Design Talent Showcase – 2025 McLaren Monaco – Front-Engine GT By Nathan Malinick

On the eve of McLaren’s latest road car reveal at Villa d’Este tomorrow — here is a masters-thesis design project from a rising star of the car business. Its premise? A front-engine GT car from McLaren.  Named the Monaco, nearby where Macca will unveil their cushiest road car yet. But this concept is no strategic counterpoint. This design was finalized last year so it is just a delightful convergence of ideas in the motor universe.  From the ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, to Woking, and back. “I finished this project before the release of the McLaren Speedtail last fall …

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2019 McLaren SENNA GTR – Best of Goodwood Festival of Speed 2018

The McLaren Senna is already such an insanely aggressive and unique new hypercar.  Its looks instantly make the entire Lambo and Ferrari lineups seem hopelessly dated. The raw energy from these sliced and diced panels hardly needed a racing upfit.  But here we are. This Senna GTR is absolutely shocking in its design brutality. The functional nature of the aero additions are makes them even more interesting and beautiful to the eye. Check out this nose — not just the usual surfboard chin splitter here, oh no. What they’ve done is remove any air-blocking flat surfaces from the nose.  What …

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Concept Flashback – 1990 Renault Laguna Roadster

Concept cars serve a variety of purposes in the auto business.  They can be helpful as a grand pronouncement of new ideas — even if those are years away from the showrooms of real life.  They can also be a grand distraction.  Or a grand way to bring halo hotness to a dull lineup. And most of all, they are perfect as blank canvasses for designers to express themselves.  Take a simple idea, like a two-seat cabrio, and take it to its wildest brainstorm conclusion.  In the case of the ultra-curvy Laguna concept, this meant a mid-engine turbo four driving …

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Concept Flashback – 2006 Renault Nepta

You can always count on the French manufacturers to bring some real concept heat.  Perhaps it is the rotation between Frankfurt and Paris.  Whenever it is back in Paris, the brands really go all-out to pack the house. These concepts generally run the gamut of production-unlikliness.  From never-ever to never in a million years. So with no limits but the need to define a next-gen surface language and design theme, what kind of car would you use?  A grand cabriolet, of course! Four giant seats but just two butterfly doors.  These bring the entire bodyside up from central hinges on …

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2017 MINI John Cooper Works GP Concept – Design Analysis

MINI fatigue is undeniable lately as an enthusiast and for car shoppers alike.  The improvements are so substantive, but the design and image seems frozen in time.  Most of the time. Then rumbles up a track-attack prototype so extreme that even it hates being a hatchback.  It hates that its breadvan shape lacks the low nose of a supercar or the mid-engined silhouette. So this JCW GP concept rejects its limitations.  It says: i will create extreme downforce and aero — hatchback shape and all.  It does not accept that front-drive is a demerit on the Nordschleife. Floating external fenders …

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6 Ways the 2019 Aston Martin VALKYRIE Is Next-Gen Bonkers

Whisper it, but Aston is on a serious roll lately. The launch sales of DB11 are strong and Vanquish is holding its own versus Bentley and Porsche.  All two dozen copies of the halo 2016 Vulcan track star sold out in days, and the future of the DBX SUV is on track for arrival in summer 2018 to stores worldwide.  From a brand new factory in Wales, of all places! Sure, Rapide and Vantage are showing some age, but will be rejuvenated fairly soon with new AMG turbo powertrains. And then we have this masterpiece.  The collab with Red Bull …

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2018 KIA Stinger GT AWD – 4.8s, 167MPH Stats Confirmed – 31 Photos

The Stinger GT from KIA is the dream on wheels.  Four-door fastback with a rear-drive chassis and huge twin-turbo power.  So many dreams, in fact, that the car’s giant trunk will actually come in handy right away.  In what is a clear confirmation of the car’s production-ready status, the power operation of the liftgate up or down is Panamera-esque.  Audi A7 and the A5 Sportback also form strong core templates for the Stinger.  This German-designed and German-engineered machine headed to KIA showrooms for under $50k in the next six months. Black chrome laces the bottle-nose front fenders and the extremely …

