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Sunday, October 5, 2008

Car Design: Paris Auto Show '08 Part Two

In part two of our Paris Auto Show roundup we look at some more of the notable designs premiered this week in the city of light.You can see part one here.

Citroen is one of the most hallowed names in automotive design though it has been much diluted in recent years as part of the Peugeot group. The Citroen GT Concept has some novel details and a dramatic stance - even if it's lacking in the radical originality that was Andre Citroen's stock in trade.

The front is a bit heavy but the shaping of the blade-like fenders and their relationship with the vents and the front doors is intriguingly different.

The ducktail rear is similarly fascinating though the huge black diffuser underneath is a bit much.

Mercedes showed their Fascination concept, a thinly disguised look at the upcoming E-Class. After falling into a dull patch Mercedes design seems to be righting itself. This needs little more than a b-pillar to be production ready and the lines are graceful and flowing with a hint of both the bigger S-Class and smaller C. The sculpting of the sides and rear fenders are especially well handled. Though the handsome and easily recognizable face with it's squared off lamps is tipped to make production it's still unkown whether this sport wagon body style will be featured when the actual E-Class debuts.

BMW's last 7 Series presaged a slew of controversial cutting-edge designs from the German manufacturer masterminded by design chief Chris Bangle. The new 7 suggests that despite the sales boost the new look accompanied the criticisms also took hold. This is a very conservative, safe design - disappointing in it's desire to not offend. The best touch is the carved out door handle nacelles.

Mini has been rumored to be working on a mini-ute version for some time now and the Crossover Concept seems to be the prelude to a production version. Pity it's so ugly. The face takes the classic Mini headlight and grille relationship and distorts them into a sickly sour grimace. The body cladding is the lazy designers shorthand for offroad prowess and the rear quarter windows seem like a mistake.

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