Unfortunately work commitments meant that the Face had to stay in the UK rather than head to EuroLand for that most civilised of the motorshows…sob.
Still, watching from afar, these are my top and bottom three of the show.
Previously I’ve never looked twice at a VW Polo for fear of falling asleep instantly, so the aggressive frontal aspect of VW’s supermini comes as a welcome surprise. The Golf has evolved cautiously through its VIth version, making the Polo’s transformation even more remarkable. The plan sweep from grille back through to the headlamps, the jaunty flick of the beltline at the C-pillar, and the simple and solid surfacing really work for me. The Scirocco is another favourite, so I’m glad the Polo is following its lead and giving VW a more interesting direction.
Definitely hints of the Fisker Karma here, but that’s no bad thing. And I don’t care because this is one of the few concepts that is simply a study in beautiful proportions and execution. The C-pillar is genuinely new, as far as I know, while the crazy taut beltline gives an impression of someone physically pulling the wheelarches apart; it’s an organic touch, almost like the roots of a tree… almost.
Apparently a concept, but likely to make it pretty unscathed to production in 2010, the 200EX is the so-called ‘baby’ Rolls. You could say it’s just a scaled-down Phantom, which would be no bad thing, but the detailing is a little more delicate and refined. Take the headlamps, for instance, which, on the Phantom look a little small and boss-eyed; here they look a little wider, and give the car a more open and approachable face. The rear end too benefits from the smaller scale, looking a lot more pert than the boat-like Phantom. Love it.
I just can’t get over this car’s wheel /body ratio, or the abrupt A-pillar / header transform, which jars against the plentiful curves of this concept. If i was being kind I’d call it curvaceous, but in truth it’s a bloated ugly frog of a car.
Aston Martin Lagonda
Much has been written about this car, most of it negative. And it is a difficult shape to like, with its bloated proportions and odd anti-eco cues. I’m sure it will go down well in certain status-rich countries, but I’d imagine if you parked it in some Euro cities you might find yourself on the receiving end of some grief. Personally I think AM has tried to distance it from the forthcoming 4dr Rapide too much, probably fearing one might steal sales from the other. The bottom line is that the last Lagonda Aston made…..
was an avant-garde and futuristic beast, more sci-fi machine than oil-crisis car, which provoked and pushed the envelope. This new one simply offends.
BMW 5 Gran Turismo
With Chris Bangle leaving BMW to pursue other interests, the automotive design world watches with interest to see the direction the company will pursue. The era to be known as post-Bangle…Chris’s influence cannot be underestimated; whether you actually like his flame-surfacing ethos or not, he undeniably took BMW into unchartered territory, and countless contemparies have absorbed his edgy surfacing into elements of their own design output. Personally the 5 series for me, is the most successful current BMW design. There’s an air of confidence about the proportions that are resolved superbly, even if the details (tail-lamps in particular) are a matter of taste. So…seeing the 5GT concept was a shock. I know that BMW are pushing the packaging envelope here, positioning the car as an upmarket sedan/hatch with some new-to-BMW innovations – the rear tailgate/hatchback for eample, but does the styling need to be so lacking in dynamicism, so…dull?