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Thursday, 30 November 2017

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OMG, I can’t believe that is not some accidental error, two or more photograhs accidentally joined. That ‘beak’ does not belong of the rest of the car, if it belongs on anything except perhaps a Marvel movie antagonist robot.
I think I have to see more pictures to even understand how it actually looks.

Wasn't there a time when several-if not all-of the Japanese car makers had design studios in the good old US for just this reason? I don't know if they still do or not. If they do then we have only ourselves to blame-if they don't it's time they opened those studios again.

This page has a picture which shows a bit clearer how the car’s front looks.
It does not make it pretty, mind.

http://www.motortrend.com/news/lexus-calls-three-row-2018-rx-l-one-l-vehicle/

A good read on car design is Peter Stevens's Facebook page (which should be accessible to people without a Facebook account), where every two weeks or so he'll pick some subject and write about it with a few photos or drawings to illustrate his point. For example, this week's essay is on whether a designer should do what they're told or what they think is right.

Peter Stevens is responsible for, among many other things, the McLaren F1 road car's design.

https://www.facebook.com/PeterStevensDesign/

If they decide to give this, or any of the other spindle grilled abominations they make, a name, at least one of them should be called the Lexus Lamprey.

Mike, I have an older LX and I love it. Nice to drive and all the toys. Besides the CD changer, It even has a tape player for my old self-made compilation tapes.
But, I have already told my wife that I would never buy a new one.
It is BUTT ugly.

That ugly gaping maw has trickled down to Toyota's lesser models. I'm glad I'm not the only one who shudders at the sight of the thing.

Very funny!
But you know,- and I didn't check, but there's a good chance that thing was styled in the good old US of A!

"[The] Japanese are better at making cars than the Germans." Sorry, Mike, that's just not true. Japanese are more cost-effective at making cars, not better. They make good cars at lesser prices due to lower production costs, but that doesn't make the cars better 'per se'.
And they don't have something Europeans do: passion. Their cars are mere products, like domestic appliances. Washing machines on wheels, no less - but with tortuous looks that will please the repressed minds of overly aggressive people. Very reliable, for sure, but who wants to drive an ugly car forever?



Perhaps this is a prototype model?

Cow catchers are comin' back!

All those little crevices around the hood/front end/proboscis thing look like they would be excellent places for bugs, leaves or small animals to get wedged into.

What a great post Mike! I almost snorted my coffee all over my keyboard. I even shared it on my FB page. You should do a "reality check" humorous article on a regular basis for one of the major car magazines. But then again you might piss off one of the advertisers which wouldn't be a good idea. Especially after they paid big bucks to get an "Editor's Choice" designation.

Those gargantuan behemoth grills that now adorn the Lexus brand are truly some of The Most Fugly cosmetic grotesqueries ever cursed upon any automobile from any era!

Mike,
Yes indeed that looks like a cow catcher on the front of that automobile. I'v always thought the Japanese mfg's had design studios in the USA- what happened to those? I guess the buyers can, at least, take solace in knowing it should be reliable and last as long as they can stand looking at it. Of course they will have to wash them at midnight to keep from having to see it.

The Koreans are making good looking cars. Check out the Genesis G80.

"Good thing cars don't have mothers, cuz this wouldn't have gotten teat time."

TOO FUNNY!!!

In a somewhat related matter, anyone here have a recipe for lightly-chewed-BBQ-potato-chips-and-soda stains out of a dress shirt?

It’s an American bald eagle - should sell well.

Acura used to name their line-up with names. Then they realise other luxury brands never name theirs -- Mercedes just got C, E and S class; BMW use numbers (they pretty much used up the numerals...).... The marketing people didn't want the line-up names to dilute the brand name, like Civics, Accords, Camrys... They want people to remember the brand only. But of course they forgot to limit their line-ups to a few classes for customers to remember them... The Germans are not better... BMW 320s used to come with a 2 liter engine, but no more... a 328 is more likely a 2 liter turbo charged.... Then there's the 2s, the 4s the 6s.... At least it is easy to think the higher the number, the more expensive..... And fortunately they name their SUVs Xs.

And who started the "black mass hanging way out there on that enormous blobular schnozzola"?? Cars used to come with a silvery bar that run across the front called the bumper. Then Audi started this thing... It's them, no doubt.... And Lexus has to follow....??

