It’s difficult question to broach: how do you ask the designer of the BMW X1 Concept whether he knows what everyone else is thinking? “Adrian van Hooydonk, chief designer at BMW: do you realise that you’ve created another car apparently trapped underneath a fallen ugly tree?”
And to his credit, van Hooydonk swatted it with diplomatic ease. “Actually, I think we’ve created a pretty car,” he said. He then went on to point out that the X1 had to look like a contemporary BMW; it had to share the brand’s SUV design DNA; it had to be smaller than an X3 and yet muscular- and powerful-looking; and that beauty was in the eye of the beholder anyway, so he didn’t much care whether I thought it was a spudder really.
Correct answer, Adrian; top man.
You get the impression, when you look at BMW’s last decade or so of design heritage, that Munich values distinctiveness much more highly than conventional beauty anyway. With one exception (that of the conservative E90 3-series) I can’t remember the last time a new BMW was unveiled to reactions anything other than ‘eeew’ or ‘errugh’.