Sedans are looking as sleek as coupes while wagons are turning into "sportbacks" to hide their loading capacity.
Sometimes it seems the design world has been turned upside down.
These days, even SUVs are taking on coupe-like proportions. Will sporty design disappear in the age of fuel economy? Hardly.
No matter how much horsepower sits under the hood, any new model needs to look sporty -- from the tiny Ford Fiesta to a large SUV such as the BMW X6. Designers say they are trying to reinforce the performance image of new vehicles that need to comply with more stringent fuel consumption and emissions legislation across the globe.
"New vehicle architectures are much more flexible than in the past," said Walter de' Silva, head of design at Volkswagen Group. "That is permitting us to pen sportier lines than in the past."
The Audi A5 is an example. Two derivatives, a two-door coupe and five-door Sportback, have two vastly different configurations but are based on the same architecture.
The need to look sportier has even led to the creation of new categories. The SUV-coupe, heralded by the BMW X6, now has a follower with the Range Rover Evoque.
The Mercedes Benz CLS, a wavy, four-door sedan that looks like a coupe, was the trend-starter and is on its the second generation. Aston Martin, Audi and Porsche already have followed the trend with the Rapide, A7 and Panamera. BMW will follow in 2012 with a coupe-like sedan of its own.
Who says sporty design will disappear?