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First look at the new Seat Ibiza

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Here’s your first look at the upcoming fifth generation Seat Ibiza, snatched from a suit-filled presentation last night. It’s the bottom one. Not that much to go on, we agree, but then the car is still a long way off.

This all came about at an event celebrating 30 years since the very first Ibiza was launched way back in 1984, and each of the supermini’s designers were present to talk up the new car.

Current Seat design chief Alejandro Mesonero noted: “it will be an opportunity to redesign an icon. It will be a revolutionary design, not just because the market demands it, but also because it has to set itself apart from the Leon.”

Information at this early stage is limited, not least because they’re still playing with the current Ibiza, which Seat admitted has got lots of life left in it. And while the design lines of the new Ibiza will change, “its character won’t. It will look like it’s moving at standstill, but will still clearly look like an Ibiza.”

In fact, former Seat and Lamborghini design chief Luc Donckerwolke, said the new car had to be a revolution. “There’s nothing worse than making a global car design,” he said. “The global car was one of the worst ideas ever, and I’m glad it’s finally disappearing.”

He later explained to how “people have learned the lessons of globalised design [one car design for the world], it’s a thing that comes from logistics and simplification of the project, but it’s actually counter-productive for design and for the market.

“We’re not being asked to have a car that fits everybody – you have to fight that as a designer. You cannot be mainstream, because that means nobody notices you anymore,” he added.

Another former Seat design chief, Walter de Silva – who now heads up the entire VW Group design – hinted to how the connectivity of the new car would be key. The man behind the very first Ibiza told us: “We are looking at lot at how the younger generation operate, at interconnectivity and new technologies coming in. They need a car that is fun to drive, but also functional too.”

It’s going to be on sale in 2017. Plenty of time for us to get some better pictures for you.

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US Proposes Faster Changes in Oil Trains

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Volvo S60 T5 R-Design new car review

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What do you get?

Volvo did a mild update on its S60 late last year, introducing more equipment, some trim tweaks and the elegant digital instrument cluster. This time around the changes are about what’s beneath the skin.

There are three trim levels and, for now, three engine tunes, although not all are available with each other. There are plans for a broad range of engines, each designated with a letter and number. Broadly speaking, the lower the number the lower the engine output, while a D denotes turbo diesel and a T a petrol engine (initially turbocharged but superchargers and hybrid systems can be added).

Theoretically Volvo can do everything from a D1 up to a T9, all off the same basic engine architecture.

For now the T4 Kinetic is the entry point, bringing an existing 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine and a tempting $49,900 price tag.

For that you get a reversing camera, rear-parking sensors, auto wipers, electric driver’s seat, cruise control, Bluetooth, alloy wheels, LED daytime lights and puddle lights for illuminating around the car at night. There’s also an array of safety gear, encompassing airbags all around (dual front, front-side and side curtain) and Volvo’s City Safety system, which can automatically apply the brakes to avoid low-speed crashes.

The more advanced Drive Support System – which includes pedestrian and cyclist detection with full auto braking at any speed – is one of a number of options (in this case costing $5000) on more expensive models, such as the Luxury.

That Luxury adds electric controls for the passenger seat, smart key entry and start, headlights that turn around corners, wood trim and gear shift paddles, as well as various trim changes and larger alloy wheels.

By the time you’re splashing out more on the R-Design tested here (it’s a $63,890 proposition) you curiously miss out on some of those features, such as the smart key functionality. But there are extra goodies such as a rear spoiler and other styling add-ons and firmer sports suspension.

What’s inside?

The S60 wins plenty of points in the cabin starting with its clean, user-friendly design that includes door handles that sweep into a metallic-look strip. The central cluster of buttons includes four main control knobs and a ventilation system that has a simple-to-use profile of a human body.

The centre console is subtly tilted to the driver, and the comfortable seats cement the cabin as a practical place to be.

Storage is reasonable without being spectacular with cupholders, sizeable door pockets and a covered console. But the boot is compromised by the space-saver spare sitting on top of the floor. One option is to leave it at home and rely on the repair kit for punctures.

