Friday, January 6, 2012

When A Car is Art - Peugeot 508

This morning, while driving to work on the MAX highway, I came across a brand new Peugeot 508. I was expecting to be impressed but, instead, I found myself cringing and, after a while, I couldn't help but snort and smirk.

It doesn't look like a typical Peugeot "lion", but it's not as refreshing as I had expected.

Dang, what's with Peugeot these days? It keeps churning out one difficult-to-like car design after another.

The Peugeot 508 is no Van Gogh, but I can tell, it's trying to be. It does follow contemporary design trends, which these days tend to be all about flowing lines and curves that depict motion - this is why great looking cars appear fast even when they are standing still. At the same time, the Peugeot 508 is, well, different, like how a Van Gogh is different from its contemporaries, but for the 508, "different" doesn't appear to have worked out as well as it has for a Van Gogh.

The 508 has many contemporary features like LED lights, swept lines and curves, but they appear as though they've been slapped together by a bored, uninspired artist - or an artist whose work has been interfered with by overbearing bosses. The rear looks like a reshaped BMW 5 series, whereas the front looks like an old Honda Accord. And the side profile is rather plain.

Or maybe, the Peugeot 508 is different in a good way, such that it takes time for people to gravitate to its design, in which case, only time will tell.

BMW Chief Designer Chris Bangle said that "Great cars are art" (see Of course, there are the cutting-edge, technical aspects of all great cars, but more than that, they are works of art. That is why people buy them, or aspire to.

We also buy cars out of the sheer necessity of getting from point A to point B, but if we simply buy a car that has little aesthetic value to it or, to put it simply, is weird and ugly, we're going to want to buy something better looking sooner rather than later.

So, let's see if the Peugeot 508 becomes likable by a lot of people. If it becomes more of a common sight on the road, then Peugeot may be on to something in terms of car art.

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