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2017 Lexus RX350 – Design Analysis Video with 40 New Photos

Here are some very pretty photos and an informative video walkaround of the best-selling Lexus RX.  Count the vehicle as a solid follow-up to the smooth, comfy and quiet Lexus crossover hero.  As dull/proven as the powertrains are, it is really the exterior design of the new RX350 that future-proofs such a familiar machine. The cabin will seal the deal among previous owners not wild about the new full-frame grille!  It is much more luxurious and one of the smoothest-riding SUVs we’ve ever driven. For a half-dozen more articles and drive reviews of the Lexus RX, be sure to check …

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2018 TESLA Model 3 – Design Analysis, 50 Images and Flyarounds Inside and Out

This is not going to be a boozy lovesong about Tesla changing the world. As you have probably seen from the deluge of media coverage, the Tesla Model 3 arrived just after dark in SoCal last night, to much fanfare and fanboy eagerness. Initial reaction: horror. Horror and revulsion. Why, oh why, Tesla, if you can change the world and make the best EVs of all time… can you not realize how ugly the new Tesla models have become?  It is in the details like the formless faces, the bloated rooflines and the generic detailing of the Model X, the very-tired-looking Model …

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Design Analysis – 2014 SEAT Ibiza CUPSTER

The 2014 GTI Wörthersee event brought out a few exciting concept reveals: including this very playful Ibiza. If any car’s namesake location points to its mission, it would be this concept!  Why?  Ibiza (say: eeee-beee-thhaaa) is the Cancun of Europe. Sunny party people flock to this semi-trashy island resort to escape the grey, rainy winters across Europe.  They dance to all the latest club bangers, contract some STDs (worth it!), then march home — back to the real world. Would this CUPSTER make sense in just resort mode, or in real life? It does not really matter: the car is …

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2017 Jannarelly Design JD1 is All-New, Rear-Engine Exotic from Talent Behind LYKAN HyperSport and Zarooq Sandracer

WHat happens when two of the most skilled talents in bespoke supercars come together?  Fusing design vision, carbon-fiber production and a bit of marketing magic? The JD1 from Jannarelly Design! This is a fantastic bit of absolutely breaking news: Anthony Jannarelly is a clear favorite of ours since obsessing over his crisp, layered aesthetic as seen on the W Motors Lykan and Fenyr, plus the recently-revealed Zarooq SandRacer. This new venture pairs Jannarelly with Frederic Juillot, lead at Equation Composite, to make their own supercar vision a reality. A look behind the curtain of the two Frenchmen’s lives shows that their …

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2017 Bentley Continental R-Type – Renderings, Rationale and Analysis

The previous Bentley R-Type 1952 meetup with the 2016 GT Speed started a snowballing effort in photoshop. While Bentley certainly focuses on selling their current W12 Speed — especially versus its incredibly good V8S sibling — we are focused on the future! The Panamera basis for the next Continental GT platform is well-known and virtually confirmed in the car business, and has been for years.  But will it be a Panamera clone? Absolutely not. Not one bit of cabin, engines or design anywhere will be in common among the two. Key changes versus the current Conti range are expected to …

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2016 Audi R8 LMS – New Open-Aero Design Analysis, Specs and Pricing

The new R8 is big news, of course, for supercar shoppers. Three models are set for the US range: the R8, R8 V10 and R8 V10 Plus. All sport AWD as standard and curb weights of 3500- and 3600-pounds. America will miss out on the limited-release R8 E-Tron but we will definitely see the fifth family member: the nearly unbeatable 2016 R8 LMS. This factory racecar is already outselling the existing model among dozens of top-tier sportscar racing teams. The reasons are simple: it is faster than ever thanks to cunning new aero and mechanicals. The biggest changes versus the …

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300MPH 2018 BUGATTI Spyshots, Renderings and Design Analysis