A friend once commented, upon seeing the Lexus stylized ‘L’ logo, “hmm - Nose Motors.” Lexus has taken that to a new level!

If Jethrine Clampett were an Auto Show model, this thing would make her look like the belle of the ball.

A fair number of years back I had two Mazda Millenias (back to back). This car was to be Mazda's entry into the luxury car market by creating a separate brand ala Toyata, Datsun,etc. They were good to drive, well made and very fast - if I remember correctly, the first one had a turbo, the second was supercharged. Really nice cars, but the brand never took off and disappeared, probably because of a lack of promotion.
I followed the Mazdas with two Saab 900 Turbos - again great cars, but we all know where Saab went. The Mazdas were pretty anonymous looking and the Saabs were somewhat eccentric in appearance.

The RX (which is really just a jacked up wagon version of the Avalon/Camry based ES) is Lexus' best selling vehicle, despite that face.

The RX-L is just filling in the inexplicable 3 row mid-size crossover hole in Lexus' lineup (why Lexus took so long to make a 3 row RX, despite it being a sure thing, baffles me).

I really don't know what the deal is with these cars, except that Americans do buy them. My only guess is that we are suffering through some phase of designer trendiness that seems sort of nifty on paper, and no one with taste intervenes before production. Everyone is on the internet, apparently, checking Facebook. Americans are good at making swoopy, weird, ugly cars, or overly muscled embarrassments. These take it a step farther. Before too long the front end of our cars will look like the creature in Alien, with dripping, toothy proboscis. It's almost enough to make one pine for the simple lines of a pick-up truck.

And what about the 2018 Honda Civic Si?!

If I owned one, I'd have to wear a blindfold so I could walk up to it without tossing my last meal.

Mike, my take:

Just like the politicians are all working together for the common good of the political industry, (read politicians) the Germans saw they were done for. So they did a deal. And presto, they're all still in the game.

The Koreans are making good looking cars...

And a decade back they were making the ugliest cars in the world. Things change ... but that Lexus is indeed hideous.

What a timely post! My wife and I were just talking last night about replacing her 2007 Ford Fusion with a Lexus RX. Not a new one though. It's really a shame because they used to be great cars. The first and (especially) second generations looked great and I can tolerate the third. The current model is hideous though. I don't know why Lexus is dead set on mangling the noses on all of their models.

I drive a 2005 GX470 which I love. I only got it last year but hope to drive it for a long time. But I honestly don't know what I will replace it with. The new GX460 looks horrible too. Oh well, hopefully that decision is about ten years away.

You're wrong about the LS400, because Lexus peaked aesthetically with the SC400. Of course, we might not see eye to eye on this, since I don't find the LS400 a particularly good looking car. Not ugly, mind you. Not at all. It's… OK.

Obviously I'm talking about the first generation SC400, because the second generation SC looked pathetic.

The generation gap strikes again. Children, parents and grandparents think differently—different locations also think differently. In many ways I think more like the Japanese than I think like the inscrutable Americans living east of the 100th meridian.

Ugly maws are common world-wide. Audi's maw isn't as egregious as the Lexis ...it's just a matter of degree. Everybody is guilty, take a look at a Cadillac XT5. The XT5 has the most tasteful grill, but dropping the lower edge, say six inches, brings it into fugly territory. The geezers, and the old-at-heart, may not like like present styling trends—no-one cares because they want to sell to the iPhone generation. Rotsa-ruck with that.

Speaking of large mouths, check-out Linda Perry https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=noybHpL4qgM The 4 Non Blondes cover of Misty Mountain Hop is in heavy rotation on my iMac.

That terrible grill seems to be popping up more and more often. It brings to mind a slack-jawed hillbilly with bad teeth. It is the automotive grill version of vocal fry, a form of verbalization that makes it nearly impossible to tolerate some people when they speak.

The first thing I thought of was a hog on a spit.

