The challengingly styled SUV has been a hit with trendy types.
The BMW XM was revealed in concept form last year and immediately, everyone with fully functional eyes recoiled in shock. Sure, the spy shots we had seen up until that point guaranteed that it would never be a svelte and sleek vehicle, but wow, this is a challenging car to look at without retching. Sure, it looks slightly less offensive when you use bright colors to distract you from the actual styling, but if the results of the recent Motoring Annual Design Enthusiasts' Ultimate Picks awards are anything to go by, those of us who hate the Concept XM are in the minority.
This is the first year of the MADE Ultimate Picks awards, an online survey to appeal to a new generation of automotive enthusiasts. The survey was a viral phenomenon on social media last month as it asked Generation Z (those born between the mid-1990s and the early 2010s) users on Instagram to take part in a simple contest. The premise was simple: look at some of the most talked-about concepts on the planet, from cars to gaming consoles and even clothes. Pick your favorite in each category and use the multiple-choice boxes to give a reason for your choice, or at least one as close to your reason as possible. Those who completed the most questions during the two-week survey would have a chance of winning an NFT (non-fungible token) and $1,000 in their chosen cryptocurrency.
Brands like fashion house Balenciaga, known for pushing boundaries in the industry, typically perform well here, but it seems that a parallel can be drawn to cars too.
The top three most beautiful SUVs as voted by the control group included the Kia Concept EV9 and the Hyundai Seven, plus the BMW Concept XM, which won. The most common reason given for this choice was not to do with the weight of the badge or the engineering performed by the brand. Instead, most young participants said that they liked the lights in the grille. No kidding. Senior researcher Tamarin Otal Rubish says that motoring designs that grab attention and have "Instagrammable features" are the most popular, but when a feature looks awesome on video, it can become a TikTok hit too.
Basically, people in this age bracket are gravitating towards cars that grab headlines and can make a statement anywhere. If it's electric and offers connected services, it's even more likely to be a hit. Beauty is no longer defined the way it used to be, but automakers have to give people what they want, even if it's hideous.