
The Lexus LF-CC concept is challenging, perception-challenging, exciting and, above all, distinctive. Take these bewinged projector lamps that bore their way into the distance like some mechanical Jules Verne deep sea monster. More like this please Lexus!
Lexus’s recent show cars have all been “must see to appreciate” models, and the LF-CC that Lexus brought to Paris is no exception. Covered in unique and complex surfaces, folds, and creases, this preview of the upcoming IS brings something new to the table in a show where following the leader seems to be the norm.
Of particular interest are the details around the headlamps and tail lamps, where the traditional cut lines are turned on their heads, instead resembling folded paper that overlap and cut each other to create new and interesting interactions. The tail lamps themselves are a fascinating criss-cross of light that liven up the entire rear end of the car and extend all the way down into the rear wheel arch cut.
Although perhaps not an entirely successful design, especially the enormous “spindle” grille and extremely odd headlamp treatment, there is a lot to admire in the attention to detail of this concept that will give a big bump to Lexus design if successfully translated into production.
This morning, Wolfgang Egger unveiled the VW Group’s only concept for the Paris show, the Crosslane Coupe. The compact 2-door SUV concept is clearly a preview for an upcoming Q2, but, more importantly, it showcases a new design language and DRG for Audi SUVs to come.
According to Egger, the current Audi style, which has been honed for several generations of vehicles now and has become ubiquitous on the roads the world over, needed a change. That change has come in the form of a new “sculpted” approach which Egger claims is the logical next step in Audi’s design evolution. The headlamps and DRG are chiseled out of a solid form rather than being graphics laid over a smooth volume, and results in an aggressive, chunky, almost brutalist front end.
The car as a whole is an exercise in precision however. Not a single line or surface is out of place or unresolved, and the concept feels production ready. According to Egger, this DRG, with massive integrated polished grill surround, bold logo surround, and new vertical LED lamps, will become the face of Audi’s “sports SUVs”, with a different variation used for each of the A, S, and family Q lines.
On the interior, brightly colored leather and integrated structural components complete the look and also indicate a willingness by Audi to change the game, just as others finally threaten to catch up.
While we’re still digesting the new look, it’s good to see Audi moving their design forward and not resting on their laurels. It may be an angry new face for Audi, but at least it’s not a tired one.
Carbon, copper, dot matrix displays. The Onyx is yet another strong concept from Peugeot. Video with lead exterior Sandeep Bhambra coming soon.