Posts Tagged "Paris"
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?
As McLaren Automotive attended its first international motor show, a huge crowd gathered on the first evening of the Paris show to see Ron Dennis unveil the new P1 for the first time. Reaction from the general public is predictably positive, but designers we’ve spoken to seem to share our opinion that the new form language – derived from the organic shapes of aero-influenced F1 cars – is not as successful as we’d hoped.
The overall form of the car is certainly dramatic and there’s little doubt that the car will make a staggering impression on the road, but on the show stand and in a not-so-complementary metallic burnt orange color and without visible interior or engine, the P1 seems like it’s trying a bit too hard.
The various scoops and cut-outs – especially the lacquered carbon side scoop – seem to distract from what is an otherwise sinuous, sexy, and original volume.
The impossibly low rear end sets it apart from any rivals it might have, while the tail lights that weave their way along the edge of the impossibly curvy engine venting are a great detail. For the most part, the details are the stars of the show here, with this prototype even having a bespoke titanium number plate. Not all are successful, however. The faux DLO graphic in particular is the very definition of form not following function, a far cry from McLaren’s usual no-nonsense approach.
Because the car was shown without access to the interior and engine bay, which meant many blocked-off exhaust outlets and vents, we’re going to withhold final judgement on the car until all is revealed in Geneva next March. Until then, we’ll let you enjoy a few photos and judge for yourselves.
That’s quite a bold statement but then again the new Auris’ interior is quite a bold step 180-degrees from the right direction. It’s unfortunate that here in Paris the new model sits opposite the superb new Golf that sets new benchmarks in perceived quality. Or maybe I should say it’s unfortunate that the Auris just isn’t better.
Step from the Golf to the Auris (as many potential customers will) and the gulf between them is so wide you have to wonder who would sign on the dotted line in a Toyota dealer.
The cacophony of hideous, hard plastics and vinyls don’t even have the decency to arrange themselves in a pleasant manner – the IP feeling like a vertical wall that plays host to yet more dreadful materials that form the dire switchgear. And don’t get me started on the Quartz digital clock. Or the nylon fabrics. Or the airbag warning lights. Or the…
You make cars of excellent mechanical integrity, Toyota, but you need to start communicating this quality through design. Until you do I’m afraid customers are going to take those short steps over to the VW (or indeed any number of brands) showroom on the other side of the street.
In the absence of all-new concepts or production models to show – most were eco variants of existing models – the most interesting talking point on the Mercedes stand at Paris was the fifth in the brand’s thoughtful sculpture series.
Called “Aesthetics S” the sculpture is more of a wall fresco – only 140mm deep – with a few carefully raised feature lines hinting at the profile of the new S-Class. Onto this surface, a slick video is projected to show how the brand’s heritage in large limousines – from the 1950s Adenauer right up to the current W221 – relates to the new shape through clever morphing from blueprint-style digital lines one moment to fire and water storms flowing over the silhouette the next.
Head of advanced design Steffen Kohl told Car Design News: “it’s fibre glass underneath with a white carbon and marble effect almost like ivory. We didn’t want something that would appear shiny.” Kohl also revealed that Mercedes has a plan to make an exhibition of all these sculptures at some point in the future, when a critical mass of them has been created.
Tucked away in a viewing booth on the Paris stand it has less chance to have an impact than the large and physical three-dimensionality of the Aesthetics 2 sculpture say, but Kohl said the new sculpture’s video aspect made it perfect to be aired on You Tube for impact beyond just showgoers.
Again, it’s a unusual way to create interest in future product without taking the predictable production teaser concept approach and is becoming a unique and sophisticated brand identifier for Mercedes. More please.
By Guy Bird
Motorshow stands can be dull, generic and often harshly lit places so coming across the subtle soft light-filled Renault space was a visual relief to the retinas. Hanging from the ceiling are hundreds of slightly squashed, almost ovoid, large light globes that emit various soft shades of yellow, orange, red and pink.
Bathing the cars below – mainly versions of the smart new Clio – in this warm glow, the whole stand took on an even more magical air when the globe lights started bobbing gently up and down like colourful balls on some invisible dark sea.
Got a sneaky feeling the lights are blown glass by the esteemed British designer Jasper Morrison for Flos – which is a sophisticated choice – but if indeed they are, I hope for Renault’s sake in the current economic climate, the brand managed to negotiate a good fleet discount on the overall price (or only hired them for the duration of the show) as those Flos lights don’t come cheap, running to more than a few hundred euros each!
By Guy Bird
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.
Of course this isn’t really the first time we’ve seen the Ford Mondeo – we saw its stateside twin, the Fusion back in January in Detroit. Interesting to see it in Paris in Euro spec. Most mainstream media is running with the ‘Aston Martin for the masses’ headline thanks to its outline grille. Do doubt Ford is glad of this as it distracts from the fact that the Mondusion (Fusdeo?) is in fact an Audi emulator. Who isn’t currently?
If imitation is the highest form of flattery then the guys in Ingolstadt will be beetroot red.
Its DRL signature is a kink shy of the A6′s, the hatchback’s profile a facsimile of the A7 and the lower mask treatment strikingly similar to the outgoing A3.
Unfortunately the quality of these pre-production cars spoils the illusion. Huge panel gaps (you can actually see into the engine bay on one of the show cars) and poor interior quality (console bin lids stuck open, sharp trim edges) just aren’t good enough. I for one remember the previous generation Mondeo being leagues ahead in terms of perceived quality. It’s little wonder Ford has drafted in Amko Leenarts – the man responsible for turning around Peugeot’s interiors – as its new Director of Global Interiors Design Strategy.
Ford was, at one time, a company very much leading the gaggle in terms of design direction, but the Mondeo feels disappointing in its lack of clear identity.