The Acura Beak era was from Acura's "Keen Edge Dynamic" design cues that debuted in 2009. It was a disaster for Acura, especially for the TL, which was one butt-ugly (though excellent from an engineering standpoint) car. Acura couldn't give them away. Back in 2014 when I was shopping for an Acura with an automatic transmission (I simply couldn't take the wear and tear of driving the 6-speed of my much loved 2007 TSX in Bay Area commute traffic anymore), I bought a very nice, used 2008 Acura TL Type S. The last TL before the Acura Beak era. My TL Type S is a helluva car, the best car I've ever owned, and I think one of the very best cars Acura ever built. When I was in the process of buying it, the salesman told me all the sales guys still wished that generation TL was still in production; they were great cars, handsome and sold like hot cakes. The Acura Beak TLs that replaced them were a sales disaster.

Whoa. That's nasty.

But speaking of Germans...I think they saw that design and stuck it on the BACK of the new Porsche Panamera Turismo.

I remember a Car and Driver review of the Datsun B210 concerning the aesthetics of the vehicle: "The perfect car for Rocket Boy to take on Rodan."

Your comment on naming also applies to cameras, at least from some of the manufacturers.

Nikon and Canon both completely lost me years ago with their DSLR naming. 7D, 70D, 700D? D5? D50? D500? Which are the pro and which are the enthusiast models?

Worse is Olympus. OM-D E-M5? Or is it O-MD EM-5? Or OMD-EM5? It might was well be OMG WTF if you ask me!

ARGH! That is ugly.

The advent of Lexus reminds me of a joke when the LS400 came out. Mercedes S Class engineer heard to shout to a colleague "Hans, come and see this new Lexus, and bring the drawing board with you!"

That monkey reminds me of a pretty well-known politician.

I, for one, am mystified by what has happened to Acura. My wife and I drove Acuras for some twenty years, and all were great cars (with the possible exception of the "Vigor" - now there's a name for you.). Anyway, they seem to have fallen off a cliff in recent years, and I'd be loathe to own one now. According to Consumer Reports, they've gone from most reliable to close to least reliable. And the ILX, in particular, has one of the worst overall ratings I've ever seen on any car. Hard to fathom.

And you just saw a 2 dimensional representation! I've had to repeatedly endure seeing these, and several other Lexus models with more or less the same overgrown, overbearing and thoroughly overwrought grill work in person!!!

I don't believe in spending big $$$ on cars, because I don't have big $$$ and if I do, I will waste it on cameras. Nevertheless, aesthetics is still very important, and yes, those cars are but*ugly.

I am not a fan of American cars, but I have to say that the last model Thunderbird looks quite decent. It may drive like crap but since unlikely I will ever buy one, it matters not :-)

Now that little Miata...

I have a 2015 Lexus GS 350 F Sport, which is a perfect car (trust me on this). It was styled early in the transition to the godawful Spindle Grill Imperative that has produced such abortions as the new RX. My car avoided all that; it's a lovely modern design, quite aggressive but not cartoon-like. I'm keeping it, which is a good thing because whatever replaces it will probably be just as dreadful as the new RX.

I have always believed that America was the king of ugly product design - cars in particular, like in the 70s when everything was an enormous rectangle with huge overhangs front and back and you couldn't tell whether you were looking at the back or the front of the car.

The problem seems to be spreading - most European cars, especially small hatchbacks look hideous to me these days: all these strange mixtures of angles and curves with carbuncle protruderences all over the place. And so many cars designed overly tall, like they were small vans. Not to mention all those SUVs preceded by the fake 4x4 lookalike pilot fish.

I guess it is what you are used to. I prefer the traditional styling of my little VW Polo.

Gawd-awful ugly is only a minor corollary to their elemental lack of understanding of marketing in its multiple dimensions, notably -- in the present context -- branding. Each generation of Hondas, Toyotas, Nissans etc. bear little to no resemblance to prior generations. (Oddly, the one exception is Subaru.) They are not only generally ugly, even when they by chance come up with a good looking design, that design bears no aesthetic relationship to anything else in their lineage. The Japanese do not understand branding, thus they are clueless about the critical imperative to preserve and cultivate brand dna. Go back as far as you wish, every Mercedes, BMW, even Volvo -- never mind Ferrari -- is effortless recognizable as a Mercedes, BMW, Volvo, Ferrari. That religious adherence to brand identity sends a subliminal message to your customers that you value your dna, your pedigree -- therefore, they should, too.

Deming taught the Japanese about quality in manufacturing. They badly need another imported sage to teach them about marketing.