The instrument cluster can be toggled between three themes – Elegance, Eco and Performance. Eco illuminates the main display in an inoffensive teal colour with a consumption indicator tailored at lowering fuel use. Elegance is a vibrant blue and includes an engine temperature gauge that is more about filling space than providing useful info. Performance lights everything red and replaces the analogue-look speedo with a bold tacho. There’s also a power gauge which, again, seems more gimmicky than useful.

Overall, though, the cluster is one of the best in the business and even includes the posted speed limit within the main speedo, although it’s not always accurate.

Under the bonnet

It’s all about the new engines with some updated Volvos and this model doesn’t disappoint. With a modest 2.0-litre capacity it relies on the turbo for added muscle. The 180kW is a welcome addition to the top of the rev range, but it’s the 350Nm of torque available from as little as 1500rpm that gives the engine its character and easy demeanour.

There’s a whiff of initial turbo lag but otherwise there’s a broad spread of useable pulling power. The new engine is also smooth and refined, something particularly noticeable when the stop-start system kicks in, seamlessly shutting down the engine temporarily before refiring it ready for take-off.

The eight-speed automatic is generally smooth in its shifts but can occasionally be overly dramatic with a downshift, and on a winding road it could occasionally benefit from holding a lower gear longer.

But the big win with the new engines is fuel use, once a Volvo low point. With claimed consumption of 6.4 litres per 100km it makes the T5 highly competitive with rivals; in everyday suburban driving we found it used low double-digits.

On the road

Whereas many rivals power the rear wheels or all four, the Volvo makes do with a front-drive layout. On fast take-offs or a slippery surface that can become an issue as the traction control is brought into play. It also contributes to a numb steering feel that means the S60 doesn’t feel as lively as some of its ilk.

That said the dynamics are competent and the optional 19-inch Bridgestone tyres fitted to our car hang on well (the standard R-Design tyres are 18 inches). There’s some unwanted initial firmness to the suspension movement but it’s otherwise well controlled.

The car is also quiet at speeds, although some unwanted noise is when the rear collision warning system kicks in. Follow a car too closely and it can get overly excited – it went off twice with nothing in the way during our test.


The addition of new engines makes for a far more appealing prestige sedan. What the S60 lacks in outright driver appeal – the suspension isn’t as compliant as some – it makes up for with a long list of luxury equipment.

Volvo S60 T5 R-Design pricing and specifications

Price: $63,890, plus on-road and dealer costs

Country of origin: Sweden

Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo petrol

Power: 180kW at 5500rpm

Torque: 350Nm at 1500-4800rpm

Fuel use: 6.4L/100km

CO2 emissions: 149g/km

Transmission: 8-speed auto, front-wheel-drive

Weight: 1664kg

Safety: 6 airbags; stability control; City Safety


Lexus IS300h F Sport new car review

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Quality and attention to detail pay dividends in the latest Lexus.









Badge Description

F Sport






Constantly Variable Transmission

Engine Configuration Description


Gear Num




Build Country Origin Description


Overall Green Star Rating


Fuel Type Description

Petrol – Premium ULP

Drive Description

Rear Wheel Drive

Warranty KM


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Road test review: BMW 328i

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


It’s still a beautiful beast but with subtle improvements.







Engine Size

2.0-litre 4-cyl turbo


6.1 seconds

Country Of Origin

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Fuel Consumption


Kerb Weight



180kW at 5000-6500rpm

Safety Equipment

6 airbags; stability control; not yet crash tested


350Nm at 1250-4800rpm

Transmission/Driven Wheels

8-sp auto, RWD

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Skateboarder dies after crashing into parked car in San Francisco

A skateboarder who died after collapsing in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood Tuesday morning was the founder of an Oakland-based design company.

George Schnakenberg III, 38, of Oakland, was riding a motorized skateboard in a bike lane in the 600 block of Eighth Street around 9 a.m. Tuesday when he suddenly collapsed, San Francisco police spokesman Officer Gordon Shyy said.

Shyy said investigators talked to several witnesses who said Schnakenberg fell while riding and may have hit a parked car after the collapse.

Police said he was taken to San Francisco General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Schnakenberg was the founder and design director of Infinite Collective, an industrial design consultancy firm.

According to the company’s website, Schnakenberg started the company in Oakland in 2012 after working in the design industry for the past 15 years.

