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  • Writer's pictureJeffrey Lai

BMW's NEXT Concepts: Make BMW Ugly Again?

Photo Courtesy of BMW.

So BMW decided to release a number of design concepts at the Frankfurt Auto Show this year, and they have got me kind of worried about the future of bimmer design. Let’s start with the most hideous of them all: the BMW iNEXT concept. Now based on everyone I know’s reaction to the strangely designed BMW i3, I thought the company would go back to the drawing board with that car. However, it seems BMW has sold enough of them for them to go “YES! That was a good idea!”. As a result, they have come out with the iNEXT which seems a lot like an SUV version of the i3. Looking more closely at it, most of the lines don’t seem too bad. Those thin headlights and those strange window shapes really tear the whole design down for me. But, the most off putting part of this concept for me is that interior. The front row looks like your standard concept car, but the back seat… What happened? For some reason, BMW feels that the future of transportation means we should be sitting on straight up carpet or Sully from Monster Inc.’s pelt. Sure, it may be comfortable but it just looks nasty. It’s as if a forest of moss has invaded the back seat of your car.

Photos Courtesy of BMW.

Anyway, moving on from that, we have the M Next concept. It’s a design study to show us what BMW is planning in terms of design for their future M cars. I’m not sure what elements because it is a mid-engine design, but that’s what they say. At first I was quite put off by the strange two tone paint job, but after seeing past that I see that it’s really not a bad looking car. Only, the line down the center of the hood and the BMW logo in the tail lights don't do it for me. So, let’s move on to the concept most closely resembling a production car.

Photos Courtesy of BMW.

The BMW Concept 4 is meant to preview what we can expect from next generation 4 series. It seems that the 4 will finally gain a design different enough from the 3 series to warrant it having a separate numerical name. On first glance, it’s a pretty sexy looking thing. In that vibrant red color and those sleek lines that make it almost look Italian, I was just about ready to love this car. But then the turntable spun around and revealed to me what my problem with modern BMW design has ended up being: the massive pig-nose underbite grill. Rumor has it that the Chinese market likes to have big grills on their cars, so BMW is following suit with their new design language. While it works on the surprisingly good looking X5 and X7, it just really doesn’t work for me on their smaller vehicles. What used to be my favorite design elements on BMW’s has become the main eyesore on most of their new models. It is the same with the earlier two concepts as well. The grills are just too big. They make the cars look like someone who has spent their childhood picking their nose too much.

Photos Courtesy of BMW.

In the case of the Concept 4, BMW says that 85% of the concept’s design will make it into production. BMW, please make that grill be part of the 15% that will be left out.

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