• BMW’s Future Designs Need to be Bold and Meaningful

Believe it or not, a car’s exterior design is about more than choosing to be bold or bland

As BMW navigates the inevitable course to the future that doesn’t only include electrification of its lineup, but digitalization and sustainability, the company has been forced to rethink everything it stands for, all the way down to a design standpoint. This was never more evident than when BMW released the controversially grilled BMW M3 and the even bolder M4. And, while nobody can argue that the design of the M3 and M4 were definitely bold, that’s actually just the start of things.

Going Bold Means Looking Forward Not Backward

BMW's Future Designs Need to be Bold and Meaningful Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 935446

There’s no denying that BMW took some heat for its latest kidney grille design, but there was more to it than anyone realized on the onset and even when it seemed like BMW’s design boss was trying to justify that design choice, it also turns out that BMW is okay with you making its design look better. The one major thing that everyone forgot about was that the big-grille design existed a long time ago, and was actually a showpiece of the 7 Series concept back in the mid-1990s. But I digress, I have to admit I’m starting to get a little off-topic. The point I’m trying to make is that, even among extreme criticism, BMW held true to its belief that bold design is the way to go. As it turns out, that big grille on the 3 and 4 Series was just the start.

BMW i Vision Circular Concept Is A 100-Percent Recyclable City Car
- image 1015203
There’s a digital surface up front that interprets the headlights and gives the impression of the kidney grille

Fast forward a year or so to the 2021 IAA in Munich and swing by the BMW stand. You’d see this crazy (and very bold for BMW) “i Vision Circular Concept – a name that is so ironic it hurts as, outside of the very curvy roof\windshield, there’s nothing circular about this concept. The kidney grilles were essentially a flush design cue that were paired with the weird headlights (and also matched the wheel design I might add) and overall it’s a very strange concept for BMW. Its whole purpose isn’t to preview a production model but to represent the companies new phase of electric models that will be based on the Neue Klasse architecture. The first model that will ride on that platform is a new 3 Series EV that will be unique compared to the fuel-powered 3 Series it’ll be sold next to.

That in itself is bold, but for BMW its future designs need to be more than just bold, as explained by Design Chief Domagoj Dukec to Autocar:

“We must be bold and meaningful. You can do bold through many tricks. Everybody knows how to make a car attractive, but if it’s not meaningful, it’s empty.”
BMW i Vision Circular Concept Is A 100-Percent Recyclable City Car
- image 1015196
The car is composed of 100-percent recyclable materials

And, that’s actually where the iVision Circular Concept comes in. “As designers, it’s about rethinking and reducing. It’s how we treat materials – not using chrome, creating materials to use less leather. For us, electrification alone isn’t the sustainable path it is for others. They think they make electric cars and there, work done. But the problem is bigger,” said Dukec.

BMW's Future Designs Need to be Bold and Meaningful Exterior
- image 935379

So, while future BMW cars might go beyond the level of bold that we’ve seen with the M3 and M4, for example, even the boldest design will have some kind of meaningful purpose. You can think about the i4 and iX EVs as prime examples of this. Neither of these cars need a kidney grille design outside of staying true to BMW’s traditional design language, but they have them. In their case, the grilles became a home for different sensors and systems. And, according to Dukec, “it means the icon becomes intelligent, so it becomes more meaningful.”

Source: Autocar

Robert Moore
Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert - robert@topspeed.com
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read full bio
About the author

Related Articles

BMW i Vision Circular Concept Is A 100-Percent Recyclable City Car

2021 BMW M4 - Driven

2021 BMW M3

What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: