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Citroën redefines the large family car with the C5 X

Filed by Jack Yan/April 13, 2021/22.02





William Crozes/Continental Productions

Is this the future of the CD- and D-segment family car? Citroën has unveiled its C5 X, the third generation (if you don’t count the C5 Aircross) of the C5 line, blending saloon, estate and SUV ideas.
   Sales of conventional saloons and estates in this segment have been dropping for some time. Ford has already said it will not replace the Mondeo after 2022, bringing to an end a line that could be traced back to the Consul Cortina of 1962. There have been suggestions that Opel, Citroën’s sister brand, will replace the Insignia with a crossover, possibly a car closely related to this one.
   The lines are certainly more blurred with the C5 X. Traditionally, a crossover would have meant something like a Subaru Forester, a station wagon format more raised than a traditional car, but lower than an SUV. Here Citroën takes influences from numerous genres. It is a sleek, two-box shape, that if viewed without the 19-inch wheels, could be taken to be a shooting brake, an estate car with less loading capacity because of a sloping rear—think Mercedes-Benz CLS or even the Audi Q8. The six-light glasshouse even recalls Robert Opron’s Citroën CX (and specifically the CXperience concept of 2016), which no doubt will please Citroënistas. Up front are thin LED headlights that give a V shape when lit, a Citroën design signature that started with the 2020 C4. The bespoilered rear deck emphasizes that this isn’t a regular estate; curiously, when viewed from some front three-quarter angles, the D-pillar looks upright, and even recalls the outgoing C5 break.
   Happily, the C5 X has an airy glasshouse, doing away with the massive C-pillars that have plagued car design for a decade. This helps with bringing light in, while also aiding visibility. One can only hope that it is the beginning of the end of the cocoon, which may have emerged in times of great uncertainty, where people wanted to feel enveloped and secure. If Citroën’s trend-watchers have it right, we might come to feel more open and embracing of the outside world again.
   Those 19-inch wheels raise the car’s stance, but in an age where the crossover and the SUV are not niche vehicles, but mainstream ones, they do not look oversized. Interestingly, Citroën’s French rival Renault may have contributed to that, with intentionally large wheels for the Scénic and Espace, with a similar philosophy of blending genres with an eye to courting mainstream SUV buyers who want a more commanding driving position. More opportunity, then, for a future designer to claim a successor is ‘lower, wider, longer’, the romance of postwar US design.
   Its sleekness is perhaps only compromised by the transverse front-wheel-drive layout, which necessitates the position of the front wheels, a design compromise evident on the Citroën C6 in China, but better hidden here. One might think that Citroën has gone adventurous here—though not to the level of the DS—because of its recent poor sales in China. When in doubt, design your way out—it worked for Chrysler and its LH sedans in the 1990s.
   Under the skin is active suspension, with Citroën claiming (not for the first time in its history) a “magic carpet” ride. There are what the company calls its Progressive Hydraulic Cushions that relax the suspension more. Handling isn’t the top priority here, having an interior that’s lounge-like and floating is.
   The interior emphasizes width (externally the car measures 1,865 mm in this respect, which is probably typical for a grand routier of this age). Citroën says its Advanced Comfort seats are particularly capacious in the second row, while the boot has a 545 l capacity. There’s more refinement, the company points out, with the plug-in hybrid version running in pure-electric mode, which it can do for 50 km, up to 135 km/h. Acoustic-laminated front and rear windows keep things insulated further.
   There is a head-up display that Citroën says is a step toward augmented reality, driving assistance features, a new infotainment interface powered through a 12-inch central touchscreen, voice recognition, and a customizable display. Safety systems use the radar, cameras and sensors. There is level 2 autonomous driving, with Highway Driver Assist, using the adaptive cruise control with Stop & Go and lane-keep assistance. And as one would expect in 2021, rear cross-traffic alert, a 360-vision display that plots the area around the car on the touchscreen to aid man, and hands-free access.—Jack Yan, Founder and Publisher





William Crozes/Continental Productions

 


