You are being redirected - hold on tight!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Design: The Best Automotive Designs of 2007

Yes its another eye-glazing car post from me... deal with it suckas! Here are my 15 best automotive designs of 2007. I've denoted which of these are production and which ones are concepts.

1. Aston Martin V8 Vantage Roadster (production)

I am a huge fan of Aston Martin's recent design language and the V8 has been the apex of their development. Chopping off the roof only adds to its raw appeal.

2. Chevy Volt (concept)

The Chevy Volt concept is soon to make production as the world's first plug-in hybrid electric and sadly, of course, the radically high shoulder line that cuts into the bowed window glass will not be making the cut. A wonderful calling card for a re-emergent GM design squad.

3. Maserati GranTurismo (production)

There is nothing radical here, just beautiful proportions and detailing. The theme of Maserati's outgoing Coupe is re-visited with a voluptuously sculpted prow and ducktailed rear.

4. Audi A5 (production)

Audi was a design leader in the late 90s but has since lost its way. They still have a great eye for detail but their knack for simplicity in theme and proportion has been sadly missing. The A5 comes as a welcome surprise then, with an alluring flowing accent line that extends from the top of the front fenders, a distinctively handsome roofline, and the best interpretation of the brands new face so far.

5. Ford Mondeo (production)

Ford Chief Alan Mullaly was so taken with the new European family car that he asked why it wasn't slated to be imported to North America. The well thought out relationships between shapes and detailing work on the tail-lights and side window lines brings to mind Volkswagen and Audi's late 90s design renaissance. This is a mid priced car that looks like a quality automobile.

6. Ford Flex (Production)

Last year the Flex concept debuted to much acclaim and this year Ford unveiled the production version. The Flex combines SUV, crossover, and minivan elements that suggest a new take on the old Country Squire station wagons of the 60s and 70s. The contrasting white painted roof is a clever steal from Mini.

7. Hyundai HND-3 Velostar (concept)

Korean design continues to mature by leaps and bounds. This clever and pleasingly shaped little coupe suggests what Honda could have done with their recent small coupe concepts.

8. BMW Concept CS (concept)

BMW's Chris Bangle is one of the most influential designers in the world today, even if his creations are not universally loved. The CS concepts suggests a retreat from the dissonant forms and challenging lines of BMW's like the Z and 5 and 7 series and suggests a more harmonious future. Still, like the Lamborghini Reventon and Dodge Charger, the design is not so much beautiful as it is brutally powerful, like a bullnose shark.

9. Toyota iQ (concept)

The iQ's subtle and fascinating interlocking forms are unusual as different elements take precedence depending on the angle the vehicle is being viewed at. Thus a full walk-around results in a shifting and undulating viewing experience that photos can't do justice to. Toyota was once one of the most conservative and boring design houses by they have been becoming bolder every year.

10. Kia Kee (concept)

The Kee is another cool Korean. Apparently the small coupe market, dead in North America, is alive and well in Asia judging from the plethora of Japanese and Korean concepts. The Kee's bold, simple lines are very appealing and the unusual "keystone" see-through panel that connects the side window and the rear glass is very well executed.

11. Lamborghini Reventon (production)

One of the year's most controversial designs, the low production Reventon takes traditional Lamborghini cues and applies a carpenters plane to them, creating a complex origami of folded edges and sharp contours. The effect is akin to a stealth fighter -- a deadly-looking lethal tool. The effect is heightened by the well chosen matte finish on the reveal version.

12. Ford Verve 3-Door (concept)

If the next Ford Fiesta is close to this, they will have the best looking hatchback around. Bold geometric shapes flow and meet with each other giving the car a powerful stance without seeming overly busy. The 4 -door trunked version of the concept that appeared at the Shanghai show was a major letdown so Ford can't be counted on to recognize all of the elements that work here.

13. Mazda Taiki (concept)

Mazda had a strong series of concepts this year but the Taiki took their emerging design language to the level of art. Folded aquatic lines seem hewed out of a solid block of soft metal left to be molded by a strong ocean current. The detailing all around is exquisite.

14. Suzuki X-Head (concept)

A cool Tonka toy for grown-ups. The bold rugged lines are like a toolbox with wheels.

15. Nissan GT-R (production)

The GT-R is a hodge-podge of vents and angles, with a strange open-mouthed face that looks as if the surrounding bumper was cut away to reveal the understructure. Yet it is utterly distinctive and unusual for a supercar.

No comments: