When it launched in 2007, the R8 had a significant impact in establishing Audi's premium-brand credentials. For the second generation of its flagship model, given the success of the previous car, Audi has opted for an understandably evolutionary approach to the car's overall form.
Measuring 4,420mm long, 1,940mm high and 1,240mm wide, the new car is very similarly sized to its predecessor, with the most major change being that the body is 36mm wider. The lower mask features a wider, more upright version of Audi's trapezoidal grille, while the horizontal grille elements in each air intake are swapped for vertical ones which index with the DRLs in the new car's LED lamps.
As before, the car features a clamshell hood, but the crease that used to run over the front and rear fenders, joining on the bodyside with a horizontal line has been ditched. Instead, the car's length is emphasized more overtly by running the upper-door surface through to the car's rear, splitting the sideblade graphic in two.
The car's rear gets a much more prominent rear diffuser, while the previous car's twin circular exhaust exits are swapped for trapezoids, in-keeping with the more angular graphics used throughout.
Inside, Audi has adopted a driver-focused theme for the IP; much like a McLaren 650S. To that end, controls for the start button, driving modes and sports exhaust have been moved to the steering wheel, while the infotainment moves from the center stack to a TT-style 12.3-inch digital gauge pack. The previous R8's striking gear shifter design has also been revised, making way for a chunkier, T-shaped item.
Following the Prologue coupé unveiled at the 2014 LA Auto Show, and a slightly more refined autonomous version of that car shown at the 2015 CES in Las Vegas, Audi will debut the Prologue Avant at the Geneva Motor Show.
Measuring 5,110mm long, 1,970mm wide and 1,400mm high, it's 10mm longer, 20mm wider and 10mm taller than the coupé. However, the wheelbase is now 100mm longer, at 3,040mm, to accommodate the extra set of doors and two, individual rear chairs inside.
Aside from the longer roof and very fast D-pillar, the Prologue Avant offers a subtle development of the themes established on the coupé. Key elements are carried over, including the low, wide grille and pronounced wheelarches designed to communicate the presence of the four-wheel drive Quattro system lurking underneath.
However, the new car does display new details, including a neat reference to the front grille below the exhaust tips and the integration of fuel-filler flaps into the bodyside that were embedded in the C-pillars on the coupé.
Inside, Audi has experimented with rich materials, including aluminum and alcantara, and a more sombre blue and brown colorway. The addition of two rear chairs has allowed for even higher levels of technology to be employed, too. Rear-seat passengers also get a bendable OLED screen located on the floating center console that runs between the seats. The rear-seat backs can be reclined, and the bend of the screen reflects this angle, ensuring the screen is always ergonomically optimized. The concept also features a curved version of the removable Audi tablets that debuted in the Q7 SUV.
The third generation of Volkswagen's C-segment minivan will make its debut at the Geneva Motor Show. As with the new Golf, the Touran uses the VW Group's flexible MQB architecture to allow improved proportions and a larger overall size when compared to its predecessor. The larger dimensions also help ensure greater design differentiation between the five-seat Golf Sportsvan and Touran than previously.
The interior is essential to the success of a minivan. The new Touran has five or seven-seat configurations, each with seats that have been redesigned to improve ease of ingress and egress and help increase headroom in all three rows, despite the fact that the car is 6mm lower than before , at 1,628mm. All but the driver's seat fold flat, too, offering significant luggage space, while an increase in wheelbase of 113mm, taking the total to 2,791mm, also helps interior space.
The IP is subtly angled towards the driver, with high-set air vents on the driver's side adding a hint of sportiness, while the Touran gets the familiar wing graphic that runs right across the IP of all its recent designs. However, true to its purpose, the Touran's IP is really about storage, with two glove compartments and a dash-top storage area all neatly integrated.
The exterior successfully expands on themes introduced on the Golf Sportsvan, with a nose dominated by a host of width-enhancing horizontal lines and slender high-tech lamps. A pronounced character line runs the length of the car, and is smartly integrated into the rear lamps.
