A prominent car designer who absolutely shall not be named agreed with what everyone has been thinking, but has been reluctant to say: the newest Audi Q7 is amazingly bad.

I was walking the Detroit Auto Show floor and I spotted a car designer (whose cars you have seen and do adore) walking in the opposite direction, alone, unattended. I've seen the guy on TV before, I recognized him, and stopped him to ask his opinion. We happened to be crossing paths in front of the Audi stand.

I asked him what he thought of the lineup. He asked what I meant. I turned to the Q7. "It's hideous, isn't it?" He quickly double checked my badge that I wasn't an Audi employee, and then he relaxed.

He called it more like a station wagon than before, and he called it ugly. And he called it a mess.

After a pause, he had the most clear, most accurate description of everything tired, messy, boring, and bad about the design.

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"It's brutal."

Maybe it's no surprise that Audi's head of design got "relieved of duties" last year.