That is a feature that will dramatically increase an novices operation of their boat. Heck I see a lot of long time boaters operating the boats at poor trim angles too jimh posted The emission levels are much improved.
Trends spread fast in the automotive design world, and when one large corporation owns many brands it can infiltrate across the range very rapidly.
Then in we have seen ever more extreme versions, but Audi seem to have slowly grown into this particular theme, only to abandon it perhaps with their latest styling statement.
The usual answer applies here and that is BMW of course. Let us start to analyse the technique I am writing about.
I noticed that the Passat had a very pronounced pinch shaped feature line, but the Cross Coupe has 4 of them along the front wing! The pinch I noticed in real life… 4 defined ridges, or pinched surfaces.
The technology involved is fairly new in car design terms and involves a deeper draw for the steel stamping tools that make car panels. The stylistic function is to create a shadow, and of course a strong highlight, to clearly define the shoulder of the car. The reason this feature has become popular I believe, is because cars are getting larger and customers demands are for more interior space.
Any angled surfaces reduce interior space, or make a car wider too wide. A flat sided car panel does not offer this. Early days of using an undercut gave a subtle clue as to why this feature has made a comeback.
A VW Passat is a great example as it has class leading interior space, simply huge, but has fairly ordinary external dimensions. To maintain a pleasing design, the designers must deploy some tricks. BMW established a long tradition of very handsome saloon cars, the E28 5-series is a great example.
On this car we can see a small, but very effective undercut. This is the early days of the pinched bodyside feature.
It gives a nicely angled to the sky upper shoulder, with a shadow emphasising the lower bodyside, and of course a strong horizontal feature that lengthens the whole car, adding elegance.
This helps us see progression, in one vehicle. You may need to zoom or enlarge the image above to see the profile shapes that the green lines describe. The surfacing is very simple, and quite soft in radii at changes of direction.
See how the upper facing shoulder blends into the main door profile, then it very steadily curves towards the sill. The only negative curvature comes where the flared wheel arches extend from the main body surface. Next silver car we can see a small but significant tightening of the radii and surface definition.
The sill position is further out, and the wheel arches have grown wider too. A minimalistic and sharply defined design. Onto the 3rd generation and Audi are at this point trying to inject a little more dynamism and sportiness into their cars oh dear.
They do this by going wide and low. The 3rd gen car is very wide and surfaces flare a lot towards the lower body. The door protecting body side strip is now out of fashion and we all end up with dented doors? Can you see the very small undercut there? A negative curvature surface, under that main shoulder surface change.
The wheel arches are getting very flared now, like a sportscar. The latest Audi A6 is again evolutionary from the previous version, but the key part that has grown, is the pinch! The surface flows negatively concave into the base of the windows. Insanely sharp surface edges!
The Cross Coupe at the top of the post has so many of these as I mentioned.Fast forward 20 years or more, and BMW under Chris Bangle really set the formula for current car design, so of course the revival and exaggeration of that undercut began with his BMW 1-series of BMWs still suffer from Chris Bangle's legacy of flame surfacing.
Personally, I think the Macan is a much sharper interpretation than the Cayenne. Tessa's design is blander and doesn't really have a brand specific cue other than that horrendous nose. In fact, the 1-Series' looks like a trash-compacted 3-Series coupe.
Yes, the i continues Chris Bangle's axles of power flame-surfaced design theme (and how). And yes, some elements are distinctly appealing. The base of the rear pillar, for example, has a lovely retro curve to it. Chris Bangle may have been maligned for a good deal during his tenure at BMW, but there are some things one can never quite forgive.
(c) RAC All evolutionary pathways have their variances, those points of deviation from the natural course, most of which lead to dead-ends.
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