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Hyundai HCD8 concept

Hyundai’s new $30 million Irvine design studio showed a new 2+2 coupe concept finished in a vibrant new colour – Ballistic Yellow.

Based on the Tiburon platform, the designers pushed the front axle forward 100mm to get a more classic stance for the concept and improve access for rear passengers.

“We wanted to use simple and elegant surfaces, a little less romantic than current Hyundais” explains Chief Designer Joel Piaskowski. “This is a car for professionals who are passionate about transportation”. The result combines a very muscular, solid form, relieved by sharp crease lines on the lower bodyside and fender tops. The front face is based on the Elantra ‘frown’ expression, but updated and pushed more aggressive.

The interior is finished in light grey accented with wood and aluminium and features wood flooring. Dimensions are: length 4326mm, width 1822mm, height 1340mm, wheelbase 2633mm. NH

2005 Pontiac G6

One of the things that Bob Lutz wasn't particularly enchanted with when he reviewed the Pontiac portfolio a couple years ago was the proliferation of plastic cladding. The sheetmetal seemed to be nothing more than a platform upon which to affix things. But those days are gone, and the G6 sedan is testimony to a clear, sharper look for what is ostensibly GM's 'performance division.' There is a single narrow trim piece on the side doors with the hint of a slant that echoes the belt line. There is a forward motion or wedge-like angle to the stance; the sharply sloped A-pillars drive the car toward the pavement in a way that's uncharacteristic for what could be a grocery hauler (the G6 is the replacement for the mid-market Grand Am). The signature twin-port grille is optimized through the use of chrome surrounds and galvanized steel mesh center sections.

Based on the Epsilon platform that has also yielded the Opel Vectra, Saab 9-3, and Chevy Malibu, the vehicles setup and suspension are biased toward the first two: more of a European approach than middle American. There is a MacPherson strut design in the front and a four-link independent suspension in the rear. The G6 has a 112 inch wheelbase, which makes it bigger than anything in its class. Also large is the four-panel sliding glass 'Panoramic' roof. GV

Ferrari 612 Scaglietti

A new Ferrari is always a cause for celebration and is eagerly anticipated by designers and enthusiasts the world over. The new 612 certainly doesn’t disappoint in terms of specification: designed by Pininfarina, with a 5.7 liter V12 and 540ps, rear-mounted 6-speed transaxle and a beautifully-finished interior.

This replacement for the 456 2+2 coupe is named in honour of Sergio Scaglietti, the superb body craftsman whose company built such legends as the 250 GT Lusso, 206 Dino and Daytona. However, one wonders if Sig. Scaglietti would be so proud of the aluminium body of the new 612. It hurts to say this but on the display model the concave side scallop appears to have major problems of surfacing and even the burgundy red colour didn’t seem to suit it. Unfortunately, the contrast with the laser-crisp surfaces and shutlines of the yellow Lamborghini Gallardo standing next door couldn’t be more obvious. NH

2005 Scion tC

In June, the Gen Y-oriented Scion marque from Toyota will be rolled out throughout the US. And alongside the xA hatch and the xB, er, box, there will be the tC coupe. The completely remarkable aspect of this vehicle is that it is going to be available for "well under $20,000." Which needs to be taken into account when considering the fact that it is equipped with a panoramic glass moonroof, interior details such as dampers on moving parts and a bona fide cast aluminum temperature gauge knob, and a low-gloss IP plastic that is meant to resemble the texture of Japanese paper. These guys are working it.

Based on the European Avensis platform, the vehicle sits low and long with a wheelbase of 106.3 inches, height of 55.7 inches, and width of 69.1 inches. The sheet metal is clean, without superfluous cladding. The wheel arches are well-defined around the 17-inch graphite-appearance alloy wheels, providing a sense of confidence. The front fascia has a split grille, with the upper portion carrying the Scion badge.

Under the long hood is a 2.4-liter 160hp engine, and anticipating that the market might want more, there is a dealer-installed supercharger package that boosts power to the 200-hp vicinity.

The rear seats are 60/40 folding, and fold flat to take loads such as an 8.5-foot surfboard. If you're rolling with folks in the rear, there is the ability to recline the rear seats by 45-degrees.

Although some people find the Gen Y-focused messaging to be loud and disturbing, that's nothing to how set back on their heels a number of automakers will be as they recognize what Scion is doing wit a product like the tC. Beyond marketing, they're making it with product. GV

Mitsubishi Eclipse Concept-E

The Concept-E is a study for a future Eclipse sports coupe from Mitsubishi’s California studio. Interestingly, the dimensions are nearly identical to the Hyundai HCD8 but the styling theme and proportions are quite opposite. The cab forward layout, short overhangs and softly sculptured body create a monolithic form quite new to Mitsubishi. The car also features plasma running lights and taillights and neon crackle-tube brake lights.

Inside, Concept-E utilizes a new 'Deep Video Imaging' instrumentation display system to give a futuristic look to the sporty interior design, including a plasma read-out to indicate when the car’s hybrid motor is operating.

The Concept-E is powered by a 3.8-liter V6 engine generating 269ps to drive the front wheels plus a 150kW electric motor to drive front and rear wheels.

Dimensions are: length 4318mm, width 1857mm, height 1304mm, wheelbase 2635mm. NH

Photos: Brett Patterson

Lexus GS

Lexus is using the NAIAS to preview the 2006 GS range. This sedan is the strongest expression yet of the new Lexus “L-Finesse” design philosophy, including the long cabin proportion and “slingshot DLO” motif. When viewed in the flesh the new GS has a great subtlety of form that’s not immediately apparent from photos, particularly in the hood and fender treatment which use clean surfaces and crisp feature lines.

Most unusually, both exterior and interior were designed by the same designer, Yasuhide Hosoda. The interior introduces new design treatments such as an intriguing thin flat veneered console which is juxtaposed with thin curved veneer on the door panels.

The car is bristling with new technology including a Pre-Collision System (PCS), tire pressure monitoring, keyless entry, rear back-up camera and adaptive front lighting. It will also feature 4WD for first time in a Lexus. NH

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Copyright © 2004 Car Design News, Inc.
Last updated: Wed, Jan 21, 2004