To an extent the sameness of cars is because the wind tunnels keep producing the same answers, but that certainly doesn't explain THIS thing.

They did it no favors by photographing it from the traditional low angle. They should have photographed it from higher up. Maybe from space.

Oh my. I got used to the initially controversial, and later copied, Bangle 'bump', even if never fond of it. But if I ever grow accustomed to that monstrosity, please shoot me.

I like the lines, including front end, on my new F-Pace, though, and get as many compliments on it as some of my past coupes and sedans.

You think, maybe, Adobe consulted with the Japanese auto makers for naming the current versions of Lightroom.

It looks a little bit like a 1970's Cylon.

[IMG]https://i.ytimg.com/vi/6-eWRLlGO5Y/maxresdefault.jpg[/IMG]

. . ."by your command . . ."

[my nerd DNA is expressing itself]

Finally,someone said it !
I can't believe how ugly most cars are. Lexus takes the cake; and it's spreading to Toyota.
I find it astounding that any car company can come-up with ugly and it gets approved and goes into production.

Amen. You know its posts like these, in addition to your excellent photography writing that keeps me a faithful reader since 1995 or so. Great job Mike!

The best part about driving the new Lexus, you don't have .to look at it.
By the way the original LX400 was styled to look as much as possible like the then current Mercedes while being priced $$$ cheaper.

I have a 2008 RX350, the best car I have ever owned. Though I'm not keen on the new design they are flooding the streets here.
While in London I was treated to a spin in a new RR, purple upholstery,starlights in the roof and lighted hood ornament. Now there is a real car
Mark

Mike - isn't it obvious? Offer your services, here, as a curator (for payment, of course). Ming Thein does it, and though he's technically fine, he has no sensibility of human nuance. You on the other hand have it as a gift.

It would be both a terrific earner for you, and a great service for your readers. As an example, I send you 100 photos (via OneDrive or whatever). You objectively/subjectively pick the top 10. I would pay handsomely for that service. Wouldn't you?

The new Lexus is definitely hit or miss. The LC500, which is probably the first design in which this grille shape was integrated from the beginning, is stunning; a magnificent achievement of design; makes its German competition look, not bad because they do look good, but boring, very boring. The RX is, yes, horrific. The NX is just weird, it's too weird to really say it's ugly, but some might.

And, well, points b) and c) - the Germans are the most guilty of anyone of the "same sausage different lengths" school of design - not only does every Audi sedan look precisely like every other Audi sedan, they look nearly precisely the same as they did twenty years ago, apart from a more "aggressive" grille because aggression is what everyone wants in their daily ride to the office apparently. And when's the last time a BMW, Audi, or Mercedes had a model name at all, and not just an alphanumeric product code? Actually Kia, of all outfits, is doing well here. I really want a Stinger - that's a great name, a name with some resonance.

Good article. This is why I like TOP, sometimes life is not about only photography. Coffee, tea, cars, these are lifestyle subject which is interesting to me.

The Japanese car designers should all be buried. Not only Lexus, the Toyota, Honda are all ugly.

The wife exploded with "SH..t" when she saw the Lexus photo. That's how bad it is.

Thanks for the continuous entertainment you provided and keep going strong.

Greetings from a recovering copy editor who lives on Aztec Drive,

Your reference to the Aztec (Pontiac) should be Aztek.

A vehicular R8.

Sometimes I wonder if car design, in general, is simply out of gas. So many models and designs have been made over the years that there may be little left that can be done to reinvent things. Thus the swing towards extreme styling and ugliness?

An interesting post, Mike. The Japanese car makers have been busy making ugly lately. I cannot fathom what Honda is doing. Nissan's designs are bizarre. Even Toyota is getting strange. And you are on point regarding Lexus, Acura and Infiniti. Three brands that inspire nothing. I thought cars, especially more expensive ones, were supposed to make us want them.

An exception, to my eye, is Mazda. Decent styling across the board. Fun to drive and exceptional value.

I don't think the Germans have anything to worry about. Around here you can practically throw a rock and hit an Audi. Or so it seems.

Could it actually be the rear end of the car?

Or

Is this grill actually a set of braces, and there is a beautiful smile hidden behind it?

