Paris reaction - from the point of view of someone who is currently on holiday, sitting around in the sunshine, drinking a beer or two, getting a bit bored perhaps but clicking on as many websites as he can to get info about what sounds like one of the most vibrant motor shows in years.
A gazillion new cars from Lotus. They all look the same to me, but they also look weirdly anonymous. They look like Honda concepts actually – all angular and spikey and modern. A bit like the way enormous Russian hotels tend to look angular and spikey and modern. With a bit too much neon in the toilets.
The return of the Audi quattro. Not. The original Ur-quattro was a devastatingly good looking car. It created the blistered wheelearch all on its own. From the rear it made your heart ache wondering what it might be like to drive.
The new one, from the pictures I’ve seen, looks like a Mitsubishi Lancer on to the front of which someone would appear to have welded a giant air conditioning vent. It looks ridiculous.
But it also looks like it belongs in the same stable as the new cars from Lotus. Why is that? Did someone invent a piece of software recently that all of, or at least some of, the current car designers are now using? Or have we actually reached the end of the road in car design, in which case is the only way forwards in fact to look backwards – towards the Dodge Chargers, Lincoln Continentals, Lancia Stratoses and 250 GTOs of yesteryear?
Answer: NO! And the new Jag supercar shows us why.
Here is a car that appears to have grace, elegance, aggression and originality leaking from its every portal. Yet at the same time it looks contemporary – but with a lower case c.
A year and a half ago I was stood on a bleak, rainy mountain top with a very senior chap from Jaguar, and I’ll never forget what he said. Which was along the lines of; “If this ‘effing recession ever goes away Jaguar could really go places. The vibe deep down within the company is that strong right now.” QED my friend, QED.
The new Lambo looks like a proper Lambo to me, although again it looks quite abrasive. Kind of fussy, as if you might well cut yourself on it if you got too close. Maybe that’s the impression they wanted to create, if so it’s not difficult to see why. Lambos are meant to look scary. Dangerous. And the Sesto Elelemto certainly does that.
The new Passat? Zzzzzzz.
Car industry as a whole? Most definitely not Zzzzzzzzzz
So until next time…