It’s difficult not to talk about BMW‘s current line-up without broaching that dreaded subject: kidney grilles. They’d been growing gradually over the years anyway, and then the most recent 7-series and 4-series came along to enlarge the styling feature to epic proportions.
Understandably, not everyone is keen. This isn’t lost on BMW design boss Domagoj Dukec, who told Car Throttle sister publication Auto Express that he was “not surprised” by the mixed reaction. Senior vice president of design Adrian van Hooydonk meanwhile described some of the social media commentary aimed at some BMW styling elements as “brutal”.
Dukec remains undeterred, however. “For some customers, if you want to reach them, you have to stand out,” he said, adding, “But you can’t make a design that pleases everyone.”
According to Dukec, the flak BMW has come under for its gigantic grilles won’t make it change course. “We will showcase BMW as a progressive and pioneering brand that will always try to combine some sort of paradigm - such as sportiness and elegance,” he said.
Van Hooydonk also pointed out that those complaining about the cars aren’t necessarily buyers, but regardless, the feedback is taken into account. “We look and analyse the data, where does it come from? Is it loved? Which market did it come from? Social media is analysed as well, but we don’t know if there are real customers behind those comments but we know they are real voices so we listen,” he said.
Dukec and van Hooydonk are the latest in a growing group of BMW execs to have tackled the subject of the company’s controversial styling treatments. A few months ago, head of exterior design Christopher Weil said that he was OK with buyers customising the looks of the 4-series, including the kidney grilles.
He told Car Advice that the justification for the 4-series’ bold looks was down to wanting to make the car “more expressive, more progressive and also more elegant than the 3-series.”