Zagato has released renders and sketches of the Maserati Mostro coupé that will make its debut at the Concorso d'Eleganze Villa d'Este in Italy this weekend. Designed to coincide with Maserati's centenary year, the Mostro takes inspiration from the Maserati 450 S Coupé Zagato "Monster", designed in 1957 by British automotive engineer Frank Costin, and built in Italy to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The original Monster had extremely dramatic proportions, with its very powerful (for the time) 400hp V8 mid-front mounted under the huge hood, while the driver was pushed right back into the car's short tail to ensure the weight distribution was at its best.
Zagato's homage to that car adopts similar proportions: its long hood hides a race-derived Maserati V8. The oversized pontoon fenders channel some of the drama of the original, too, leading back to the panoramic windscreen. The designers opted for fixed glass in the doors, affording more freedom for their shape, while the doors themselves are top-hinged to allow easier access to the cabin – the car is built using a carbon tub with high sills, while all the bodywork is carbon fiber, too.
Five examples of the Mostro will be made and each has already been sold to specially-selected Zagato collectors. The cars will be delivered by December 2015, ensuring that each reaches its new owner before the end of Maserati's anniversary year.
Our full report from this year's Concorso d'Eleganze Villa d'Este is coming soon.
Over the past 47 years, Toyota's HiLux has gained a reputation for functional dependability no matter what the terrain. Replicating that for an eighth generation model is tricky enough, but the brief for Toyota's design team this time also asked for extra comfort and luxury; traits that aren't always complimentary to the HiLux's rugged, no-nonsense billing.
At 5335mm long, 1855mm wide and 1820mm tall, with a 3085mm wheelbase, the double-cab version of the new car is 70mm longer, 20mm wider and a little lower than the current HiLux. Bearing in mind the need to combine luxury and toughness, the new car gets LED headlamps, and wheelarch extensions that are now integrated into the fender surfaces.
Functional features include edges of the lower mask that are tucked in to improve approach angles, while the rear bumper now has a lower step to improve access to the reinforced load space.
The more significant change has been to the cabin. For the first time, Toyota appointed a passenger car chief engineer, Hiroki Nakajima, to lead the interior of the HiLux. Nakajima was the chief engineer of the iQ subcompact, and insisted on a new, slimmer seat design to increase leg and shoulder room, and increase the range of adjustment for different shapes and sizes of passenger.
Although the basic layout of the IP is similar, a large touchscreen, much more modern gauge pack and extra gloss black and chrome trim add some of the luxury touches Toyota specified. However, at first glance, the much more car-like cabin does appear to have lost many of the oddment stowage areas that added convenience to the old truck's interior.
The Renault Kwid concept was unveiled at the 2014 New Delhi Motor Show; the first time the firm had ever debuted a new showcar outside Europe. And, as Renault continues its efforts to sell more cars outside its home region, the production Kwid has just been launched, again in India, where it will also be built.
The Kwid is an A-segment hatchback that measures 3680mm long and 1580mm wide, making it marginally taller (thanks to its 180mm ground clearance) and narrower than the recently-launched Twingo. However, the Kwid will be sold in emerging markets, while the Twingo is resolutely European.
Although badged Renault, as the Dacia brand isn't sold in India, the horizontal upper edge to the lamps and grille gives a face that's reminiscent of the Sandero supermini. The bodyside surfacing has more movement than the Dacia, however, and includes the lower graphic seen on the Clio and Captur that visually slims the car in profile.
SUV influences are prevalent, including the robust nature of the grille and the squared-off wheelarches clad in black plastic. The integration of the turn signal into the front arch is a neat take on the arch keystones that feature on cars like the Range Rover Evoque.
The interior design was worked on at Renault's Indian studio, and offers a clean and simple IP. The seven-inch infotainment touchscreen on high-end models is a rarity in a car in this market segment, as is the chrome trim that links with the C-shaped chrome graphic in each headlamp. The retro-digital gauge pack features bright yellow dials that link the production car with the concept.
Although the latest sixth-generation Camaro shares nothing but the bowtie logo mounted on the trunk lid with its predecessor, the design of Chevrolet's 2016 Camaro has kept close to the formula established by the outgoing model.
At 4784mm long, 1897mm wide and 1348mm high, with a 2811mm wheelbase, the new Camaro is a little smaller in every dimension than the car it replaces. But the proportions and graphics remain similar – Chevrolet describes it as an "amplification" of the design of its predecessor.
