Friday, December 14, 2007

God is in the Details, Part II

A few days ago Jalopnik followed up with a post and survey about their Flickr photos we grabbed last week. (Big surprise that 92% of readers prefer the Audi engine design.)

Although I was intially in the camp that considered the Audi engine a work of absolute perfect design/engineering balance, and the Lexus engine an utterly despicable display of thoughtlessness and bad design, I stepped back and got to thinking about the cultural differences between Germany and Japan. Germans are traditionally obsessed with order (a bit too much sometimes...) while Japan often tends toward a fetish for chaotic mechanical complexity. One needs to look only as far as the streets of Tokyo or the brilliant cult classic Tetsuo: The Iron Man.

Tetsuo: The Iron Man
There is the distinct possibility that the Lexus engineers find that seemingly random tangle of wires the sexiest thing ever. I am a European car fanatic and like to wrench on my cars myself, so I can't appreciate that school of thouhgt whatsoever when I can't find the spark plugs, let alone change them. But it is a very reasonable explanation. Quality obsessive Lexus - of all companies - can't possibly put such seemingly horrible design out there without reason. The engine compartment of the IS-F may very well represent the ultimate example in over-the-top technology as a pure aesthetic, and within that context, the better and more advanced design of the two.

What do you think?

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