Five car designs that missed the mark

Sometimes intelligent, cohesive design can be elusive. Here are five prime examples

Missed Mark Hero Jpg

Jaguar XK8: form over function

The Jaguar XK8 of 1996 promised plenty via its expansive, svelte exterior, then delivered a very different reality when you actually climbed in. Designer Geoff Lawson had 4760mm with which to work, but delivered a claustrophobic 2+2 with a tiny boot. So the opposite of a tardis, then. 

Jaguar Xk8

Citroen C3 Pluriel: a bad day at the office

Italian designer Donato Coco styled arguably the most beautiful production car of the last decade: the Ferrari 458 Italia. He also did one of the very worst of the modern era, the vile Citroen C3 Pluriel. Proof that some days are better than others, even for those with abundant talent and experience.

Citroen C3 Pluriel

Alfa Romeo Brera: miss conceptions

The road from concept to production sometimes results in a stylistic cul de sac. We’re looking at you, Alfa Romeo Brera. Giorgetto Giugiaro’s sleek V8 concept of 2002 morphed into an ill-handling, chubby disappointment for production. Not even Prodrive’s mid-life intervention could redeem it.

Alfa Romeo Brera

BMW E60 5 Series: ahead of its time?

‘The car Bangle spannered’ read one headline back in 2003 when the E60 5 Series was launched. Then-BMW design boss Chris Bangle copped a slagging for his ‘flame surfacing’ and the ‘Edna Everage glasses’ but surely we’re not the only ones who think the Bangle-era Five has matured with a degree of grace? 

BMW E60 5 Series

Pontiac Aztek: just a bit fugly

The Pontiac Aztek of 2000 was conceived with good intentions, foreseeing demand for compact crossovers. But built on a GM mini van platform, with ungainly overhangs and slab surfacing, it just ended up a munter. “Not for everyone,” said design leader Tom Peters at the time. Job done, then.

Pontiac Aztek


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