Top class design: The best cars of 2015

In an evaluation process spanning several days, the team of experts of last year’s Red Dot Award: Product Design awarded the sought-after seal of quality for good design, the “Red Dot”, to 1,240 products. 122 entries won an Honourable Mention for a particularly well executed aspect of design work. Only 81 products were bestowed the honour of the top award, the “Red Dot: Best of the Best”. Here are the best cars of 2015:

Mercedes-AMG GT
A special challenge in the design of automobiles is to continuously find an appropriate form for innovative concepts of motorisation. The Mercedes-AMG GT is designed with proportions that give the car a strong, expressive character and skilfully reflect its technical potential. A visual unity of positively arched surfaces, a dome-shaped arched roof line and frameless doors lend this sports car a sculptural appeal. Its broad shoulders and narrow tail light graphics create an emotional overall appearance. This impression is continued in the interior in a highly consistent way, embodying an equally high degree of emotion and sensual purity. The purist design, which clearly visualises the advanced technology of the instruments, perfectly matches the high-grade materials. The sport seats and steering wheel also create an elegant, appealing impression. The driver experiences precision and a surrounding where every detail has been carefully considered. A maxim that is also echoed in the AMG Drive Unit controls: arranged like eight cylinders in a V-layout, they emphasise the powerful and high-tech impression of the centre console. The combination of boldly sculpted surfaces and flowing lines turn the Mercedes into a sports car that successfully realises its objective of creating a fusion of beauty and intelligence.

Mazda MX-5
Introduced in 1989, the Mazda MX-5 represents the renaissance of the roadster. Now in its fourth generation, the look is sportier than ever. With a design language that consciously accentuates the contrast between stillness and motion, the new model radiates a magnified degree of agility. The car weighs 100 kg less than its predecessor, yet is exceptionally comfortable. To convey the desired sportiness, its designers moved the cabin further toward the rear and lowered the hip point of the seats. One remarkable effect achieved was the special way light reflects off the new MX-5’s body surface. These reflections change with the angle of light, making the car seem alive. And by merging the body surface into the door trim, the boundary between the interior and exterior virtually dissolves. The interior itself has been optimised for driving with the top down. Equipped with an easy-to-use soft top that looks and feels good, innovative wind control, and headrests with integrated speakers, the sophisticated cabin offers drivers outstanding comfort. As a highly inspiring reinterpretation, the new Mazda MX-5 delivers an exciting, contemporary roadster experience.

Volvo XC90
The cars of the Swedish company Volvo stand for a high level of safety and a distinctive design. Conceived as a premium quality SUV with seven seats, the Volvo XC90 marks the beginning of a new Volvo product architecture. A striking feature is the expressively designed face with the revised brand emblem. In combination with the T-shaped daytime running lights, this concept establishes a highly recognisable brand identity. The interior design of the car impresses with a tablet-like touchscreen control console. Forming the heart of the entire in-car control system, it allows the intuitive control of all functions and also integrates a smartphone via the supported Apple CarPlay and Android Auto operation systems. The Volvo XC90 features an advanced standard safety package with an innovative auto brake assistant for intersections as well as special run-off road protection, which protects passengers in case of accidents caused by the car driving off the road. The City Safety auto brake system can furthermore automatically detect vehicles, cyclists and pedest rians at day and night. Consistent and convincing in its details, the SUV can be equipped with a wide range of powerful four-cylinder Drive-E engines. Also in this respect, the essence of the brand is perpetuated in an extremely contemporary way.

Ferrari FXX K
Ferrari has been synonymous with motor racing since 1929, when the famous Scuderia was founded. Ever since becoming a fully-fledged manufacturer in 1947, the company has always bestowed upon its road-going models the technology developed by the racing division. Derived from the LaFerrari supercar, the FXX K is the latest in a programme of technological laboratory prototypes created for a highly select group of clients and the fruit of both GT Research and Development as well as experimentation in Formula 1. It is a track-only edition built in an extremely limited series. The car’s staggering performance is attested by two significant figures: a total power output of 1050 cv, delivered from the naturally aspirated V12 engine combined with an electric motor, and a maximum torque in excess of 900 Nm. It magnifies the LaFerrari’s styling concept and unleashes its untapped potential without being subject to homologation requirements or regulatory restrictions. A plethora of aerodynamic innovations, meticulously developed in collaboration with the designers, serve to enhance not only its efficiency but also its purpose ful aesthetics. All body panels have been modified to various extents, with most of the alterations aimed at generating more downforce. A lower suspension set up, wider front and rear track and increased camber combine to reinforce the FXX K’s aggressive stance.

Until 10 February 2016, established design luminaries, medium-sized businesses as well as up-and-coming professionals have the opportunity to submit their innovations to hope for one of the most coveted awards in the world: in the Red Dot Award: Product Design 2016.

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