German Morphology

6 Jun

I’m determined not to make this blog purely about German cars, but that seems to be the way it’s going. German cars and lists. Either way, I’ve been noticing a trait in their car designing which I’m sure is very obvious to everyone else too. You know that video effect when one shape morphs gradually into another? I think the Germans are using this to design their cars.

Think about it. At BMW they take a picture of a 1 Series hatch back and one picture of an X5. They feed these images into the video effect thingy and watch it go. At separate (and many) points in the morphing process they pause the video, draw that car and they have their range of cars! So they start with a 1 Series. Then it morphs thusly:

1 Series Coupe

3 Series Coupe

3 Series Saloon

5 Series Saloon

7 Series Saloon

5 Series GT

X6

X1

X3

X5

(This is not to mention the 6 Series, which would fit in awkwardly somewhere!)

Now obviously most car companies have a signature fascia that they will use at any one time and BMW are no different. But I make the point because it seems that the Germans are trying to design every type of car that you could ever think of.

Now consider Audi. They have the A4. Then they have the A6. But what if you want a car right in the middle? Get the new A5 in the coupe/saloon style already seen in the Mercedes CLS and the Volkswagen Passat CC. But you want an actual coupe. So get the A5 coupe. Golf rival? That would be the A3. Mini rival? The new A1. Massive 4×4? Q7. Slightly smaller 4×4? Q5. Supercar? R8. Obviously this massive variety of cars makes sense in business terms. And why wouldn’t Audi want to monopolise the car market? I know for a fact that they have a big operation going to get celebs papped driving their cars. I just think that it’s a bit cynical. It’s a lot of brain and a very small amount of heart, in my opinion. You know that something strange is happening in Germany when Porsche, who have been content with one driver door and one passenger door for ever and ever amen thank you very much, start making executive saloons and 4x4s. Ferrari have never made an SUV. Lamborghini have never had a go at making an MPV (although they did make the four-wheel drive LM002 for the Italian military and for some people with small willies to drive on the road). But those companies know what they are and what they want to be. They make sports cars and they’re very good at it. The Germans know what they want to be, too. They want to be EVERYTHING! Deutschland über alles, indeed!

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