Mazda Koeru. I can’t pronounce it, but Mazda’s Kodo design language keeps getting better and better. It’s now several years since the Kodo (Soul of Motion) mantra was introduced and each iteration of concept, and production car too, is a more refined and elegant interpretation.
The Koeru is almost simple in it’s form and proportion, but it’s a delicate trick achieving this level of economy of line. The DLO in particular is beatifully fluid with an organic flick at the C-pillar. Mazda probably don’t have the customer base to launch this in a crowded Sports-SUV segment, but it would be the best-looking of the lot if they managed it..
As mentioned previously, the OEMs have sat and watched Tesla’s success like a hawk. Porsche described the mission-e as what the future “might look like”..and the theoretical specs make this concept a direct hit on Tesla’s model S. Whether you like the gentle evolutionary approach of Porsche’s design language, or find it a little constricted – the e-mission is undeniably a beautiful form. Like the Mazda there’s a simplicity about the surfaces that is stunning. Nothing superfluous – each intake is purely functional, but blended effortlessly into the seamless and instantly-recognisable form. Particularly impressive is the framing of the headlamps into the hood; the line that blends down through the vertical aero-slots and tucks back towards the centreline of the car.
Infiniti’s push to a volume-seller in the premium C-segment makes them take aim at the Golf, Focus, 308 etc. There’s evidence of certain packaging constraints, particularly in the interior where a high windsheild base and fairly tight door-closures mean the interior space feels ‘cosy’ rather than spacious. But the exterior brings real sophistication to this segment. The bold twisting beltline is unique amongst the Euro competitors, who tend to define their individuality with lighting and grille elements. The Q30 really makes a statement: some might find it too characterful, but in gunmetal grey and 20″ wheels, it looks like something from the class above.
Honourable mention: Alfa-Romeo Giulia
Should have been the star for me – I love a big beefy Alfa…but, the design detailing let it down. The nose appears flatter in plan view than it did in the press-pics. The grille is clumsy with blanked panels (presumably to hide sensors / pipe-work etc) while the proportions feel a little heavy around the rear 3/4.
The interior, on the other hand, is great. High centre-console, so it feels like a Jaguar in this respect, with Hallelujah – a manual gearbox! Nicely integrated media screen (not the usual rectangular unit) and simple but tactile HVAC controls. No distraction from the main event..510HP.