Currently reading: BMW design chief: New 4 Series grille will be 'brand-shaper'
The bold kidney grille on the new coupe has created plenty of reaction – but BMW are confident buyers will love it

BMW design chief Domagoj Dukec believes that the “polarising” kidney grille on the new 4 Series coupe will be recognised as a “brand-shaper” in years to come.

The second-generation coupe maintains the large horizontal grille first seen on a concept model last year. When that car was revealed it provoked a strong reaction on social media, which has also been reflected in recent spy shots and leaked images.

2020 BMW 4 Series Coupe revealed with dramatic new look

Dukec told Autocar that the 4 Series grille follows BMW’s recent trend to make each of its models stand out. “It should be in the core of BMW to have a product which makes a strong statement,” said Dukec. “It’s unmistakably BMW, unmistakably 4 Series. It’s not just logical; it has a very strong character that’s unique to our brand.

“The twin kidney grille is the most prominent design icon we have. It’s the biggest difference we have from any other car out there. We’ve used the kidney in a variety of ways to give our cars a certain presence: the 3 Series has a very horizontal one because it’s a more rational, serious car. A coupe like the 4 Series should express the exotic part of BMW.”

The decision to use a horizontal grille was to link the 4 Series back to older BMW models such as the 328. Dukec added: “The kidney is much like BMW was using 100 years ago. It’s a strong link to our heritage, but also radical and progressive.”

Asked about the reaction to the grille on the concept car, Dukec added: “In the design business, you can’t listen to social media reactions. It won’t help you. Design is something that is so emotional, and everybody has an opinion and different tastes. There’s no right or wrong in design. When you do something like this 50 per cent of people might love it and 50 per cent will hate it, and that won’t change. Anything you do there will be people who like it and people who don’t – but this is not the criteria.

“The criteria for design is to create something unique, something daring, to make a statement. I’m 100 per cent convinced something like this, although it’s polarising in the beginning, is at the heart of BMW and a brand-shaper for us. Our products have to express the special position of BMW.

"We don’t want to polarise with every product, but the 4 Series is a very expressive car. In two or three years, I’m convinced this will be a really strong product on the road, and people, whether they love it or not, will see it as a car with a certain identity.”


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Read our review

Car review

The facelifted BMW 4 Series has improved on an already solid proposition but can it hold off the likes of the latest generation Audi A5 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupé?

James Attwood

James Attwood, digital editor
Title: Acting magazine editor

James is Autocar's acting magazine editor. Having served in that role since June 2023, he is in charge of the day-to-day running of the world's oldest car magazine, and regularly interviews some of the biggest names in the industry to secure news and features, such as his world exclusive look into production of Volkswagen currywurst. Really.

Before first joining Autocar in 2017, James spent more than a decade in motorsport journalist, working on Autosport,, F1 Racing and Motorsport News, covering everything from club rallying to top-level international events. He also spent 18 months running Move Electric, Haymarket's e-mobility title, where he developed knowledge of the e-bike and e-scooter markets. 

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extraworkforce 21 May 2023

I was hoping to buy the 4 series tourer but with the new hideous grill I'll pass.  Looks like  made in China. The old grill looked awesome and I'm  sure this design won't grow on anybody. It's blatantly hideous. 

EX_BMW_LOVER 23 April 2021

This f grille is simply horrible. Future will prove that. Wait and see.

Bmwlover 27 February 2021
The grill reminds me of the Peugeot cars. Maybe it look nicer seen in person but from the pic it look like a bloated fish w open mouth. Yes no one should listen to social media but what about BMW owner's opinion? It doesn't matter if we don't feel like upgrading to this because of the grill? Then make sure the performance of this car is out of this world... Good luck bmw