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Frankfurt Motor Show 2005 - Highlights
 What we've seen • Our photos and comment

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Citroën C-Sportlounge concept

Lower, sportier and with a great stance, the new C-Sportlounge is so much nicer than the C-Airlounge shown at Frankfurt in 2003. The concept is more appealing too – a 2+2 coupe-station wagon with barn doors and ultra-low Cd figure.

The C-Sportlounge is a great example of Citroën's determined effort to offer different, yet well executed design. There's some lovely exterior detailing too – note the original use of chrome 'side pipes' in the sill that visually link to the exhaust outlets and front bumper garnish, or the entertaining chrome whisker that feeds off the front lamps and up the door pillar.

Opening the doors reveals a dramatic interior, dominated by thick, bolstered seats trimmed with strongly pleated bronze leather. It's a complex, very masculine look. Concealed yellow LED lighting in the doors adds to the mystery of the cabin.

Citroën seems to be finding its way with these concepts and if the Picasso and other forthcoming production models can retain this design theme they're going to be very strong contenders in the market.

Related Stories:
Frankfurt Motor Show 2003 - Citroën C-Airlounge concept

Jaguar XK

Technically this is an impressive car - an all-aluminium body, deployable pop-up hood for pedestrian impact and advanced electronics including touch screen menu for most cabin functions.

The doe-eyed expression to the face and smaller mouth compared to the old model both contribute to a 'gentle' impression to the front end, which seems slightly at odds with the sportiness seen in the rest of the design. “My favorite view is the rear, where the tautness and mechanical purpose of the design are most evident” says Ian Callum, Director of Design. Other notable points include the deep tailgate, emphasizing the 'two golf sets' practicality of the XK, which Jaguar sees as a unique advantage against key competitors.

While it's undoubtedly a handsome car, it's slightly disappointing if this is truly the 'next big thing' for Jaguar.

Related Stories:
Detroit Auto Show 2005 - Jaguar ALC concept

Mazda Sassou

Talking with J Mays earlier in the day, he points to the Sassou as an illustration of how Mazda has stolen a march on other Japanese car brands with a consistent design identity that with is now being progressed to adopt a distinctively Japanese aesthetic also. Designed at Mazda's European design studio in Frankfurt, the Sassou is very much a western perspective of Japanese design in contrast to the small coupe Kusabi concept car two years ago that was wholly Japanese.

The coupe style three door hatchback design is defined by a series of slash lines that demark the A-pillar that runs to the rear of the roof, the tailgate shut that runs in profile all the way down through the car, the two consistently subtle but strong side feature lines that cleverly connect the front and rear elements also, and the lamp graphics.

The interior does not have the same design identity or slash line theme, but is arguably even more impressive with the minimalist instrument dial and centre console pushing out through the IP, and the muted cool green and off white colour scheme. Maybe Mr Mays has a point…

Opel Antara concept

The Antara is an SUV concept that previews the likely design direction that the forthcoming Frontera will take. It is the first concept car to emerge from Opel under Bryan Nesbitt, Executive Director, GM Design Europe, but unusually (and impressively) builds on much of the elements established under his predecessor Martin Smith which are evident in the last Opel show car; the Insignia from 2003.

Overall the Antara is a handsome design that looks like it will translate into a production design with broad market appeal. But it is also one of the most generic concept cars of the show with a lot of plan shape, dynamically sweeping DLO, a diving side feature line that finishes at an air outlet behind the front wheel arch, coupesque C-pillar and small rear tailgate, and complex lamp can internals. All of these elements are typical of recent concepts cars, not least the Mitsubishi Concept Sports and Ford Iosis also shown at Frankfurt. Lets hope the next Opel concept has a little more fresh input from its new design chief.

Renault Egeus

The Egeus is a crossover hatchback SUV with a 3.0-liter V6 diesel and 4WD. The styling theme builds on previous Wind and Fluence concepts, with a soft flowing line on the bodyside and sill, combined with a new face of stacked headlamps plus air intakes at the sides. New motifs include the fashionable boomerang-shaped LED lamp graphics front and rear. The trunk features a neat split-level opening with an upper hatch and motorized lower section that includes a sliding tray for loading bulky objects.

The interior develops ideas seen in the Fluence, with a 'manta ray' theme to the IP and large central tunnel crested with typically tasteful Renault detailing. This aquatic theme is further evoked by the blue-tinted leather and transparent roof. Access to the car is notably easy thanks to lack of a B-Pillar and four separate seats that can rotate outwards and simultaneously sink by 70mm. The car sits on 22” Montupet alloy wheels and new Michelin low-friction tyres.

Ford Galaxy

Ford unveiled the second-generation Galaxy today at the Frankfurt show. This full size MPV is the first realisation of Ford's emerging 'Kinetic Design' philosophy displayed on the Iosis, although the Galaxy was penned long before the Iosis showcar. First impressions are of a more premium positioned model than before - as befits the Galaxy's place as Ford's top model in Europe - and a high quality interior.

Although visually similar to the Geneva SAV concept, the production Galaxy is larger than the forthcoming SAV model. Key elements used on the Galaxy include the strongly sculpted bodysides and the trapezoid shapes used in the headlamps, taillamps, side DLO and door mirrors.

The seven-seat interior features 3rd row seats that fold into the trunk floor and slide/fold 2nd row seats. The Galaxy will be built at Ford's Genk plant in Belgium.

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© 2005 Car Design News Ltd
Last updated: Tue, Sep 20, 2005