SMoss’s Great Again charts the course of the Trump presidency

Filed by Lucire staff/April 11, 2021/2.08





Lucire travel editor Stanley Moss, writing as SMoss, has put together a limited edition volume documenting the presidency of Donald J. Trump, available in both a hardcover collectors’ edition and a smaller paperback.
   Entitled Great Again, the book begins with a cover showing a worn ‘Make America Great Again’ cap discarded on the pavement. Inside are images from the 45th presidency, including press coverage, artwork, memes and other cultural artefacts from the four-year period.
   The large-format version measures 30 cm square and retails for €102, with the price going up to €120 after April 15. The price includes international shipping. Its smaller counterpart measures 20 cm square, and is available at €51 (€60 after April 15).
   They are privately printed in Italy. Both are individually numbered hand-signed by the author.
   They are available only by special order through emailing the author at info@diganzi.com, and will not be made available on Amazon. There are some videos showing the books and their contents at the official page, www.secondguesspress.com/greatagain-book.


 


Kia launches flagship Sorento model with plug-in hybrid powertrain in New Zealand

Filed by Jack Yan/April 7, 2021/0.33

It seems to be the trajectory of brands such as Hyundai and Kia: offering ever more stylish, premium models on the basis that even people who indulge in luxury like value for money.
   Kia’s rise has been particularly marked after its appointment of Peter Schreyer as head of design, before being named one of the company’s three presidents. Schreyer worked his magic on the Audi TT, and he has been behind such hits as the original K5 (Optima in New Zealand) and Stinger.
   The latest Sorento benefits from similar design philosophies: whereas Japanese marques often veer toward either a domestic (e.g. Honda Civic) feel or a mid-Atlantic one, Kia looks west and bridges the gap between Korea and the occident. The Sorento is no exception and its latest entry, the Sorento PHEV Premium, blends the luxury appointments of the range’s flagship with a plug-in hybrid powertrain—not to mention all-wheel drive, seven-seat capacity, and 1,988 ℓ load space when the second and third rows are folded down.
   Its all-electric range is 57 km, and carbon emissions are at a low 36 g/km—thanks to its 13·8 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack mated to a 1·6-litre turbocharged engine, developing 265 PS (195 kW) and 350 Nm of torque.
   There’s the trade-mark “tiger nose”, 19-inch machine-finished alloys, and a premium cabin that’s marked by two digital displays (12·3 inches ahead of the driver, 10¼ inches for the central infotainment screen), and includes a panoramic sunroof, a wireless smartphone charger and a Bose 12-speaker surround-sound system. The power leather seats are 14-way for the driver, with four-way lumbar support and cushion extension, while the front passenger gets a 10-way. You can expect the usual conveniences for a premium model: lane-keep and lane-follow assist, smart cruise control, sat-nav and life traffic updates, and seven USB charging ports.
   Warranty is for four years’ or 40,000 km scheduled servicing for the hybrid and plug-in hybrid models, complementing a standard five-year warranty and five-year roadside assistance (unlimited kilometres) plan.
   This premium machine retails in New Zealand for NZ$89,990 plus on-road costs.—Jack Yan, Founder and Publisher

 


New fine art prints of celebrated American quilts

Filed by Lucire staff/March 31, 2021/20.43

Here’s an opportunity to add some authentic beauty to your walls.
   Gee’s Bend is an isolated African American hamlet in Boykin, Alabama, found along the Alabama River. The some seven hundred or so inhabitants of this small, rural community are mostly descendants of slaves, and for generations they worked the fields belonging to the local Pettway plantation. Quilts made by the residents are now part of major art collections, including the Smithsonian in Washington, DC.
   The quilting tradition in Gee’s Bend may have been influenced in part by patterned Native American textiles and African textiles. Local Black women pieced together strips of cloth to make bedcovers. They made quilts first to keep themselves and their children warm in unheated shacks that lacked running water, telephones, and electricity. Along the way, they developed a distinctive style, noted for its lively improvisations and geometric simplicity. They are remarkably contemporary and modernist, recollecting works by Klee or Matisse.
   A series of top-quality, collectible hand-signed and numbered lithographic fine art prints have been created from these timeless and distinctive designs.
   The limited edition lithographic prints are rather large in scale, suitable for bold statements in interior spaces. For more information, contact info@approx.blue.—Stanley Moss, Travel Editor