The Bugatti Veyron took more than 10 years and ~10-billion dollars to make real for its 2005 debut. The vehicle development started with the VW W12 NARDO/SYNCHRO prototypes before taking on a life of its own via stratospheric performance dictates from the very top of the Volkswagen Group. 1000-horsepower and 250-mph. Great in theory, surpassed in practice!   The next-generation Bugatti supercar has a great running start by using many components and skills long-honed for the first Veyron and its SuperSport and Vitesse models since the launch spec. Even so…. this long intro is basically a warning: do not get …

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HD Road Test Review – 2016 Lincoln MKX – Tops New Lexus RX with Style, Power and Panache

Lincoln MKX beats Lexus RX. You read it here first! True story. As one of the only car reviewers to have driven both 2016 models, we are surprised to report that the MKX is the better machine. First Drive Review – 2016 Lincoln MKX What a difference a few years can make! If you had told me in 2005 that Lincoln would be making globally-competitive cars, four SUVs and debuting exclusive tech like the new 3.0-liter V6TT making 400HP in the 2017 MKZ, we would have laughed right in your face. Sure, Lincolns have been “okay” for a while now …

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First Drive Review – 2016 Lexus RX350 FWD Luxury Package + Pricing and 100 New Photos

  The 2016 RX is huge news: an ultra-modern makeover adds style, tech and efficiency to the all-star crossover from Lexus. We had a chance to drive all five trimlines last week, and have some great news to report about the handling crispness, exterior design and cabin comfort. But also some fairly important gripes about the performance and style execution of the new RX — which can leave you slightly confused versus the BMW X5. Let’s start with the highest-volume model: the RX350 front-wheel-drive. As we can see in the pricing charts below, this $42k base price is the most …

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Design Analysis – 2015 Renault COUPE CORBUSIER Is All-New Flagship Concept

Shades of brutalism, yet light on the inside and accented with with fantasy curves. The description of the iconic Villa Savoye country house in France neatly applies to almost all Le Corbusier’s creations. The architect is a legend in modernism, a movement that prioritized livable interiors, created with advanced industrial construction methods leaning heavily on steel and concrete. The idea of Villa Savoye being a legendary cabin in France just epitomizes the era of its design. Cold-war emotions were running hot, while WWII and its mass destruction of France inspired a clean break in the national mood.   Villa Savoye, …

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Design Analysis - 2013 Opel-Vauxhall MONZA Is Exotic, Advanced PHEV GT 12

Design Analysis – 2013 Opel-Vauxhall MONZA Is Exotic, Advanced PHEV GT

This Monza concept feels subtle at first. Its slinky and silky metallic gunmetal finishes are the perfect shade of subtle, and let the wild surfaces and flowing silhouette speak for itself. How to think of this car? A future production model? Not at all. This is perhaps best thought-of as a potential Tesla Model S-fighter, with ambitions to compete with the BMW i8 from a technological perspective. Theoretical pricing would be around $100,000 — so obviously in the fantasy realm for the mid-premium Opel and Vauxhall brands. Let’s do a full design assessment by angle. But first! Here is what …

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2016 Nissan Maxima #WithDad Commercial – Creative Strategy Analysis

  This 90-second Nissan ad is a huge, huge overall branding push – with a (negotiated) price of about $10-million just for the media, it needs to connect a lot of dots and hit the right notes to earn its worth. It is admittedly pretty touching, and themes such as bonding with a distant father are highly universal. The scenes are also uniquely Nissan. You could not switch out the brand or product easily, which is a sign of good creative. The same cannot be said for Kia Motors Pierce Brosnan ad, or even the touching Jeep Renegade spot. When …

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2016 Land Rover Discover Sport HSE – Full Design Analysis + Letter Grade Scores

