Designer Henrik Fisker with the Aston Martin AMV8 concept.
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Aston Martin V8 Vantage
Aston Martin DB9
Mar 24, 2006 As part of our recent survey, we asked Car Design News readers to vote for their favourite current production car design. The response produced some fascinating results, with the Aston Martin V8 Vantage being voted the clear favourite from over a thousand responses. While other 'Best Design' contests are largely made up of votes from journalists, the voters for this survey were mostly automotive designers and students of car design.
The second-placed Mercedes CLS is in some respects an even more impressive result, given that it is a large four door sedan albeit one with some coupe DNA in its design. For it to score higher than its sports car siblings, the SLK, SL and SLR McLaren, is an impressive achievement. Similarly the high ranking of the BMW 5 Series, ahead of the sister 6-Series coupe and Z4 sports car, is a significant achievement.
European models dominated the results, with relatively few nominations for American or Japanese designs, despite 52% of votes being from the North America or Asia-Pacific regions. While this might reflect the higher presence of premium brands and more exotic models, it also suggests there's an ongoing respect for European automotive design that appeals to designers' sense of 'beauty' regardless of their nationality.
The top American score was for the Ford GT, followed by the Ford Mustang, whilst the best Japanese design was voted as the new Honda Civic 5-door ahead of the Infiniti G35 coupe and Nissan 350Z - and ahead of the Lamborghini Murcielago, Ferrari 430 and Bentley Continental GT another exceptionally impressive result for such a mainstream practical car.
Examining the results more closely by profession also throws up some revealing results. Looking solely at professional OEM automotive designers, the Mercedes CLS would have ranked first, followed by the Aston Martin V8 Vantage, with the BMW 5 Series and Aston Martin DB9 close behind. If we look only at design students however their clear preference for exotic sports cars is more marked with the Alfa Romeo Brera ranked in second place behind the Aston V8 and just ahead of the Mercedes CLS, and the wild Lamborghini Murcielago and Gallardo in fourth and fifth places respectively.
Other surprises of the survey included the low rating of Renault, Chrysler and Mazda models, perhaps reflecting the relatively unglamorous nature of their brands and production car line-up as opposed to their strong reputation for concept car design.