- Volkswagen Arteon: Regular readers of these Hits and Misses columns (hi, Mom!) will know I've been hard on VW's tepid styling of late. Someone, somewhere at VW agrees, as evidenced by the new VW Arteon. Finally, a VW that doesn't make you feel like you need a handful of NoDoz every time you look at it. The design is bold, sleek and yet unlike anything else on the road; that's a rare feat in these days of derivation and compromise. Plus, hiding under all those adjectives is a hatchback with gobs of trunk space. How delightfully European. This is the kind of stuff VW needs to be filling our lives with, not excess NOx.
Geneva's hits and misses
- Mercedes-AMG GT Concept: Mercedes' hot-headed division used Geneva to debut this four-door hybrid coupe that it says foreshadows the division's third stand-alone model. The front of the concept is pretty cool, but toward the back the design becomes slippery and vague. Things get worse in the details, which make the car look like it contracted something from the nearby Mansory stand. The chromed out wheels are tacky; you could smell their cologne 10 feet away. And the center-mounted exhaust protuberance can't appropriately be described here because we're a family publication. In all, the car comes across as a Russian oligarch's fantasy car, which makes this a firm nyet in my book.
- European aftermarket tuners: Speaking of oligarchs, just how many were expected to attend this year's show? I ask because dotting the convention floor were numerous aftermarket Euro tune houses locked in a battle for who could nauseate quickest and eliminate all taste and sense from very expensive cars. Common themes by companies such as Mansory, Tech-art, Hamann and Fab Design seemed to be "Why have one lip spoiler on your Range Rover when you can have 13?"; "This abominable bumper package will go great with your chest hair and gold chains"; and "All Ferraris are meant to have diffusers that look like Bane's mouthpiece in Batman." Just be glad these are rarely seen in the U.S. You'd need an ocean's worth of distance to forget them.
- McLaren 720S eyes: Make no mistake: This sleek new supercar has plenty to drool over. There's the 710-hp bit, the glass canopy roof, the new carbon fiber tub. The kids tell me the retractable digital instrument panel and a slide bar in the nav screen to control the car's drift angle are cool. McLaren also saw fit to make some more changes with the 720S' styling after hearing complaints about the unexciting look of the 12C and to a lesser extent 650S. Thus we get sultry body panels that do away with the now-common air intakes ahead of the rear wheels on most cars of this ilk. But the lights, man, the lights. They're weird. They make the car look like it put on too much mascara and then went for a run in a rainstorm. So close!
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