The full-width grille, inspired by the original '60s model, is present again. However, the lamps (now LED on higher-end models) and grille are narrower to help give the impression of a low, wide stance. The hood has acquired more complex surfacing, too, adding some visual muscle to counter any perception that the car is down on power if you opt for the new 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine.
It's a similar story at the rear, with more complex rear bumper surfacing and slimmed-down lamps. The car's width is again emphasized by more overt rear arches, while the muscle comes from the cutout that runs around the DLO and double-bubble roof that Chevrolet claims increases strength while also cutting weight.
The interior retains the double-barrel gauge pack theme of the fifth-generation car, although this is now digital on high-end models and incorporates the four gauges that were located in the center stack last time around.
The center infotainment screen is now larger, meaning the two center airvents drop below the screen instead of being located above it. Instead of having HVAC button controls, the temperature is adjusted by rotating the bezel of each vent, while the fan speed is changed with a knob in its center. The parking brake is now electronic, freeing up space for cup holders in the center console.
The design team has also placed emphasis on customization, with many more exterior and interior colors to choose from, plus the option of LED interior ambient lighting that lets you choose from one of 24 colors.
The Citroën Aircross concept is the brand's affirmation of its intention to enter the mid-sized crossover/SUV market. And while its smaller C4 Cactus may be a Europe-only model, this car's launch at next month's Shanghai Motor Show demonstrates the desire to also enter the brand's largest market, China.
At 4588mm long, with a wheelbase of 2800mm, it's a little shorter than the Land Rover Discovery Sport and Audi Q5, despite its more rugged appearance. The exterior, by lead exterior designer Gregory Blanchet, is a mixture of now-familiar Citroën elements; the split-level lamps with dominant upper DRLs, a horizontal beltline and soft, full volumes with little surface decoration are mixed with robust, off-road-inspired details including chunky, plastic-shrouded tow hooks and lower body protection, as well as ‘Alloy Bumps'. The latter are a play on the Cactus' Air Bumps, but rather than squishy air-filled plastic pockets, here they're aluminum honeycomb to provide off-road protection along the rockers.
The concept builds on Citroën's exterior theme of functional graphics with the addition of 'Air Signs,' which are the chrome rings around each rear window. These perform the dual role of guiding the flow of air around the rear of the car, while also drawing attention to the rear seats – reinforcing the car's focus on Chinese-market preferences, rather than solely Europe as with the Cactus.
The Aircross interior features four 'king-size' seats with wraparound headrests finished in a retro woven fabric. The headrests also include individual speakers and microphones, allowing passengers to communicate in hushed tones. The car's grand touring ability is highlighted with the use of leather belts for the door pulls, glove compartment handle, center console and cupholders, recalling trunks or large suitcases.
The gauge pack and infotainment theme builds on the Cactus's digital gauge pack and center screen, replacing both with a pair of 12-inch HD displays. The vivid color choices for the gauges are noteworthy for breaking with automotive trends towards the skeuomorphic, while the center screen can be slid across to the passenger.
Citroën's decision to continue with the direction established by the Cactus is an encouraging one, and proof – we hope – that using strong design to sell cars is working. We look forward to seeing the Aircross for ourselves in China.
The Hyundai Enduro crossover concept has been unveiled at the firm's home motor show in Seoul, South Korea. Taking the form of a three-door crossover, the concept measures 4271mm long, 1852mm wide and 1443mm tall, and has a 2650mm wheelbase, making it a little larger, but with the same wheelbase, as the current Veloster.
The concept gives an idea of how Hyundai is likely to evolve its corporate trapezoidal grille, introducing curved edges to each of its faces. Two of its sides form tusk-like metallic graphics that flow out form the leading edge of the wheelarch cladding, while its bottom edge is removed completely, visually lowering the car despite its crossover pretentions.
The black wheelarch graphics are the most overt SUV reference, dominating the car's side profile and playing up the car's rally-raid inspiration that also informed its name. By way of subtle contrast, the roof rack is neatly integrated into the cant rails, while the C-pillars are technically flying buttresses, with a rear lamps running up their rear-most edges, and right across the upper edge of the tailgate.
Practical touches include a step integrated into the rocker, so that the roof rack is more easily reached, while the rear includes a draw storage area that pulls out of the bumper.
No pictures have been released of the interior so far.