It’s hard to figure out if there’s a current trend in car styling. There doesn’t seem to be a particular trend across the industry aside, perhaps, from the brands that have nailed a language sticking carefully to a so-far successful formula.
Cadillac’s edgy ‘Art and Science’ look has been consistent for a decade now and BMW has settled into a subtle and classy post-Bangle calm. VW’s look - which gives the impression of thick steel plate that has been stamped as very hard - is now bordering on the relentless.
I was quite tempted to run onto the stand with my hands up shouting ‘OK, OK, so you make quality cars. Just loosen up a bit.’ Audi is, though, promising to break out of its current, highly successful, formula and develop a different look for the different model lines. Judging by what was on display at Detroit, that big grille is set to get even bigger.
It’s when a brand is feeling its way into the future that things can get a little out of shape. Chevrolet’s Code 130R is a curious hybrid of – at the rear - BMW 1-series coupe and R32-series Skyline with generic Chevy at the front.
I’m not sure that the 130R is a convincing interpretation of a baby muscle car for the Millennial generation. But hats off to Chevy for trying.
Lexus has long struggled to come up with a convincing design language, the recent ‘L-Finesse’ - reputedly developed by a styling house in Italy - failing to make an impact. The new LF-LC concept has taken the look of the LFS supercar and turned it into a super-tensile skin stretched over the cars internal structure.
For me, this was a particularly convincing concept, especially from the rear three-quarter view, and delivered on Lexus’ desire to produce ‘emotional and inspirational’ vehicles.
Judging by the LF-LC, though, is that Lexus is still struggling to the nail its new ‘signature’ front end design. And, when new design directions are being sought across the industry, there’s always the risk that two car makers can end up with similar solutions as the new Audi RS5 and Lexus LF-LC clearly show...