On his LinkedIn profile, he posted photos of products and projects he has designed, including a coffee brewer, bicycles, skateboards, a 3D-printed keychain and other digital and mechanical items.

He had posted two YouTube videos two years ago of some of his electric bicycle designs.

Copyright © 2014 by Bay City News, Inc. … Republication, re-transmission or reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.

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Dream Cars: Innovative Design, Visionary Ideas

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Opel Design Studio half century celebration

“For the public it was unbelievable, almost inconceivable,” says
Schnell, “so management had to react.”

The way we were 1: in the beginning, car designers wore sober suits

Schnell’s day job was designing a replacement for the Opel Rekord and his
advanced design studio was one of four in the building.

“Up to that point no one had talked about car design,” he says, “and
car design wasn’t really recognised. One of our first car designers was a
former shop-window dresser and he was really good. He ended up at Ford.”

At first, the studio was headed by Clare MacKichan, who had come from Detroit
to Rüsselsheim as head designer (it was he who came up with the idea of a
two-seat Opel sports car concept that became the Experimental GT). With no
university car design faculties or courses, the Opel studio became a Mecca
for young would-be car designers.

“The studio quickly became Europe’s first automotive design school,”
says Kurt Beyer, current chief of interior design. “People came from
all over the world as word got out.”

Indeed Hideo Kodama, the Opel designer responsible for the last two Corsa
models, initially wanted to go to GM’s Detroit design studio in the
mid-Sixties. Even in the Fifites, the Detroit studio was burgeoning,
employing 1,200 staff. Instead, Kodama was sent to Rüsselsheim and ended up
head of the facility. In the ensuing decades, graduates of Opel’s design “school”
have found homes all over the industry and the world.

There have been 11 heads of Opel European design, including Martin Smith, who
designed the Audi Quattro and TT interior and is now at Ford. Wayne Cherry,
designer of the Vauxhall/Opel Calibra, moved from head of European design to
head all of GM’s design in North America.

The way we were 2: the Opel design studio in the late Sixties

Briton Mark Adams is the current design head at Rüsselsheim and he has
overseen the current Corsa, Astra and Insignia, and is currently working on
a future generation of Vauxhall/Opel models.

Not that he, like Schnell, isn’t above a bit of management kidology when it
comes to getting designs accepted by management. One designer recollected
how Adams hid the design for the three-door GTC Astra under a sheet at the
corner of the studio when then European boss Carl-Peter Forster was
inspecting the five-door Astra proposals.

“He [Forster] asked ‘What’s that?’ and pointed at the sheet,”
recalled the designer. “He walked over and took it off and stared at
the GTC for several minutes. ‘Who did this?’ he demanded. And when the
designer owned up, Forster gave him a big hug.”

When Schnell worked at the studio the tools of the trade were pencil and
paper, pastels and modelling clay. Even in the mid-Nineties GM’s head of
design Dick Ruzzin said: “All great cars start with a single pencil
line on a piece of paper.”

Is it the same today?

“Where once there was pen and paper and pastels, now the computer is the
designer’s tool,” says Adams.

Well, almost.

“Pencils? Yeah we use whatever we feel comfortable with, it’s not a
religion,” says Hasan Zraikat, an exterior designer.

But these days time is of the essence and computers help to minimise design
time and also allow several proposals to be carried to the model stage.

“Those early designers, they had one shot. They win or they lose,”
says Friedhelm Engler, director of advanced design, explaining that with
virtual reality software, several car design proposals can be shown to
management before it gets to the expensive, but still necessary, clay model
stage. “The simulation is so precise you can zoom down to the
individual flakes in the paintwork,” he says.

Plus ca change… current Opel designers recreate the Experimental GT of

Perhaps the best example of how things have changed are the wheels for the
Experimental GT. In Schnell’s day there were distinct styles such as
Rostyles, Fuchs, Campagnolo or Minilites. These days there are myriad styles
and when the idea to model a full-sized clay of the 1964 concept came up as
part of the studio’s 50-year celebration, the young designers realised that
the original wheels wouldn’t be available.

“We got some Minilites, but they didn’t look right,” says Engler, “so
we found the right wheels and printed them.”

That’s three dimensional printing, one of the most advanced contruction
methods in the world. “Aw, we use it all the time,” says Engler.

