• BMW’s New Kidney Grille Doesn’t Look as Bad on the All-New M4 As We Thought

It’s a hot take, but a take nonetheless

The 2021 BMW M4 has arrived, and, as expected, it has brought BMW’s new — and controversial — kidney grille with it. But while most, us included, have been quick to lampoon the oversized grille, Bimmer has been hard at work trying to make it look presentable. Well, the new M4 is here, equally new kidney grille-included, and while it looks as polarizing as we expected it to be, it doesn’t look as bad as we thought it would be. It’s still going to take some getting used to, and we suspect it’ll take a long time for some people, but the good news is that the oversized kidney grille doesn’t ruin the overall visual integrity of the new M4 — and the new M3, for that matter. Bimmer’s new sports coupe still looks as ravishing as ever, and it helps, too, that every other aspect of the coupe remains true to its incomparable performance roots.

Wait, so the all-new BMW M4 doesn’t look ugly?

BMW's New Kidney Grille Doesn't Look as Bad on the All-New M4 As We Thought Exterior Wallpaper quality
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I suppose it’ll still fall on the eyes of the beholder, but as far as this pair of eyes is concerned, the new grille doesn't look so bad on the BMW.

I expected the new M4 to look horrible with that new kidney grille design that BMW seemed so desperate to shove down our throats despite the overwhelming public reaction to its hideousness. But the Lord does work in mysterious ways, doesn’t he (or she)?

BMW unveiled the all-new M4 alongside the just-as-all-new BMW M3, and for what both performance models are worth, the massive kidney grille didn’t look as bad as we all feared. It’s going to take some getting used to, for sure, but as far as the overall design goes, the new M4 looks like, well, an M4.

Give BMW’s designers a lot of credit. The grille is a lot more prominent, but it doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb. A big part of that outcome lies in how big the surrounding elements are, too. The all-new M4 also comes with large headlamps that are proportional to the grille’s size, creating an aesthetic balance that a lot of probably didn’t account for when we saw all those test mules and prototypes.

BMW's New Kidney Grille Doesn't Look as Bad on the All-New M4 As We Thought Exterior
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Speaking of balance, the sports coupe’s hood is far from pedestrian-looking, too. The raised section in the middle extends all the way to the outer top corner of each grille. Not only is this another example of balanced design, but it also helps draw a little bit of the attention away from the grille and towards the totality of the entire front section’s design. The wide and angular cuts in the bumper and other sections of the M4’s body also takes a lot of attention away from the kidney grilles.

Is it suddenly a great design now that we see it used in a production Bimmer?

BMW's New Kidney Grille Doesn't Look as Bad on the All-New M4 As We Thought Exterior
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Make no mistake, though. BMW’s new kidney grille isn’t for everyone. If you still hate it and how it was used on the M4 — and M3 — we’re not going to disagree with you. It just doesn’t look as obnoxious when you look at the totality of the M4’s design. It’s still polarizing to look at, but it isn’t as bad as we pegged it to be. That’s a testament to BMW and the belief it has in its design team. It could’ve buckled under the universal disdain towards the new kidney-grille design, but it didn’t. Maybe it knew what the rest of us didn’t; maybe it knew that the new grille design looked better with all the surrounding parts as opposed to sticking out on its own.

BMW's New Kidney Grille Doesn't Look as Bad on the All-New M4 As We Thought Exterior
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After seeing the all-new BMW M4 in all its glory, it’s hard to argue against that thought. Yes, BMW’s new kidney grille design isn’t going to be universally beloved anytime soon, but it’s not going to be derided to the extent that it was before we actually saw what it looked like with all the other design elements in place.

Kirby Garlitos
Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert - kirby@topspeed.com
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read full bio
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