As an autonomous computer driven vehicle, the front end looks designed to eat anybody that might get caught in front of it.

Geez, where are those beautiful sleek concept cars one used to see in movies and ads. Sigh.

The Integra was a sweet car. I coveted one for years.

I don’t care for the beak, but maybe I’m not their target market. I’m driving a 13 year old Mazda hatchback right now. Maybe my tastes are too downmarket. I’m thinking about new cars, though, to replace the old Mazda. I have fond memories of a Toyota Corolla I had back in the 80’s. So I went to the Toyota website, to see what’s up with the current incarnation of the Corolla. And you know what? It’s a smaller version of THE BEAK!

Sigh.

Ugly, yes. But they start every morning and they take you where you want to go ... for years and years and years.

Couldn't agree more about the hideous styling of current luxury Japanese cars. However, to me the trophy goes to this ugly beast:

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/3a/48/f0/3a48f0fe4375a4ad48d33fafe916eab7.png

This is probably the actual result of Ken Tanaka's 'prototype' linked above. :)

This is a common problem, taking a corporate design language, applying it obsessively throughout the lineup and finding out that the design doesn't scale well. The "flame surface" BMWs of the Chris Bangle era works great on the 5 Series but the tension in the surfaces did not hold up in the larger 7 series and the style fell flat. Likewise, the grill on that Lexus is actually nice on the smaller sedans but you can't just put in a photocopier and paste it onto a hulking SUV.

And the Acura beak? It didn't look good at any size, and this is coming from a Honda guy. Thankfully, the design has evolved and matured.

"But the Germans are still in the game. Why? Because the Japanese oblige them by shooting themselves in the foot...again, and again, and again."

Have a look at this, Mike. I think the Germans are doing their best to join in the foot shooting...

https://www.autocar.co.uk/opinion/motor-shows-frankfurt-motor-show/why-im-not-fan-bmw-concept-x7

Here's an article from the same website:
https://www.autocar.co.uk/opinion/motor-shows-tokyo-motor-show/are-cars-no-longer-elegant

Wouldn't it be nice to see a trend towards elegant cars, rather than these modern, aggressive designs with gaping, widemouth grills?

IMO, Volvo and Mazda seem to be two car manufacturers doing it right.

Shops around the world are all becoming the same so thank goodness some products are maintaining a difference.
Most cars produced are way over the top in terms of performance versus the law and safety. The interesting thing is that the move towards electric and controlled cars will make traffic safer and more capable but will be ultra boring for some owners and so, if manufacturers want to maintain sales, they will have to come up with exceptional designs.

Yes, the Lexus IS ugly. So are all current Toyotas. They went from bland and anonymous to no longer anonymous but awful. This seems to be a contagion in Japanese car circles these days; see the Honda Civic Type R: https://goo.gl/XWrW2E.

Regarding names. Mazda used to have a small sedan called the Protege, and a small sporty hatchback called the Precidia in the 90's. I'm not sure what it was, but someone advertised a Mazda Protozoa in our local paper around that time. Clearly the correct name doesn't always spring to mind either.

If you had seen a photo of the vehicle in black,you would have made the connection to the design Toyota copied for the nose of most of its current cars:
http://driving.ca/lexus/rx/auto-shows/l-a-auto-show/lexus-teases-three-row-rx-ahead-of-l-a-debut

https://www.target.com/p/men-s-star-wars-deluxe-darth-vader-costume-mask/-/A-16401386

I think this comment was made about Damien Hirst's shark in a tank, but it definitely applies here (can't find the original, apologie to the author): the statement made by owning this is not "I'm rich", but "I'm so rich that I can afford to have no taste".

From their own brochure: 'Seduction: Elegant and refinement'
Hokusai is turning round in his grave now.

Just as an antidote to Mike's very capable description of what not to do in automobile design, here's a reminder of how it is done, correctly.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercedes-Benz_S-Class#/media/File:2014_Mercedes-Benz_S550_(US)_lwb.jpg

Still like my 82 VW diesel pickup. 47-52 miles per gallon makes it look good every year.

Not sure I buy the argument the European cars have 'passion', whereas Japanese cars are simply appliances.