So that reconstruction of the original clay model of the concept that started
all of this half a century ago is now standing on wheels which have been
digitised off the originals into a computer and manufactured using the most
advanced techniques available.

Apart from the lines on Schnell’s face, it’s perhaps the best illustration of
how, in car design, Jean-Baptiste Karr was right: “The more things
change, the more they stay the same…”

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Check Out Decades Of Car Evolution In Seconds To Feed Your Automotive …

Four of the most successful cars ever made have succeeded through generations of carefully calibrated industrial design, adapting not only to changes in consumer tastes but also improvements in global automotive safety regulations.

Ebay Motors, the automotive segment of the popular San Jose, California, online auction house, came up with a clever gimmick to promote itself in a dense online automotive marketplace. The company took a snapshot of every Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Corvette, BMW 3-Series and Honda Accord design ever made and merged them into four animated GIFs that show the evolution of decades of vehicle design in a matter of seconds:

The Chevrolet Corvette was unveiled in 1953, featuring one of the first all-fiberglass bodies and wraparound windshield. The first C1 Corvette didn’t have a lot of muscle, but the model lasted nine years with gradual improvements under the hood. The Sting Ray came out in 1963 to much fanfare for both design and performance. The seventh-generation Corvette, the C7, came out in 2014 with a weight-saving aluminum frame. It’s still considered one of the best American sports cars.

The Ford Mustang debuted in 1963 as the most successful car since the Model T up to that time. The appeal had a lot to do with the cost: The underpinnings of the first Mustang came from the Ford Falcon, so the company didn’t have to build the sports car from scratch. Fifty-one years later, the sixth-generation Mustang has made its way to the Chinese market and it still grabs the attention to American muscle car fans worldwide.

BMW’s compact executive car has been since its inception in 1975 one of the best entry-level luxury sedans ever made. The first generation, called the E21 3-Series, didn’t stray too far from its predecessor, the BMW 2002, including the distinctive forward-leaning front end. The four-door came out in the BMW E30 3-Series in 1984 and in 1987 a sporty 2-door version came out. In its sixth generation, the 3-Series name remains as a sedan or wagon while the two-door coupe has broken away to become the 4-Series.

It’s not the sexiest car to have been around for so long, but the Honda Accord remains one of the most popular mass-market sedans in the world. The first Japanese car to be manufactured in the United States, at Honda’s Marysville, Ohio, plant, the Accord debuted in 1976 as a modestly priced gas-sipper in the wake of the early 1970s U.S. oil crisis. Honda deftly entered the U.S. market as a humble maker of motorcycles and today has four manufacturing site in the U.S. and seven in North America. The ninth-generation Accord was released in 2013, and is considered a relatively bland but very reliable mid-sized sedan.

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BMW Sponsors Locally Supported 3D Printed, Auto Design

The automotive industry is conservative and doesn’t take enough responsibility in emerging markets. Thus, countries such as China and India have experienced huge problems with pollution as they have increased their living standards and entered the western consumption society. In these booming economies there are still people who live their lives according to old customs, in small sustainable societies. It is also they who suffer most from the ongoing urbanization. Hence the automotive industry should rather adapt to their cultures than let these people adjust to the consumption society.

Now, imagine a third industrial revolution where sustainable energy and manufacturing set the standards for production. Africa is then in the forefront when it comes to alternative and sustainable solutions. Maasaica is a concept from BMW which is locally built in Serengeti using 3D printing technology, degradable materials and traditional handcraft.

Inspiration and Method

The intention with Maasaica was to do a concept, which will leave questions and thoughts about how to best design a sustainable, locally produced car. Another aim with the project was to question the methods and ideas of the conservative automotive industry. However, Massaica doesn’t give all the answers to how to produce and design sustainable car, but is a step in the right direction on how the automotive industry can contribute to a more sustainable society.

As designers we have a great opportunity to influence a product early in the process. However, one can also see it as we have a great responsibility to do our best to design products for a better society. That is what Massaica is about. 

By considering important issues such as climate change and the conditions in the 3rd world during the early phase of this project, I have had a different approach than many other student’s design projects. Massaica is designed beyond mobility.

My main inspiration came from the Maasai culture and new ways of manufacturing. A future scenario of Africa in 2040 was created by collecting information from United Nations, The World Bank, The Economist etc.

