Monday, January 21, 2008

The Big Show, take 2

Okay, just got back from a picnic in the park (I'm in Santa Barbara right now), where the ducks were circling us as if to demand some of our bread. Anyway, this year I thought I'd post some stuff on the show while the show is actually still going on, unlike last year, when my comments were completely irrelevant by the time I got them out. So I'll get right back to posting:

In the first post I mentioned the Buick Riviera coupe. Also in the coupe department from GM is the CTS Coupe Concept. A lot of people are quite taken with this car, and it's easy to see why. The stubby rear end is an interesting and unexpected execution, and you've gotta love the way they've used the taillights to disguise the existence of the rear deck from the front angle. It actually makes the car seem shorter from some angles than others.

One of the most interesting things about the car (to me) was the contrast it presented against the sedan. At the industry preview at least, they had a new CTS sedan parked right near the coupe so you could easily compare the two front ends. From an overall design aspect, they're virtually identical. But when you look closely you notice that the creases on the concept are literally sharper. This is a very tough thing to see in pictures, but if you go to the show, I'd encourage you to check this out. These details get toned down on the way to production, for various reasons which I'm sure include aerodynamics and pedestrian crash safety. But it's an interesting illustration of the subtleties that make a car seem "concepty", beyond the execution of the lights and the glass. And if you know me, you certainly are aware of how excited I get about subtleties...

Next on the agenda: the Mercedes GLK. I actually saw a design buck of this vehicle several months ago, when the Benz people herded a bunch of journalists (there to drive the new ML550 and GL550) into a dark tent after making us leave our camera phones in little plastic baggies outside. I was underwhelmed then, and it seems as though the collective press isn't bowled over either. The Auto Extremist gave it an award for "Best Imitation of a Subaru Masquerading as a Mercedes", and from this angle, that seems a pretty apt descriptor:

The diesel-powered R8 is simply stunning. They took a car that was naturally gorgeous and made it absolutely bad-ass looking. One of the coolest aspects is the pair of carbon fiber intake runners visible through the rear engine showcase window. Just so many things about this car are awesome.

On a sadder note, there was an R8 at my California office last month, but it was only here for a few days. Regrettably, I was in Michigan at the time, so I missed my best chance to drive this drool-inducing supercar.

The Toyota Venza: not very well-received. But the reasons seem to vary. Some just see it as bland styling. I actually disagree, but I have my own issues with it. Yes, you regular readers guessed it: derivative styling. I've mentioned this crossover's resemblance to the Ford Edge to others, but they don't see it. I offer the following as exhibit A and B in my case:

It looks like an Edge has been squashed a little.

The rear end also seems to borrow, but this time from Volvo. Quite honestly, I can't find a good Volvo shot to illustrate this, but I just get a Volvo feeling from this rear:

Okay, I've got more to say, but I'm using Blogger to post, and the software on their website sucks, so it's pretty tedious to do long posts with a lot of pics.

To be continued...

1 comment:

Markus said...

That CTS Coupe is beautiful. It reminds me of everything I liked about the 1992 Eldorado.

I like the GLK, even though it looks like a Forester. I like the looks of the GLK so much, I will buy a Forester at half the price.

For some reason, I thought the big thing this year at the Detroit Auto Show would be clean high performance diesels. Well, instead of lots of manufacturers showing off a super diesel, it was just Audi, showing off a super duper diesel, but it's so super, it makes up for everyone else's shortcomings.

I had thought the Toyota Venza was going to be a jumbo Prius, and I was all excited about it. It's probably still a pretty good car, but I'm disappointed because it didn't live up to the rumors.

And perhaps the rear is Volvo-y like so?