Louisiana Bendolph: New Generation, 2007
Colour softground etching with aquatint and spitbite aquatint
Image: 533 × 711 mm (21 × 28 in)
Paper: 787 × 914 mm (31 × 36 in)
Edition of 50
Hand-signed by the artist
US$3,450


Loretta Pettway: Old Beauty, 2007
Colour softground and hardground etching with aquatint and spitbite aquatint
Image: 483 × 425 mm (19 × 16¾ in)
Paper: 711 × 629 mm (28 × 24¾ in)
Edition of 50
Hand-signed by the artist
US$4,025


Mary Lee Bendolph: Get Ready, 2007
Colour softground etching with aquatint and spitbite aquatint
Image: 635 × 838 mm (25 × 33 in)
Paper: 914 × 1,092 mm (36 × 43 in)
Edition of 50
Hand-signed by the artist
US$6,900

 


Giselle, a Royal New Zealand Ballet favourite, returns for May–June 2021

Filed by Lucire staff/March 29, 2021/0.06


Giselle is back: the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s acclaimed ballet from 2012, which toured the world after its première in Wellington, and which became a 2013 feature film by Toa Fraser, will return in May and June 2021.
   Conceived by former RNZB artistic director Ethan Stiefel and choreographer–director Johan Kobborg, Giselle was praised by this magazine both at its début and its 2016 tour. We wrote in 2012: ‘it distinguishes itself through clever choreography … stunning costumes by Natalia Stewart, and Kendall Smith’s lighting (and lightning). Howard C. Jones’s scenic design gave Giselle a visual depth, using different shades to gain perspective, and making the production feel even grander …
   ‘The high standards in these areas complemented the outstanding choreography and production by RNZB artistic director Ethan Stiefel and Royal Ballet principal dancer Johan Kobborg. Stiefel and Kobborg, both of whom have danced the role of Albrecht, have collaborated brilliantly …’
   Audiences will have a chance to experience it again in Wellington (May 12–15), Palmerston North (May 19), Napier (May 22–3), Auckland (May 27–9), Christchurch (June 4–5) and Dunedin (June 9). Hamish McKeich will conduct the Adolphe Adam score with Orchestra Wellington, the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, and the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra in those centres, with the Wellington recording used elsewhere. More details can be found here.
   RNZB artistic director Patricia Barker says, ‘We have reached into our vault of precious gems and great, beloved ballets, and can’t wait to be on stage again with Giselle. New Zealand audiences and dancers have shared an almost 70-year love affair with this ballet, which continues to enthrall us all with its elegance and timeless story.’

 


The Outlierman commemorates 60 years of the Jaguar E-type with luxury fashion accessories

Filed by Jack Yan/March 25, 2021/11.21





Andrea Mazzuca, co-founder of the Outlierman, is a huge motoring enthusiast, so it’s no surprise his company was going to let the 60th anniversary of the Jaguar E-type, one of the British marque’s most iconic models, pass unnoticed. The Outlierman has released a range of accessories commemorating the anniversary, with scarves, T-shirts, pocket squares and silk ties, all handmade in Italy by its skilled artisans.
   As profiled by us last year, the Outlierman’s luxury driving accessories are made by artisans whose world-class quality suits the most discerning customers—and who has managed to attract Bentley and Pagani as exclusive partners.
   Mazzuca notes, ‘The Jaguar E-type is one of my most favourite cars—the elegance, style and panache are all unrivalled. It’s a car I’ve loved ever since I was a child so naturally, to celebrate the 60th anniversary, I knew the Outlierman had to pay tribute in the only way we knew best—by producing the E-type’s very own collection.’
   In addition, the Outlierman has a Rent & Drive service, which has a classic car fleet comprising two Jaguar E-types. But if they’re not your cup of tea, there’s a 1956 W154 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL, a.k.a. the Gullwing, a 1961 Maserati 3500 GT Vignale Spyder, a 1961 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL roadster, a 1963 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso, and a 1957 Ferrari 250 GT California short-wheelbase Spyder. Rates-wise, the E-types are bargains, with both a Series I and a Series III on offer.—Jack Yan, Founder and Publisher

 


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