The name Maasaica comes from the Latin word for the lion species in Kenya, Panthera Leo Masaica.


The result is a contextual concept vehicle, which is meant for the Maasai tribe in Serengeti. However, the story of the Maasai’s is similar to many other fragile habitats which are facing the challenges of urbanization. Therefore, similar concepts could be developed for other traditional societies around the world. 

However those concepts would have to be adapted to those societies’ needs and cultures. Imagine Africa in 2040 as a global leader and a sustainable society. The African population has gone from using very traditional forms of transportation to sustainable vehicles. The Maasais would be recognized both regionally and internationally for being in the forefront when it comes to technology, entertainment, fashion and
design. If BMW doesn’t offer them a transportation sollution they will make it themself.

By taking advantage of traditional craftmanship, new manufacturing methods and existing African mentality of upcycling, the concept Maasaica is showing how the automotive industry could take part of the 3rd new sustainable industrial revolution. A revolution that would create an Africa that would have no negative effects on the environment.

-Erik Melldahl MFA Transportation Design 

Source:  Umeå Institute of Design 

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Proton Design Competition 2014 – our coverage so far

Hey, budding designers! Have you submitted your designs for the Proton Design Competition 2014? We and the design team are eagerly awaiting your entries, and you’d better hurry as submissions close August 11!

While you guys are busy working on your entries, let’s have a look at some of the our stories related to the competition over the past few weeks.

Proton’s past concepts

We started with a look at a selection of Proton’s previous concept cars to get an insight into what the design team had done before as well as to provide inspiration for the contestants. Among the cars we looked at were the Tuah, which previewed the eventual Prevé, as well as the EMAS from Geneva 2010 which kickstarted Proton’s current design direction.

Entry formats and submissions guide

Those who need clarification on the exact rules and regulations of the competition would do well to check out our guide on submissions and entry formats, including paper size, views of the exterior to render and the type and the number of seats of the car itself. This should allow you to focus on your design without having to worry about disqualification.

The design guide

Still scratching your head over how to design a Proton city car for the year 2020? The company issued a set of guidelines for the contestants, based on what the judges are looking for in each design. We also tried our hand at our own city car design, as seen above, though we’re sure you can do better…

Interview with Azlan Othman, Proton’s head of design

Last week, we spoke to Proton’s chief designer, Azlan Othman, about what actually goes on behind the scenes of the design studio, how cars such as the Prevé and the Suprima S were designed relative to their target market and how Proton’s design language will evolve over the coming years. He also gave some tips for the competition, so it’s something you should not miss!

Don’t forget, there’s still time to join the Proton Design Competition 2014, which is looking for your vision of a Proton city car for the year 2020. Up for grabs are RM58,000 worth of prizes, including MacBooks, cash rewards, an internship at the Proton RD Creative Design Centre and even a chance to have your design immortalised as a quarter-scale model at the Proton Gallery.

This is great opportunity for Malaysian youths to be part of something that could define their future as well as that of the local automobile industry. Visit Proton’s Facebook page for the entry form and contest details.

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SAE to host engg design competition

The Society of Automotive Engineers is organising the third edition of the Supra SAEIndia Student Formula on Friday at the Madras Motor Sports Race Track in Chennai.

The three-day event provides a platform to college students across India, in teams of five, to build a prototype formula type race car. The event will test aspiring engineers on their manufacturing and automotive design skills.

S Thirumalini, Convenor of the event and Head, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Amrita School of Engineering, said, “This event will see eminent industry experts evaluating the design and cost reports, marketing presentation and technical evaluation of the cars based on all parameters, including acceleration, fuel economy, manoeuvrability and endurance.”

Event format

The students are given a full year to come out with the final prototype. The event has three stages over a period of one year and teams are eliminated in each phase. This year’s event received 173 registrations with only 87 teams remaining for the final round.

N Balasubramanian, Advisor to the event and General Manager – Product Engineering, Renault Nissan Technology Business Centre India feels such engineering programmes benefit aspiring engineers as this can be a platform for companies to spot talent.

Maruti Suzuki India is the title sponsor of the event and the associate sponsor is Rajalakshmi Group of Institutions, Chennai.

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