He's not pleased
BMW is one of the best-known premium car builders around, and its trademark kidney grille has been shaping the design language behind its cars for the better part of 80 years. What started off in the 1930s as massively elongated grilles, shrunk down in the 1960s, took on a polygonal shape in recent years, and has now blown up in proportion. In 2019 BMW revealed its Concept 4 at the Frankfurt Motor Show with a controversial new face. That grille has made its way onto the production BMW 4 Series, and while some have argued that it looks better on SUVs, cars such as the X4 M have managed to evade the design. In Frank Stephenson's latest video, the designer of the original BMW X5 reviews the design of the upcoming BMW iX and discusses the future of the BMW kidney grille.
Stephenson asks whether a bigger vehicle will solve BMW's grille issues. He calls the grille on the iX a 'siamese kidney grille" as the two separate grilles traditionally seen on BMW's have been morphed into what looks like one piece. "The headlights of the iX are the slimmest I've ever seen on a BMW, and the side profile does not move. I would prefer the car to look like it's moving. It feels like it has lost its soul. Take away that grille, and you wouldn't know that it's a BMW." Stephenson concludes that he wouldn't buy the iX, mostly due to its 'convoluted design' and doesn't believe that this new car looks like a BMW, partly due to that new grille.
The iX is BMW's first all-electric vehicle built from the ground up and will do battle in the midsize SUV segment. The iX combines the size and shape of the X5 and X6 with the design language of the X7. The kidney grille up front is closed off, as this all-electric vehicle requires little cooling. Instead, the grille, or 'intelligence panel' houses tech such as a camera and radar. The iX will be powered by BMW's fifth-generation eDrive technology and will offer 496 horsepower and a zero-to-sixty sprint time of less than five seconds. If you can get over the looks, then there's a seriously impressive car waiting to be enjoyed.