Anything from the VW Group (Audi, Skoda, Seat) with the possible exception of Lamborghini is just a bland, angular homogeny. They are as much 'appliances' as any Toyota or Honda. I don't see much from any mainstream car maker that's much better to be honest. When I come to get another car in about 18 months time, I honestly have no idea what I'd buy.

I think the solution is to stop hiring people who studied design and start hiring people who studied art.

Here, look at this for a while. It will make you feel much better.

https://www.google.com/search?q=alfa+romeo&client=firefox-b-1&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjgg6jBgOnXAhVE5oMKHQbOA8cQ_AUICigB&biw=1320&bih=680#imgrc=hrw-kWLWU6aIXM:

Cylon Alert! Looks like a toaster.

Coming to these comments a day late, having just read the post.

I couldn't care less what the manufacturers name them. However, just about all Japanese and U.S. auto companies have for years been speeding down the road to aesthetic dreck. It's actually a subset of what I refer to as "the uglification of everything." Which is also related to "the crapification of everything," a major manifestation of which can be found in textile products.

I'm four years older than you, Mike, and recently had an urge to purchase a new vehicle. I don't need one; retirement means the days of 100-mile round-trip commuting are over. However, after checking out what's available, I put the idea to rest. My 2003 Honda Accord turned 15 years old last Friday. It has 223,000 miles on the odometer. I bought it new and have performed all maintenance myself. There have been two failures in all that time: a brake light switch ($7.00 + 20 minutes of my time) early on and, the last time I replaced coolant, a new radiator cap gasket. The gasket was more expensive, since it's not sold separately, and I had to purchase a new cap for around $12.00. That's it. In my opinion, product lines' technological optimization reaches a peak and then declines. For Honda, that zenith must have been near 2003. Even then, I thought the car wasn't very attractive, but, when asked in a clinic why I bought it, my response was "least repulsive choice available."

Thus, the old Accord will likely be with me for a long time into the future. I'm hoping that it won't be replaced until some autonomous EV (no matter how ugly) becomes available to cart me around when the state takes away my license due to excessive doddering. :-)

Uhhhh .......schwer am schnaufen und tief luft holen, .....ruhig bleiben wenn moeglich ✨🐒

For eight or nine months of the year my neighborhood Dairy Queen is the gathering place on late Sunday afternoons for 40-50 vintage cars and their owners. It's not an official "event" and the participant mix is different every week. There are usually a half-dozen Corvettes and T-Birds from the 60s and 70s, some chopped and channeled old Mercurys or Hudsons, a dozen 35-yr old muscle cars looking better than new, usually an E-type or big Austin, some Beetles, a stately old Packard or Chrysler or two, and when the weather is warmer some model A and T specimens. Based on frequency and numbers, the hot models to own are the '55 and '57 Chevys. With few exceptions all the cars are good looking. classic, handsome or pretty. I don't think many of the Toyotas and Lexuses from the past five years will show up in a nostalgia gathering 40 years from now at future Dairy Queen or Sonic parking lots. They've become transportation appliances with flimsy front ends, geometric profiles and cold or menacing personas. Great for anonymity, yes, but they'll never become a part of the family.

Re: "...a cowcatcher"!

What's wrong with that. Your "bumper" is called a "kofanger" in danish (litterally a "cowcatcher" ;-)

So... it may actually be a japanese interpretation of danish design (not that they succeeded - ahem ;-)

Regards and a big smile

I’ve been driving hidelously boring but reliable Japanese cars for twenty years. In this past year I finally decided I’ve had it. Where is the FUN? All this money on something I use every day of my life, and I’ve conservatively chosen ugly, boring and reliable rather than risk a “crappy car” that might actually be fun. No more. Yeesh.

