Lexus LS analysis

Well this debate began over on Twitter, with some other working car designers being quite vocal on how bad this new Lexus LS design is. I think it has problems, but I am willing to accept some progressive experimentation. Lexus in particular has been heavily experimenting in various styling and surfacing ideas, some good some bad. The LC coupe is particularly nice, but has gone through many iterations and concept cars to come out the other side. It still has some odd design details, but for a sportscar it is important to grab the viewers attention. The LS on the other hand, is intended as an executive model, with luxury in mind. It has traditionally appeared as quite a conservative design. The surfaces and design ideas are chaotic and a little messy, which is something designers have noted. The strangest thing is the proportions, with a great emphasis on cab-backward proportions. It is almost unique in the way that the peak of the side DLO is in the middle of the rear door. Similarities to other sedans (saloons) were noted, and similarity in supposed “bad” design. The new Civic sedan is something that I am not impressed by, for example. The most similar proportionally, and a possible clue to Toyotas intended rival and benchmark design, is the Tesla Model S. I decided to put together an image comparing lots of current sedans on sale now. Looking for that strange proportion (which must give great rear passenger headroom?). Maserati Ghibli seems a good candidate. Lexus LS-side-profileplusothers@0,75x

 

 

Motoring Podcast Interview with the author!

Well this year has been incredibly busy, especially with my job where I’ve seen progress on my Vehicle Design course connecting with the industry. Meanwhile Twitter seems to be a place for my connections to grow and this led to a very fun situation where I was asked to be interviewed by Andrew Clews of The Motoring Podcast. Andrew managed to draw a lot of personal history from me, over the course of 3 hours chatting!  A very pleasant experience, it was split into two instalments due to length and I can part 1 and part 2 with you all now. Part 1 is about 1 hour, and covers similar topics to this blog. Part 2 is 2 hours talking about my own car ownership history!

Motoring Podcast – Rear View – Lee Walton Part 1

Motoring Podcast – Rear View – Lee Walton Part2

 

Despite the Mirai… Toyota do have talented designers.

Watch professional car designer Ian Cartabiano create and destroy his ultimate sports car in five minutes from his studio located at Toyota’s Calty Design Research Incorporated in Southern California.

Thanks to Car & Driver for the video.

Bangle on form as usual

Another golden chance to hear what Chris Bangle thinks of current Auto design. Courtesy of Form Trends.

more crossovers

Recently we’ve seen a couple of major Auto Shows go head to head, West vs East in May with New York and Beijing shows back to back. Toyota chose the Beijing show to launch the production version of their Lexus branded small crossover. I’ve posted here before regarding crossover vehicles (and I once owned the trendsetting Qashqai myself). The new Qashqai has been underwhelming in design, and other manufacturers are still following the styling of the previous model. Toyota have been finding their design stride recently, especially with the bold designs under the Lexus brand. Risks are being taken, and that is very nice to see. Some designs are successful, others not so much. Their small crossover concept, the LX-NF, last year was radical in it’s surfacing treatment (incredibly over the top) but has translated very nicely to a less frantic production design. Thank goodness for those metal stamping production limitations… the changes are subtle, but for the better.
Here’s the original Lexus LF-NLexus LF-NX conceptX crossover concept. And then the production version Lexus NX (this one is the 200T)which was launched in Beijing.

If we go back to March 2014 we also saw Lexus NX production versionsome great auto design work at Geneva, and another very nice transition from concept to production for the Citroen C4 Cactus. Citroen Cactus ConceptThis one has been in the works for a long time, and began with the C-Cactus concept of 2007. The C3 Picasso for example follows a similar styling theme. The production version is very innovative, and not just in styling terms. Citroen are experimenting with selling the Cactus in a new lease contract based system. Citroen C4 Cactus productionThese two manufacturers can be applauded for their risk taking, unlike the ultra conservative German manufacturers who seem to be painting themselves into a corner.C-Cactus concept 2007

toyota FT-1 concept conception

Geneva 2012 gets “bangled”

The legend speaks! Chris Bangle- former head of BMW design (the last guy to really change car design paradigms, introducing elaborate surface entertainment) let’s us know what he thinks about the recent Geneva Motor Show. I’m predictably with Chris here, some nice designs, nothing radical (except that insane and ugly Toyota FT-Bh concept he mentions) and some very safe me-too production designs from major brands.

Bangle on Geneva 2012 from Scuderia Zagreb on Vimeo.