And retro-inspired designs like the 2 Series.
BMW is one of the most successful brands in the world, but it didn't get there by resting on its laurels. That's according to BMW Group Vice President of Design, Adrian van Hooydonk, who said in a recent interview with BMW Blog that the reason people love Bimmers is that each model evolves with every generation. "There will be people that say: Well, I love the 3 Series from three generations back as one, but the fact of the matter is the product like the 3 Series has found more and more customers with each generation, says van Hooydonk. "So I think you do have to keep moving, as a brand, with all your products." In other words, the brand is sticking behind its design decisions, no matter what anyone says.
As is typical when anyone discusses BMW design these days, the subject of those massive grilles as seen on the 4 Series and iX, for example, had to come up. BMW says that it is constantly transforming itself with new technologies, and the design needs to change just as quickly to be relevant in the future. The recently revealed BMW 2 Series pays homage to the 2002 with its single headlamps and taillights, but that's about as retro as we can ever expect things to go. Instead of continually referencing the past as many automakers do, BMW aims to make every model instantly identifiable as a BMW through its grilles, with a mix between vertical and horizontal grilles on future models intended to help the public identify specific models.
As we touched on, future relevance is critical, so radical designs will continue to be the staple. The BMW iX SUV started being sketched almost six years ago and still hasn't touched down at showrooms, so a bold approach is certainly necessary. This is especially true when you consider that these new cars will have to look fresh for a good four to six years, depending on the rate of refresh cycles.
"We are now working on cars for 2025 and beyond," says van Hooydonk. "[...] With BMW i, we started a cleaner form language for the electric cars, and now that electric is going to be part of the core of the brand, of course, you'll see that the design of the i products will begin to influence the core of the brand."
In a nutshell, the big grilles aren't going anywhere, but neither are the small ones. New cars will look vastly different with every generation too, and EVs will influence the design of all cars - without any retro influence.