[Aww, don't leave us hanging. Whatcha gonna get? --Mike]

Had an LS 430 years ago. My first problem with Lexus was the fact that it wa serviced in a Toyota garage. Wrong demographic and try as they might they couildn't match BMW or Mercedes service in my neck of the woods.
Then it had a problem that the dealer couldn't fix so he just threw up his hands at it (knocking from front susopension) . I contacted their marketing department who flew in a guy to sort it out but who left the front wheels so out of alignment it burnt two front tyres in matter of weeks.
On top of that it had safety features designed for the American market. Permanent written warning on door mirrors, Electric windows and sun roof that wouldn't close all the way on the first push of the button,cruise control that dis-enaged below 20mph, brakes that locked harder when slowing doen beneath 10mph leaading to a lurching stop. Drove me into the arms of BMW.
I have trouble establishing the different modesl on both BMW and Audi and the script they use for the numerals doesn't help.
The Bangle Butt made on the BMW 7 series made me skip a generation until they modified it.
Modern Rolls Roycw look ugly, to my eyes, on the page, but they do have great presence on the road

That slobbering maw of a grille makes the Lexus designs even uglier than usual — if that was even possible. Still, car design and aesthetics are a very subjective matter, and it's an area I don't really like to venture in. Looking at SUVs from other manufacturers, the presumably sibling BMW X7 and Rollsiche Motoren Werke's Cullinan are eyesores in their own, pachydermatous way, for example.

This is gername to the issue of "whether a designer should do what they're told or what they think is right" mentioned by one commenter above.

The Lexus, BMW and Rolls are probably quiet, comfortable, reliable and very functional cars with impeccable interior finishes, advanced security technologies and well thought out functionalities, pairing good roominess with entirely satisfactory dynamic performance and handling.

So, if the above criteria are important in the choice of a car, these cars are quite fit for their purpose, or even entirely decent products despite their subjectively questionable aesthetics.

One example of a product whose good looks unfortunately compromised its very nature because a boneheaded designer did what he thought was right is, IMHO, the Apple MacBook "Pro" with Touch Bar.

The new MBP is about 1mm thinner than the previous model, and is thus aligned with Apple's chief simpleton designer's thinness fixation, and his accompanying, tiresome "war on functionality".

Making the MBP thinner by 1mm was apparently considered more important by that dunderhead designer than keeping the MagSafe connector, a well-loved feature of Apple's laptops that probably saved from an untimely death a large number of MBPs used by creative professionals.
Let's also mention that each time one wants to recharge a MBP, one must now tilt one's head to look at the MBP's side, and carefully aim and insert a tiny USB-C connector, while previously it was just sufficient to casually get the MagSafe connector in the general vicinity of the MBP's power port — an easy thing to do even in the dark — and the magnets would then take over, automatically aligning the plug and securing the connection.

Making the MBP thinner by 1mm was apparently considered more important by a cretinous designer than including even a single USB3 connector. That imbecilic designer probably thinks that forcing creative professionals to replace their current USB cables with new cables with a USB-C connector, just so that they can continue to use their perfectly functional current peripherals — e.g. printers, scanners, audio interfaces etc. — is a brilliant idea.

Shaving a measly 1mm from the MBP's thickness was apparently considered more important by an oafish designer than including a UHS-II SD memory card slot. That benighted designer probably doesn't know that it's not uncommon for a creative professional to have to transfer gigabytes of data — e.g. raw files, 2K and 4K movies — from SD cards. The notion that a SD card slot could be both convenient (because it's built-in and always available) and time-saving (thanks to the higher speed enabled by UHS-II) for creative professionals seems irrelevant, but, one must admit, consistent with that harebrained designer's "war on functionality".

Making the MBP thinner by 1mm was apparently considered more important by a moronic designer, therefore making the inner floorplan balancing between battery volume and electronic circuit board size even more difficult. The MBP's RAM is soldered and non-expandable, and a 32GB RAM option, for a "Pro" laptop that's suppoed to last several years, would not have been amiss.
iFixit's teardown of the MBP 15" Touch Bar shows that Apple used four 32-bit wide 32Gb LPDDR3 chips to implement two 64-bit 8GB memory banks, for a total of 16GB of RAM. A 32GB capacity would thus have required only 4 chips more, which shouldn't have been that hard to fit, given the larger space available on a 15-inch laptop's printed circuit board compared with the 16GB 13-inch model.

The memory interface of a energy-hungry desktop Intel i7 CPU has only four 64-bit wide memory channels, but with simple address line decoding logic, it's easy for manufacturers to provide motherboards with eight 64-bit wide DIMM slots.
The power-sipping mobile Intel i7 CPUs as used in the MBP have only two 64-bit wide memory channels, but, similarly, it would have been easy to decode the address lines to generate the chip select lines for two additional 8GB 64-bit wide memory banks, and thus enable the option to configure four 8GB memory blocks, for a total of 32GB of RAM.

