Detroit Auto Show: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly [w/ poll]

Here’s our take on the hits and misses of the Detroit Auto Show, make sure to let us know what you thought in the poll and the comments section!

BMW 5-series


Bart: Hit

Packed with new technology and undoubtedly again being one of the best driving sedans in its class, the new 5-Series will (depending on your personal preferences) either come close to or beat the standard set by the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class. But where the E-Class was mostly criticised for looking too much like its larger and smaller siblings, the 5-Series looks too much like the previous model. Did I miss the news that BMW hired a former Volkswagen designer? However, this doesn’t mean I don’t like its looks. With the right (M-Sport?) bodykit and wheels and a color a bit more inspiring than the obbligato fifty shades of grey, blue or black, this can be a very desirable looking car that will remain the obvious choice for the decreasing number of luxury buyers who still prefer a sedan over an SUV.

Kriss: So-so

I agree with pretty much everything Bart said, and yet I still can’t rate the BMW a “Hit”. Why is that? Objectively, the car has everything going for it – technology, BMW’s legendary chassis tuning, straight-six engines, and a smart and light construction (recently read a comparison test with the E-class, and saw that the 4wd 530d xDrive is 100kg lighter than the 2wd E-class 350d). However, subjectively the car is lacking that certain “want it” factor – the one that made the E34 and E39 generations so achingly desirable, no matter what specification or color they were in. While the E-class boast a stunning interior, the BMW looks too much like its predecessor inside; to me this is especially disappointing given that BMW showed us with the i3 and i8 of creating genuinely stunning interiors. Call it a case of sky-high expectations, but the new 5-series is just not a “Hit” to me.

Continue Reading …

LA Auto Show: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly [w/ poll]

Alfa Romeo Stelvio

Bart: hit

As far as I’m concerned, they absolutely nailed this one. If the Giulia has a somewhat anonymous rear end, the Stelvio is original and great looking from all angles. Perhaps the rear overhang is a bit too much and the rear 3/4 a tad too rounded, but from the front 3/4 it looks very squat and the QV even aggressive. I love the full rear view and the shape of the C-pillar, not to mention the interior.

Kriss: hit

The expectations for the Stelvio may not have been as sky-high as those for its Giulia sister, but it’s fair to say the SUV was the most anticipated premiere of the show. The good news for the Alfistas is that the Stelvio delivers where it matters: as Bart mentioned, it looks good for the most part, promises a very dynamic drive, and comes topped with a 500hp+ halo model. What’s not to like?

Continue Reading …

Paris Auto Show premieres: Hot or Not?

Paris-Auto-Show-2016Next weeks the doors of the oldest auto show in the world will open its doors to the public again: the biennial Paris Auto Show. Despite breaking through the 1 million visitors barrier the last time around in 2014, a number of brands have cancelled their stands this year, most notably Ford, Mazda and Volvo, but also many exotic brands: Aston Martin, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini and Rolls-Royce. Still, there’s plenty of news with 4 major premieres and a bunch of interesting concept cars. Bart and Kriss will give their vote of Hot or Not to the most relevant of them. Let us know what you think in the comment section below.

Audi_Q5-paris-auto-show-premiereAudi Q5

After 8 years it’s time to replace the very successful Audi Q5, and why change a winning formula? As we’ve come to expect from Audi, the design of the new Q5 is very evolutionary, with the overall shape staying the same, but a stronger and more swooping crease in the sides and a more pronounced grille. The Q5 sheds some weight compared to the outgoing version and the interior is even more refined.

Bart: So-so

It’s not ugly like the Q2 and Q7, what was good in the old Q5 has been left alone and they’ve improved the things I didn’t like too much. Impressive how an 8-year old design needs just such subtle changes to remain fresh. But it’s just not very sexy or mindblowing, so I struggle to call it Hot.

Kriss: Hot

It’s no secret that I am a fan of evolutionary design, something that’s normal for most high-end consumer products (think appliances, fountain pens, Apple products, eyewear) but somehow gets lambasted for cars. The new Q5 is a perfect example of that – it takes what was good about the previous model (stance, proportions, gently bulging fenders) and gives it a more modern touch with sharper creases, a clamshell bonnet, and Audi’s new “3D” grille it now gives its crossovers. That it’s lighter and roomier is just the icing on top of the cake.

