• It Almost Seems Like BMW’s Design Boss Is Trying to Justify His Job Amid Big Grille Criticism

Who thought a grille would cause so much upset among BMW fans?

It is no secret that BMW’s decision to enlarge the front grille of its 4 Series (and M3 and M4, for good measure) has been receiving a lot of criticism from fans and potential customers. In fact, the decision has prompted tuners to come up with conversions that take the grille to a more bearable design, yet BMW continues to defend this polarizing styling cue.

It Almost Seems Like BMW's Design Boss Is Trying to Justify His Job Amid Big Grille Criticism Exterior
- image 909451

We’ve seen the new BMW 4 Series live and as we pointed out then, the grille does not look that bad in real life. Of course, the same cannot be said about most of the pictures ending up on our small screens, hence the heavy criticism that BMW as been quick to counter.

In an interview with Esquire (that’s also a paid advertorial),

BMW’s head of design, Domagoj Dukec, states that “good design isn’t about pretty or ugly.”

Of course, we doubt that the interviewer got to ask Mr. Dukec any hard questions since they would have not made it through BMW’s PR filter given the sponsored nature of the article.

It Almost Seems Like BMW's Design Boss Is Trying to Justify His Job Amid Big Grille Criticism Exterior
- image 935461

However, Mr. Dukec seems to be all in favor of change and “disruptive” design, and in this regard, he makes examples out of the work of Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel or Marc Jacobs during his time at Louis Vuitton.

“What I try to teach everyone who is not a designer is that good design is not about pretty or ugly. These things are subjective. What is pretty? You will never design anything that 100% of people will like,” argued the designer.

Delving deeper into the bucktooth grille topic, Dukec explains that people are focusing too much on the grille alone while ignoring the car as a whole, unitary design exercise. Then again, if we are to look at the 4 Series like that, we would also spot the increased beltline angle and most importantly, the missing Hofmeister kink, which also generated a fair amount of criticism.

It Almost Seems Like BMW's Design Boss Is Trying to Justify His Job Amid Big Grille Criticism Exterior
- image 935491

I believe Domagoj Dukec is right, to some extent. You cannot please everyone, and we indeed need some disruption from time to time. My question, then, is what should a carmaker do when the response to one of its designs is so negative? BMW is sticking to its decision of enlarging the grille and trying to be different with the 4er, fair play to that, but at what cost in the long term?

2021 BMW 4 Series lineup
BMW 420i Coupe BMW 430i Coupe BMW 420d Coupe BMW 420d xDrive Coupe
Config/No of cyls/valves In-line / 4 / 4 In-line / 4 / 4 In-line / 4 / 4 In-line / 4 / 4
Engine technology BMW TwinPower Turbo technology: TwinScroll turbocharger, High Precision Injection, VALVETRONIC fully variable valve timing, Double-VANOS variable camshaft timing BMW TwinPower Turbo technology: TwinScroll turbocharger, High Precision Injection, VALVETRONIC fully variable valve timing, Double-VANOS variable camshaft timing BMW TwinPower Turbo technology: multi-stage turbocharging, common-rail direct injection with solenoid injectors (max. injection pressure: 2500 bar) BMW TwinPower Turbo technology: multi-stage turbocharging, common-rail direct injection with solenoid injectors (max. injection pressure: 2500 bar)
Effective capacity cc 1998 1998 1995 1995
Stroke/bore mm 94.6 / 82.0 90.0 / 84.0 90.0 / 84.0
Compression ratio :1 11.0 10.2 16.5 16.5
Output 181 HP @ 5,000-6,500 RPM 255 HP @ 5,000-6,500 RPM 189 HP @ 4,000 RPM 189 HP @ 4,000 RPM
Torque 221 LB-FT @ 1,350 – 4,000 RPM 295 LB-FT @ 1,550 – 4,400 RPM 295 LB-FT @ 1,750 – 2,500 RPM 295 LB-FT @ 1,750 – 2,500 RPM
Acceleration 0–100 km/h 7.5 seconds 5.8 seconds 7.1 seconds 7.4 seconds
Top speed 240 km/h (149 mph) 250 km/h (155 mph) 240 km/h (149 mph) 238 km/h (148 mph)

Source: Esquire

Tudor Rus
Tudor Rus
Assistant Content Manager - Automotive Expert - tudor@topspeed.com
Tudor’s first encounter with cars took place when he was only a child. Back then, his father brought home a Trabant 601 Kombi and a few years later, a Wartburg 353. At that time, he was too young to know how they worked and way too young to drive them, but he could see one thing – each of them had a different ethos and their own unique personality. As time went on, he started seeing that in other cars as well, and his love for the automobile was born.  Read full bio
About the author

Related Articles

2021 BMW M3

2021 2021 BMW 4 Series Coupé - Everything You Need to Know

2021 BMW M4 Coupe

What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: