IAA 2017: Pillar of Style

Augmented by colourful accents and/or a girth suggesting they’d last a thousand years – this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show showed that creativity rests on the D-pillar 

When Marc Newson met Zaha Hadid

For once, I shall let the pictures do the talking.

Wawona Tree D-pillar

Playful Pillarz

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To conclude: Citroën C3 Aircross apart, glass and rear visibility seem to be passé among car designers in 2017.


The author of this piece runs his own motoring site, which you may choose to visit at www.auto-didakt.com

Author: Christopher Butt

car design critic // runs www.auto-didakt.com // contributes to The Road Rat magazine // writes a column for Octane France //

6 thoughts on “IAA 2017: Pillar of Style”

  1. I did a bit of a study of the D-pillar matter at Geneva, more from the point of the near-complete erosion of rear 3/4 visibility. The manufacturers are indifferent to this – they give us blind-spot alarms, what more do we want?

    SEAT made a fair effort with the new Ibiza’s third (or is it fifth or sixth?) light.

    Not a patch on the faithful Ibiza 6L sitting outside, but presumably that’s a death trap if anything hit it.

    The new Fiesta is quite shocking:

    Pointless aperture compounded by a tiny tailgate DLO relative to the glazed area. Why did they even bother?

    1. Eurgh. That tiniest of window will only ever serve as a reading light under the most favourable of conditions. The rest of the time, rear occupants will get to enjoy the opportunity to study the dreadfulness of the fake stitching ad nauseam.

      The Ibiza, by the way, is shockingly more expertly crafted a piece of styling than its new Polo brother. There simply isn’t a valid reason to go for a VW or Audi when there’s a Skoda of Seat alternative available at the moment.

      Speaking of d-pillars, blindspots and fake windows, I’d like to introduce you to the Borgward BXSomething’s rear peephole:

  2. I’ve yet to see the new Polo, but the Ibiza is a very accomplished piece of work, with a real premium feel.

    The last Polo disappointed by comparison with the Ibiza, which arrived a few months earlier. I think the answer is to be found in how they sit in their brand’s ranges.

    The Ibiza is SEAT’s heartland car. It has to be so good that nobody will walk away and buy a Fiesta, Clio or 208.

    Conversely, it suits VW to make the Polo meanly-furnished and overpriced as customers will just pay a bit more for the the Golf they really wanted anyway.

    1. I obviously disagree regarding the previous generation Polo, which I liked a lot.

      The new Polo in comparison is pretty much exactly what the new BMW 5 series is to its predecessor: superficially very similar, but each and every change is for the worse. I simply fail to comprehend this kind of design approach.

      Most shocking though is the new Polo’s detail execution. It’s got a spear-like character line on its flanks (rather similar to the new 5’s, incidentally) that’s an unfathomably crude bit of sculpting, aided by a garish fake vent/badge at its tip. Even the panel gaps are astonishingly mediocre next to those of, say, a Skoda Superb.

      But, to end on a positive note, the work of Jozef Kaban at Skoda and Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos at Seat needs to be commended. While VAG’s core brands have remained stagnant or even took retrograde steps, the fringe marques have managed to heighten their appeal. Well done to them!

  3. On matters Borgward, that’s a BX7.

    As far as I can work out ‘2.8TGDI’ signifies a 2 litre petrol hybrid. The ones that turned up for Carl’s 125th birthday festivities last year had a variant on the same badging:

    Borgward AG say the 2.0 litre direct injection petrol turbo was developed in conjunction with FEV, but give no hint as to its origins, thought to be a Mitsubishi engine built under licence by BAIC.

    Borgward were ahead of the German field in non capacity related designations (as with so much else). The later Hansa 2400 Pullmen had 2.25 litre engines.

    There was also this on another BX7:

    FAKT Gmbh are a testing and engineering consultancy in Heimertingen, Western Bavaria.

    My informants who actually made it to the IAA reported disappointment at the finish of the BX5 on the stand. We should not be surprised. It’s priced in China to compete with domestic manufacturers’ products, rather than the German premium carmakers in Borgward AG’s long-term sights. The real disappointment is that monthly registrations are still sitting at 5-6000, despite a two vehicle range.

    On the positive side, everyone loved the electric Isabella.

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