Continue Reading …

New York Auto Show 2016: Hits and Misses [w/ poll]

The 2016 New York Auto Show has started, and while it’s not as important as the show in Detroit, nor as West-Coast flashy as the show in LA, a handful of automakers still picked it to reveal their new or updated models, or concepts of upcoming models. We’ve picked the 7 most significant ones and compared notes. Let us know what you think of them in the comments below.

Acura MDX facelift


Bart: Miss

I’m glad they finally ditched the chrome shield in the grille, but the downside is that the MDX has become even more anonymous than it was before. Acura’s design is apparently going the complete opposite of that of Lexus, who are getting more extreme with every launch. That probably makes the MDX the perfect minivan-that’s-not-a-minivan, so they’ll probably continue to sell a ton of them. They also have a hybrid now, with the same system as the NSX. The MDX surely has a lot of good things going for it, otherwise it wouldn’t be the #2 of its segment. And yes, the Q7 is shockingly awful and Mercedes hasn’t gotten the styling quite right in any of the ML/GLE generations, but I think the X5 beats the MDX in styling, even if for the simple fact that it actually gets noticed.

Kriss: Hit

It’s funny, you say “Miss”, but I read a lot of good things: “ditched the chrome shield grille”, “perfect minivan-that’s-not-a-minivan”, “hybrid with the same system as the NSX”. I had a soft spot for the MDX Mk II, and while the new model is not quite as muscular-looking as that, I think the facelift makes it into a rather handsome car, better-looking than any of the German trio (Q7, X5 and ML). In my mind Acura would do best to emulate the inoffensive Audis of late 1990s/early 2000s, and this fits the bill perfectly.

Continue Reading …

Poll result: Audi Q2 was your most disappointing production car of Geneva 2016!

Audi Q2

To no one’s surprise our readers have named the Audi Q2 the most disappointing production car of Geneva 2016. Of course, this is not the same thing as calling the Q2 a “bad” car – Audi is probably incapable of making a car that’s outright bad right now – rather, it’s a car that could have, or even should have been so much better. With a styling that’s both conservative and seemingly under-resolved, a standard 5-door body and size that positions it alongside the older, but arguably more attractive Q3, and a complete lack of a “want it” factor, the Q2 seems like a giant missed opportunity for Audi to, for once, get ahead of their arch-rivals at BMW and Mercedes-Benz.… Continue Reading …

Poll result: Alfa Romeo Giulia is your production car of Geneva 2016!

When we asked you what your top production cars of Geneva 2016 were we knew the Alfa Romeo Giulia would be somewhere close to the top, but given that the car had been shown a while back (albeit in Quadrifoglio form) we did not think it would top the list. So color us surprised when the Giulia not only took top spot, but was the only car to have figured in more than half of the respondents’ top-5 lists! Now, it will be fascinating to see whether all this anticipation translates into success in the marketplace.… Continue Reading …

Poll: what were your 5 biggest concept car disappointments in Geneva 2016?

Following articles on our Top 5 concept cars, as well as our 5 biggest concept car disappointments, as well as a poll asking you about your 5 top concept cars, it’s time for the final poll: which concept cars from Geneva were you most disappointed with?

Also, don’t forget to let us know what you thought of the production cars in geneva:

Continue Reading …

Poll: what were your top 5 concept cars in Geneva 2016?

Following articles on our Top 5 concept cars, as well as our 5 biggest concept car disappointments, now we’d like to hear what you thought the concept stars of the show were!

Don’t forget to let us know what you thought of the production cars in geneva:

Continue Reading …

Geneva 2016: 5 biggest concept cars disappointments

#5 Nissan Qashqai & X-Trail Premium

Nissan Premium Concepts

Why are they here? They’re just like Ford’s sad Vignale line, and that’s enough words wasted on these cars…

Continue Reading …

Geneva 2016: Top 5 concept cars

#5 Abarth 124 Spider Rally

Abarth 124 Spider Rally

Why is it here? This was not a great show for concept cars, but the rally version of the already-lovable 124 Spider did just enough to make me smile, looking back to the day when rally cars were all rear-wheel-drive, light and insanely hard to snowy Monte Carlo.

Continue Reading …