Speaking to the Australian motoring media at the Frankfurt motor show yesterday, the company’s vice president of BMW group design, Adrian van Hooydonk, said it is now time to take the brand’s design to a new level.
“We want to differentiate more within the BMW brand, to pull the cars a little bit further apart,” Hooydonk said.
“We are going to launch six or seven new cars - we wanted to take this opportunity to do a next step, a big step in design language too and you can see that in these two concepts [X7 SUV and i Vision Dynamics] and also the Z4 concept. It’s a design language that is cleaner, simpler, fewer lines, the lines that we do have are sharper and crisper.”
The showcase of its concepts at the Frankfurt motor show, including the BMW X7, i Vision Dynamics as well as Z4 and 8 Series coupe, will set the design tone for the brand in the coming years.
“Each new car going forward now, we believe has to have fresh character of its own. The new 3 [Series] will be part of this new form language, but also will have a couple of characteristics that are unique to that car.”
Hooydonk acknowledged that the brand’s current evolutionary design philosophy is perhaps no longer in pace with the times and its fast moving competition.
“We actually used to have a philosophy that every second-generation BMW should take a bigger step and roll that out over the whole vehicle generation, but times have changed.
"We live in a much faster-paced time now and of course the competition is stronger - and we need to make sure that each car is the most dynamic looking in its segment - and we want to use every new car as an opportunity to push the brand forward in terms of design.”
The changes, Hooydonk says, were not brought on out of necessity however, but more so a willingness for the company to accept change.
“In our company, and I have been with BMW for nearly 25 years, we tend to initiate change when we are successful, not when it's the opposite, because then you’re in a lot of stress and you need to act quickly. So we were quite happy with the way things were going four to five years ago.
"We had just launched BMW i, we had just created the i sub brand and done things like the i8 and then we felt that it was time for the BMW brand to take the next step. And that takes some preparation, so we did an advanced design project where we were quite experimental and we did that across our studios across the globe and we settled on this, what we are now rolling out, and it took a few more year to put that into production," Hooydonk said.
"Because if you’re going to do sharper detailing, you can do it without the production side - and all the cars coming now you will see a lot of details that prove that, not only we from a design point of view took a step, but also the company in terms of production fit and finish.”
Overall, Hooydonk says the new design language should help take the brand’s design philosophy to a more sophisticated form and lift BMW in terms of luxury feeling.
The upcoming changes to BMW’s design come at a time when German brands have been criticised for designing models across the range that look too similar.
Does BMW need more model design differentiation?