BMW is defending its controversial decision to use considerably larger versions of its classic double-kidney grille.
Product boss Peter Henrich told Autocar the new design language has received “very positive” feedback and that he was “convinced” the new direction was wise.
Those are big cars, however, where a big grille doesn’t necessarily seem out-of-place. As van Hooydonk pointed out in an earlier interview with Autocar, the X7’s grille is in proportion to the size of the SUV and is actually smaller than the snouts on some rivals.
As spy photos have revealed, the production vehicle’s grille looks to be just as vast and polarising as the concept’s.
It appears the oversized new grille won’t necessarily appear on all upcoming BMWs. When asked if models like the 5 Series would see their grilles enlarged, Henrich told Autocar each BMW model will have its own character.
“Each car has its own positioning,” he said. “In the early stages of development, we sit down – product, design and engineering – and define the character and the positioning.”
Van Hooydonk has also pointed out Chinese and American buyers are more receptive to bolder designs. That would explain why the 7 Series and X7 have been the first adopters given their popularity in said markets.
While BMW isn’t reversing course on its new design language, there is one upcoming BMW that’s had to have a nose job.
While massive like the Concept 4’s grille, the Vision iNext differed in that the two kidneys were joined, creating a peculiar, dumbbell-shaped grille.
Head of design Domagoj Dukec confirmed this design has been nixed following feedback.
BMW’s designers joined the two kidneys to aid the iNext’s array of sensors it uses for autonomous driving.
Dukec said the Vision iNext’s grille no longer looked like a BMW grille, so the company has decided to spend the extra money required to implement sensors that don’t need such a large space in which to work.
While the iNext will have two discrete kidneys, they won’t necessarily be discreet. Expect a large grille and the ensuing criticism.
We’ve heard this maelstrom of criticism before, directed at BMWs designed under Chris Bangle’s tenure as head of design.
Some of his design elements, however, were influential – Bangle’s flame surfacing arguably inspired other automakers to experiment with more extroverted surface detailing, while the infamous “Bangle butt” was also widely mimicked.