The Touran is 4,527mm long, 130mm more than its predecessor, but the character line also visually lengthens the car, and underscores the relatively horizontal beltline that allows for refreshingly large side windows.
Aston Martin has offered a glimpse of its future design direction with the unveiling of its new Vulcan track-only supercar. The car will make its static debut at Geneva, and then will run demonstration laps at this year's Le Mans 24-hour race in June.
A run of 24 cars is being produced. Each will cost £1.8million, or around $2.8million, and sales will be taken care of through Aston's bespoke VIP service, which will allow buyers 'almost infinitely flexible' options in terms of color and trim. Also included are a host of on and off-track driver training activities, plus the option of using bare carbon body panels when the car is used on track, preserving the owner's bespoke chosen colorway.
The car's body includes a number of traditional Aston Martin design features that have been subject to some re-imagination. The nose features a familiarly shaped grille frame that floats above a horizontal carbon splitter; and is also devoid of a neon highlight in a change from Aston's current colorway trends. The crease that runs above the lamps and doesn't index with the grille is similar to that seen on the DB10, built to appear in James Bond's next movie.
Likewise, the front fender vent is present, but it now runs directly from the front wheelarch, while the rear lamps retain their familiar shape, but now comprise two sets of 27 individual LEDs. The track-focus of the car is evident, with an aggressive aero package, comprising large wing, rear diffuser and side-exit exhausts, that's familiar from Aston's World Endurance Cars.
The interior has been designed with ergonomics in mind, with Aston's design department using works driver Darren Turner as a consultant. This has resulted in slender rollcage bars running directly in-line with the A-pillars, for maximum visibility, reduced controls and a cut-off steering wheel to allow and unobscured view of the gauge pack.
Increasing numbers of crossovers mean you'd be forgiven for forgetting about the traditional three-box sedan. In order to ensure its new Optima, due next year, is suitably embedded in the collective consciousness, Kia has elected to preview its new D-segment model with a wagon.
Called the Sportspace, the stridently-colored concept was designed at Kia's studio in Frankfurt, Germany by a team headed by the firm's chief designer Europe, Gregory Guillaume. The car's nose is an evolution of today's Optima, albeit with a narrower version of the company tiger-nose grille and its metal finish redistributed from the outline of the grille to the leading edge of the hood.
In profile, the surfaces are kept simple, while the roofline does appear lower thanks to the application of a further metal strip that runs over the DLO. The Sport theme is played up at the rear, with a carbon-look insert, twin-exhaust exists and a pair of vents giving the concept a hint of Ferrari FF – surely one of the stronger associations for a wagon design.
The interior looks closer to home, with the form of the floating IP and center console akin to the GT4 Stinger concept shown at last year's Detroit show. However, details play-up the car's long-distance touring ability, including the textured leather on the seats and balls mounted in the luggage space to allow bags to be slid into position more easily.
Skoda's angle-inflected design language has reached its zenith with the unveiling of a new version of its flagship Superb. As seen on the smaller Octavia, Fabia and Rapid models, the brand's form language has established a look that's deliberately restrained, with the more unusual details seen on earlier models (think Roomster, original Yeti) are out of favor. Hence the previous Superb's 'twin door' tailgate – that opened both as a sedan and a liftback – has been replaced by a more conventional hatchback this time.
However while this move may remove a layer of flexibility, it does appear to have a favorable impact on the proportions, allowing for a faster slope to the rear screen. The new car is similar in length to its predecessor, but the wheelbase is now 80mm longer and the front overhang has been reduced by 69mm, giving a much more impressive 'premium distance' between front axle and windscreen base.
Given the sheer number of sharp creases and striking surfaces, the Superb appears more like a delicate work of origami than simply an intricate blend of metal and plastics. Folds in the front bumper appear impressively precise, while the new lamps are a step forward in terms of their high-tech, fluted look.
Aside from being class-leading in its shear enormity, the Superb's cabin appears rational, with a clear emphasis on solid forms – big, square seat bases, strong horizontal lines. If this is combined with another step forward in quality, we're keen to discover exactly how close in look and feel the materials are to a new Volkswagen Passat – loser than ever, we might wager.