Paris 2014

Time for France again and have a look at the good the bad and the ugly. Let’s start with the latter: First car we encountered was the latest Citroen DS (or should we just say DS) concept: Must have been a contest of putting as much design per square inch as possible, oh horror! Unfortunately 4-door Smart suffered from the same proportional disease as Twingo, 2-door is a strange dog nosed contraption. Mercedes AMG GT looks great at first sight but after a while it just doesn’t look special enough: Still a lot better than their bread and butter cars though. Last but not least Volvo’s XC 90. They promised us dynamic looks, gave us a brick (although nice brick), quite sure it’ll sell.

Onto the good: Audi gave us the TT Sportback, what a taut looking car! Better than its 2-door sister. With that incredible interior I would have one!

141002_Paris 2014_Audi TT Sportback

 

We were a little bit less impressed with the new Lamborghini Asterion Concept. Hard to fit it in their state of the art, modernistic, technocratic product range. Does it try to be a Muira? Why go retro?

141002_Paris 2014_Lambo Asterion

 

Interesting design battle between Renault and Peugeot. One could say their going out of their way to be as different from each other as they can. Both have gone ever so slightly overboard though. Renault loosing itself in soapy, organic weakness. Peugeot got the ruler out and forgot to put radii on the edges! Both offer lots of interesting detail though, trying to be different might not be so bad.

141002_Paris 2014_Renault Eolab

 

141002_Paris 2014_Peugeot Quartz & Exalt

 

And then to my favorite! I thought he ‘normal’ XL 1 was already a terrific showpiece from a design, as well as technical point of view. The XL 1 Sport is bonkers: Such madness! That it has an Italian heart also helps as far as I’m concerned. Sportscar of the future!

141002_Paris 2014_VW XL 1 Sport

Geneva 2014

March 2014, time for our favorite event of the year: Carfreax are heading for the Geneva Motorshow. Nice ‘n’ Compact, the ideal occasion for meeting our Automotive friends. Let’s start with the cars we’re not highlighting.

VAG let us down with the ‘Skoda Vision C’ and ‘VW T-ROC’ concepts, the first simply not very well resolved, the second downright over-designed. The triplets of Toyota, Peugeot and Citroen failed to impress, allthough the Toyota was the most imaginitive. The all new ‘Renault Twingo’ features strange proportions and an overall ‘Tupperwary’ feeling, thus offering the aforementioned triplets a real opportunity in the marketplace allthough they’re just facelifts.

Mitsubishi showed 3 concepts proving that they’ve totally lost their way now. And finally the new Italo-based Jeep Renegade was nice enough, some interesting detailling but maybe too cutesy for our liking.

140304_Geneva 2014_Citroen C4 Cactus

 

Of course the all new Citroen C4 Cactus was one of the highlights of the show. Playing tricks with weight, specs and pricing, this is a lot of mobility for the money. Wonder how those soft panels will stand the test of time.

140304_Geneva 2014_Hyundai Intrado

 

Hyundai delivered a convincing concept, detail solutions we’ve seen before, but nicely combined in an attractive design and interesting technical concept.

140304_Geneva 2014_Edag-Rücker Genesis

 

EDAG and RÜCKER showcased a very interesting piece of sculpture, imagining what 3D-printing could potentially offer the car industry. The concept reminded us of a concept of Audi’s Design Team for the LA Design Contest of a few years ago. Add some wheels and it would make a nice racer.

140304_Geneva 2014_Maserati Alfieri

Some Carfreax have an Italian heart, so the small Maserati (that’s supposed to be a 911 killer) was a welcome sight. Nice car, wouldn’t mind one.

140304_Geneva 2014_Other Highlights

Some other highlights: Pininfarina’s BMW Gran Lusso Concept, very well executed as we are used from them. New interpretations of the ‘shark nose’ and ‘Hofmeister feature’. Porsche’s 919 Le Mans contender looked brutal, beautiful in its efficient ugliness. BMW Motorrad showed off their naked, café racer inspired, NineT. The design team asked for the help of famous custom bike builders such as Roland Sands and El Solitario. We think it payed off.

CURBED

Curbed, Carfreax, New York

Dumbo*, New York, Brooklyn, where old meets new. Industrial sites become lofts. Cobble Stones and single speeds. A revived neighborhood overlooked by monumental bridges. A curbed Audi R8 with a funky color around the corner is a surprise. Let’s call it a wrap.

*: Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass

- Matt.

Rooms(t)er

140531 Rooms(t)er KXKNa een Niels Loebje en een Stefan Sielaff is er nu ook een echte Thomas Ingenlath op de oprit beland. Allemaal old skool buddies. Call me oldskool.

Who cars.

De Ingenlath Roomster is in elk geval… eh… een geval apart. Scheiding der geesten stuff.

De goegemeente houdt hem, begrijpelijkerwijs, voor een raar soort pausmobiel – maar, misschien rooms(t)er dan de paus, vonden wij het al sinds de Tsjechische designrevolutie van 2003 een kek karretje.

Getuige het nalatende verkoopsucces kregen wij ongelijk. De gemiddelde Roomster is immers grijs metallic gebleken en wordt bereden door baby boomers met dezelfde haarkleur – en instapproblemen.

Who cars.

Want aangezien het no-nonsense merk uit Mlada Boleslav ooit een begrijpelijk gevoelige snaar raakte bij mijn eveneens no-nonsense (want Felicia rijdende) eega, terwijl ondergetekende juist valt voor automobiele glamour en overbodigheden – stonden dezer dagen zowaar toch nog alle sterren op één lijn, bij de zoektocht naar vervanging van onze baguettemobiel.

Een bijzonder autootje, die Skoda Roomster. Zeker op 16 inch patas.

- Geert.