Are 32GB really necessary on a laptop ? I don't know, but when using Photoshop on a 16GB MBP, I often notice that PS is using gigabytes of scratch space on the MBP's internal SSD e.g. when uprezzing and rotating a slighty tilted 24MP picture. Having more RAM would probably make PS faster and decrease wear and tear on the SSD's flash memory chips.
Creative professionals editing e.g. 4K video would also probably appreciate the added smoothness in the editing and preview operations enabled by larger, multi-gigabyte RAM buffers, as would e.g. IT professionals running virtual machines on their MBPs.

The nature, the raison d'être of a "Pro" computer costing several thousand dollars, IMHO, is to provide functional, convenient, dependable, and preferably cost-effective computing functionality to users, which includes professionals. When superficial aspects like look or thinness starts to be considered by an idiotic designer to be more important than functionality, then, the tail is wagging the dog, and that dimwit designer hasn't really understood what makes a machine "professional" in the eyes of the paying customer — the actual professional or power user.

To connect the subject a bit to photograpy, a major characteristic of Leica cameras, IMHO, is their perceived tactile quality, which conveys the notion that Leicas — regardless of their actual performance and usability as cameras — are precision, high-quality photographic instruments that are carefully crafted, a bit like high-end Swiss mechanical watches.

Walter da Silva's modern reinterpretation of a Leica rangefinder has an exquisite detailing, profiling and patterning of refined materials like titanium and leather, packaged in clean geometric lines and with well-considered usability touches like a cleverly engineered leather finger loop attachment. I think it's quite successful at conveying the Leica qualities I mentioned above, and evinces a really competent designer who's able to grasp the nature, the essence of the product he's working on, and translate it into an actual physical object.

A second-rate designer who hasn't got the intellectual abilities to grasp the essential character of a product, OTOH, would deliver something that looks like what a 12-year old with a CAD program would come up with, merely providing an uninspired wrapping of the mandated dimensional constraints like rangefinder baseline length, flangeback distance, mount dimensions, lens diameter etc.
I must, however, admit that said camera was apparently judged good enough by a Chinese buyer to pay a large sum for it.

Since Steve Jobs' death, it seems that nobody at Apple is able to remain grounded and think about actual user requirements when considering product design, especially for their "Pro" line of computers. Jony Ive's mediocrity and war on functionality thus seem to be given free rein.

Thus, if a presumptuous designer is allowed to do what he thinks he's right, you're more likely to get inane, aggravating, functionally impaired designs that embody C-O-N-C-E-I-T rather than C-O-U-R-A-G-E — to resurrect the self-congratulatory word Apple voiced when they got rid of the headphone jack on the iPhones...

Here's an antidote: https://petrolicious.com/marketplace/1974-alfa-romeo-gtv-2000

So in my quest to replace the geriatric Mazda, I test drove a Fiat 500 yesterday. Cute as a button! Exterior design reminiscent of the Fiats of old. Sadly, though...a terrible car. The geriatric Mazda drives better and inspires more confidence.

[Two things that amaze me: that Fiat and Dunkin' Donuts are still in business. Fiat builds poor cars and DD sells stale donuts. You'd think they'd be long gone.

Good luck in your quest Ann! --Mike]

I happen to agree fully with your points, Mike. Still, I wonder if Lexus / Acura / Infinity get the same reaction in Asian markets where the design intent may well have greater appeal. As an owner of two Acura vehicles, I think they are stuck in a spiral going the wrong way. Their volumes seem to continue to decline so they look for lower design cost options to "differentiate" the vehicles from the Honda line which leads to foolishness like the beak.

The January 2018 issue of Automobile Magazine says this about the 2019 Audi A8 ...

The hexagonal grille might be imposingly large, but it also blends into the car's nose with near-invisibility.

Not so by a long shot the grille of the RX-L.

Interesting. How does lens high-end hype/value compare to audio high-end hype/value in your opinion?

Oh dear, now Lamborghini has jumped into the fray with another Ling-Cod frontpiece & a name that sounds like indigestion.. this era of car design will be swiftly forgotten.

Lol! God bless you Mike!
This looks like it could break the bank....
Let the comments pile up...
No puns

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