Car Design News looks at some of the design stories that may have gone under the radar over the past week. Read on for new launches, production cuts and reveals expected at Geneva 

Happy Monday, did you miss our usual Friday round-up last week? Well, with our editors out travelling, so did we. The good news is that we now have a bumper edition for you – read on to catch up on some of the stories from around the industry.  

Next-gen Aston Vantage 

The design of the all-new Vantage has been ”refocused through a contemporary lens” and has been positioned as a driver’s car through and through. It is 30mm wider than the previous generation and has a much wider front grille to improve airflow. Chief creative officer Marek Reichman says the model’s performance credentials are reflected in the exterior design, “increasing its muscularity and sharpening its sculptural form.” It is also explicitly inspired by the One-77 concept shown back in 2015.  

Full release here

Renault Symbioz

Renault has teased a new C-segment compact family SUV, the Symbioz, which takes its name from a concept shown earlier in 2017, designed at the time by Stéphane Janin. We have very little to go on besides a cropped rear-end shot, but we do know this new model will be 4.41m long and weigh less than 1,500kg.

Full release here


The Symbioz will be revealed this Spring

Design-Engineering collaboration at Glasgow University 

Frank Stephenson’s design consultancy will work with the Glasgow School of Art to help nurture Product Engineering Design students. It will come as no surprise to hear that a keen emphasis will be on sketching. 

Full release here

Frank Stephenson Design @ GSA 2

Frank Stephenson at Glasgow School of Art

Mini Clubman production ends

With the Aceman on the way, previewed by a chunky new concept in May last year, the Clubman is on its way out. Production began in the UK back in 2007, so it is a significant departure for the portfolio.

Mini Clubman 04

The Mini Clubman has been phased out 

…but new Mini Cooper revealed

As one door closes, another opens. The fifth generation of the Mini Cooper has been revealed with a new, minimalist look as the brand looks to channel the design values of the original Mini.

The interior broadly follows the same ‘Charistmatic Simplicity’ theme, save for the supersized circular OLED display on the dash. However, design boss Oliver Heilmer says even this is inspired by the interior of the original Mini. Information such as speed and fuel consumption is shown at the top of the screen, while the main menu employs widgets for other features.

Full release here

Zeekr studio opens in Shanghai

Until now, Zeekr has been a product of Sweden, designed in-house at the Gothenburg campus by a fairly sizeable team. With a new studio in Shanghai, it will have a stronger link to its home market and it will be interesting to see how this influences future designs. The studio will be led by RCA alumnus Javier Garcia-Gallardo, who joined Geely Group in 2018. Zeekr is in the process of being separated from sister brand Lynk & Co, and design boss Stefan Sielaff has spoken to us about the process of managing that split. 

Full release here

Sergio da Silva head of interior design at Zeekr in Gothenburg 0071

Zeekr is adding Shanghai to its design network, expanding from Gothenburg 

A very purple Abarth 

Initial renders of the new 600e have been revealed, with a striking ‘Hypnotic Purple’ launch colour. The marketing department has clearly had fuun with this one, describing its “evil essence” and saying it will “leave fans speechless.” It looks to be a scaled-up 500X, perhaps significantly so given its 20-inch wheels. Another hot EV to add to what is a growing list

Full release here

Abarth 600e Purple render

Abarth 600e in Hypnotic Purple

A refreshed 5 Series Touring

The sixth-generation 5 Series wagon has been revealed in both ICE and electric i5 variants. It is longer, wider and taller than the previous generation, along with an almost three-metre wheelbase. Like the 4 Series, it carries new exterior lighting designs at the front and rear, while the kidney grille at the front is much taller. The gallery below shows how the Touring has evolved over the years. 

Full release here.

New MG3 at Geneva

Sketches from SAIC designer Zhang Yiwei preview the new MG3 hatchback to be revealed at Geneva 2024. Sketches should generally be taken with a pinch of salt as productioon requirements always dilute those aspirations slightly, but it looks to be much sleeker and more muscular than before. There is a hint of Vauxhall Astra GTC about it, but the light signature does seem to follow what was shown on the MG Cyberster.

Full release here

Skoda Octavia sketches 

The fourth-generation Octavia showcases new headlights, redesigned bumpers and an updated grille. The global premiere will be online on 14 February.

Full release here

Suzuki Swift turns 40 

Ahead of a new model due in a few months, Suzuki’s iconic hatchback has turned 40. First sold in Japan in 1983 under the Cultus name, it eventually became the Swift in 1985 and has since spanned five generations of design. 

Full release here.