Today's headlamps are as much fashion accessories as practical appliances
From the absolutely far out, to the downright mundane, headlamps are a critical component of modern automobile design. While some are shining examples of the bright design and engineering minds behind the automobiles we love, others play a more conservative role.
Some concepts, like this Nissan Titan Warrior pickup truck, yield complexity to bold and powerful. Through its headlamp design alone, the truck communicates volumes about the kind of vehicle it is. Intended as a design study, Nissan has taken its production Titan XD and created the concept of an off-roading beast.
It’s not hard to see that these lamps belong to a vehicle with sporting aspirations. When it comes to market in 2017, the Lexus LC500 will be powered by a 467 horsepower 5.0L V-8 and promises a 0-100 km/h time of less than five seconds.
Lexus calls the design language of its LF-FC concept “aggressively elegant”. The sharp creases that make up this coupe-like four-door sedan is a distinct departure from the soft look of the brand’s flagship LS sedan this concept is expected to replace.
This distinctive quad light headlamp belongs to the equally distinctively designed Kia Telluride concept. While it would be a refreshing change to see such a uniquely different addition to the large SUV segment, Kia has made it clear this is not a concept intended for production.
Nissan’s IDS concept ignores the norms of lights just at the front and back of the car. Instead, it adds to it with an LED light-strip that runs the length of the car’s side body line and is intended to indicate the car’s awareness of its surroundings and signal its intentions. The IDS is Nissan’s vision of what the next generation of autonomous vehicles will be.
Some concepts are far closer to production vehicles than others. What you’re looking at is the Buick Avista concept. We know it shares GM’s rear-wheel drive Alpha platform with the Camaro, ATS and CTS. If this 2 2 seater, two door coupe comes to market, we can safely say it is a new Buick Riviera with an entirely new name and appeal.
Look closely, you should be able to guess this one. The “c” is for “compact” and the arrow next to it indicates “forward looking”. While the smart ForTwo was indeed compact and forward looking when it was introduced in Canada back in 2004, it has since faded. The 2016 models are a complete redesign of the original while 2017 will also see it drop its top in Cabriolet form.
One- hundred years of Aston Martin gave birth to their grandest flagship car to date: the Vanquish. Not much changes from year to year with Aston’s most venerable car, but this is not a vehicle that needs to change to keep pace. Loved by many, the Vanquish has often been called the most lovely thing on four wheels. It’s hard to not to agree.
This is the headlamp of a Volkswagen Beetle, but this one is called the Beetle Dune. What’s a Beetle Dune you ask? Well, take a Beetle, lift it, widen its stance, throw in the motor from a Golf GTI and paint it sand yellow. The Dune is intended to widen the market for what is otherwise a really niche VW product.
It’s no coincidence this image is placed after the one before it. Porsche and Volkswagen are of course inextricably linked, the eponymous Ferdinand Porsche being responsible for the original Beetle. This, the new 911 Turbo looks to most of us like the last 911 Turbo and the rest of the 911 range. They say the headlamps are a cue to figuring out model. If you do figure it out, let us know.
No points for guessing that this is a BMW. One of the most anticipated unveils at the Detroit auto show this year, this is the 2016 M2. Small, lightweight with probably too much power on tap, the M2 is regarded as the kind of driver’s car the old Mazda Miata was, but this one with a whole lot more ponies.
Here a last, the production-ready 2017 Lincoln Continental not only brings back the brand’s most popular nameplate, it does so by combining bold design with graceful elegance. We love that Lincoln designers shaped the individual lamps to reflect the outline of the brand’s logo.
Replacing Cadillac’s aging SRX crossover, the 2017 XT5 is nothing like its predecessor. The softened lines of the brand’s new design language speak to the distinctly contemporary new Cadillac. The LED daytime running lamps that pipe down from the main headlamp housing are similar to that of the new CT6 sedan, and cement the brand’s new look.
Thanks to the recent Fiat-Chrysler amalgamation, there are a few new Italian vehicles headed to our shores. The 2017 Fiat 124 Spider is one of them. Beautifully proportioned, the 124 Spider promises all the charm of an European roadster and is actually underpinned by the Mazda MX-5.
At first glance there’s nothing special about a round headlamp. This Jeep Renegade headlamp however, features a tribute to its origins. Although simple, maybe even plain, this is one of my favourite production vehicle headlamps. Look closely, can you see what it is? (Hint; it's dead-centre.)
Seen above is the incredibly complex headlamp from the aptly named Acura Precision concept vehicle unveiled at this year’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Jewelry indeed!
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