Currently reading: BMW continues to defend new styling direction
Product boss stands by “strong characters and bold design,” being "convinced" that it is the right move for the brand
Mark Tisshaw
2 mins read
17 December 2019

BMW has received “very positive” feedback to its radical shift in styling for certain models including the X7, according to product boss Peter Henrich.

Henrich told Autocar that he was “convinced” this bold styling direction under design boss Adrian van Hooydonk was the right way to go, and that customer data showed it was being well received.

“This is crucial for success,” said Henrich. “BMW customers are demanding. They want to express something and are not afraid of vehicles with strong characters. They are looking for it. So we have decided to focus even more on strong characters and bold design.

“The design team with Adrian van Hooydonk do an excellent job in designing and defining that character. The feedback received has been very positive. When first shown the X7, people said: ‘How big is the kidney grille?’ But customers never reacted like that and the car is a great success. It’s sold out for a very long period and people love it.

“There are always people specifically looking for something critical and afraid of something new. But we are very self-confident and will continue.”

When asked if BMW would apply such radical design to next-generation versions of its traditionally more conservative models such as the 5 Series, Henrich said it was important each model got 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. This is then the base for the design and engineering team. Some cars are more extroverted, more bold than others as they have different messages to transmit.

“The customer is looking for a different type of a car with a 3 Series to a Z4 or X6.”

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The unusual grille of BMW’s 2018 Vision iNext, which previews a large electric SUV due in 2021, has been abandoned following feedback, design chief Domagoj Dukec has revealed.

Most of the two vertical bars that separate one kidney from the other made way for the iNext’s arsenal of sensors required for autonomous driving. “We test what works aesthetically,” said Dukec of the iNext, which “reinvented our icons and form language. We connected the kidneys because of sensors, but we’ve decided not to do it. It wasn’t considered to be a BMW kidney grille any more.

“The grille is critical, so the iNext, the i4 and the iX3 will get separated kidneys – we spent the money to have sensors that can see through the chrome.”


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17 December 2019

It seems such a pity that when BMW had just about shaken off the thrusting executive (bellend) image to Audi they should try quite so hard to wrestle it back. 

And all I can think of when I see one of those new x5s is Bugs Bunny. 

17 December 2019

Parker is quite pleased with his new car to drive Lady Penelope around in.


17 December 2019

Don,t you just love when these higly paid designers try to justify bad design. This to  most commentators is utterly awful . Seriously does anyone want to drive a car with such a horrendous grill. NO NO   Mr Chief of design. This would be classed as bad if a 6 year old had summited such a design. . Current B M W design seems to be shock for the sake  of it. 

17 December 2019

What I don't understand is why they feel to shed loyal customers that put faith in them over the decades in pursuit of new customers.

Dorsn't seem to me to make business sense. Porsche is taking over my psychological investment in cars. Compare the Taycan with... what at BMW?


17 December 2019

...... in designing cars which already look as though they have already been in a RTA!

BMW and Lexus right now have the market cornered.

17 December 2019
The problem with BMW design under Adrian van Hooydonck for me is not the size of the grille but proportion, excessive and inappropriate detailing, lack of inspired ideas and terminally dull interiors.
All of these together pose a far greater problem than merely the size of the grille.

17 December 2019

When in a hole stop digging.

17 December 2019

This could almost be a member of the shadow cabinet explaining how popular their policies have just proved. 

17 December 2019


17 December 2019

His designs suck


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