INTRO: ICELAND IN JANUARY The new Land Rover Discovery Sport just enjoyed its big coming-out party over the weekend in Iceland, with many auto writers enjoying a 1000-mile adventure trying out the new baby Landie across heaps and dales and ice bales. But from our impression back at home, the vast majority of the travel time was not by car, but by plane. Iceland is farrrrr from everywhere in the United States. Far. (Sidebar, would we have gone if invited? YES!) And a general rule of thumb? The more exotic the launch location of a hum-drum car, the worse the …

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Design Analysis – 2014 Mitsubishi Concept XR-PHEV

When Mitsubishi rolled out its latest trio of design concepts in Geneva last March, we were slightly horrified and very shocked. The designs are quite ‘advanced,’ — which is another way of saying they are freakishly ‘out there’ and not exactly attractive on first glance. But after seeing how this look filtered down to the 2016 Outlander, we are determined to give the new Mitsubishi design style a chance. And clearly, Mitsubishi believes it is on to something here. The XR-PHEV here became the firm’s Vision Gran Turismo car as an ‘Evolution’ version of this design, so you cannot say …

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Design Analysis – 2012 Pininfarina Cambiano – Why So Lifeless, Bland and Generic?

We feel a bit guilty for absolutely skewering the Pininfarina/Ferrari Sergio the other day.  After all, they may have had no control over the lame production-friendly changes done by Ferrari. Let’s take another look at some of Pininfarina’s other recent work to balance things out, shall we? The 2012 Pininfarina Cambiano concept was an expression of a clean, EV sedan in the mold of the Tesla Model S, Fisker Karma or the Quant e-Sport Limousine. The vehicle has two doors on the passenger side, and one longer coupe door on the driver side. The trouble is: it is super boring …

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Concept Debrief – 2010 Citroen SURVOLT – Design Analysis in 110 Electrifying Photos

What makes the 2010 Citroen Survolt such an achievement in sports-car design? Consider that its proportions almost perfectly mirror those of the Lotus Exige — but the curb appeal of the vehicle tells the brain to expect pricing in the $200,000 ballpark versus the Lotus at $75,000. In terms of the Survolt’s mission as a concept car, we can think of the car in the same league as the Ranult DeZir. Part tech showcase and EV R&D tool, part brand roadmap and design superstar. The Survolt found a joyous receptionin 2010 – and four years have done nothing to dull …

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Audi Shits Bed in LA? Second Take on 2014 Audi Prologue Concept + 50 New Photos

Updated 11.23.14     Audi Shits The Bed. ? What kind of headline is that? Despite being so brash — it seems a bit nicer than the original, which was: Audi Prologue is Worst LA Debut. We have to be honest, the latest press photos of the Prologue look better than the car does in real-life photos — which is rare. Usually any ultra-lux concept will look far more interesting in the real world. The Audi Prologue is a nightmare scenario for Audi’s supposed design resurgence for more than a few reasons. The lack of real-life impact is just the …

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Update1 – 2014 Audi Prologue Concept – World Debut and Design Analysis

  There has been much speculation about what Audi was teasing for LA – and the wait is now over. The concept is called the Prologue and is a giant A9-sized two-door coupe. This much we knew – but few expected the car to be an actual two door, but rather a four-door coupe as is in vogue. Overall, however, when asked about what the Prologue previews — Audi is keen to say “Everything.” Even the name points to the pre-read status of this car for all future Audi designs – from the 2016 A8 to the 2016 A4, all …

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Gen-6 Toyota Camry NASCAR Revealed Ahead of 2015 Season

The NASCAR ‘Car of Tomorrow’ is now in its sixth generation after barely as many years roaring round the nation’s speedways. Luckily, this latest design rulebook allows the cars to look much less generic, and more like their actual namesake road car models. The first out of the gates for the 2015 season of the Sprint Cup and 2015 Xfinity (formerly Nationwide) racing series is the new Camry. It really does look like the production car! ANIMATED OVERLAY ANALYSIS: Camry v ‘NASCamry’ In this transparency of the production Camry XSE versus the NASCAR Camry, we can see how similar these …

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