A former BMW designer has released an in-depth video picking apart the design of the new 4 Series coupé.
Frank Stephenson, the man responsible for styling the first (E53-generation) BMW X5, published the 14-minute video on his YouTube channel, saying the large grille “ruins” what is otherwise a “beautiful” car.
While he has largely positive things to say about the overall design of the G22-generation 4 Series, he shares a particularly strong opinion on the polarising kidney grille treatment.
“This grille – if it’s a grille – it looks like nostrils to me. It doesn’t look like the graphic department knew that they were going to be designing kidneys for the new BMW [4 Series]; it’s just a graphic that doesn’t sit well with the proportions of the rest of the car,” Stephenson commented.
He also called out the Munich-based firm for its seemingly after-thought placement of the front numberplate.
“Obviously, a designer’s responsibility is to understand that the registration plate, the licence plate, is critical when you do a front design, a front graphic, on a car. You can’t forget about the registration plate,” he said, adding that its placement on the grille was effectively a “cop out”.
The decision to include the oversized grille appeared to stump Stephenson.
“The car is beautiful – a lot of the design is very well done on this vehicle – and they’ve taken and ruined, I think, the front look of this car with such a graphic that doesn’t look, er … I’m not even sure that BMW designed this! I think it might have come from … I don’t know where it came from. It’s very difficult to understand how you can put a grille so different to the rest of the car on it with the intention of obviously creating a very characteristic element.”
Stephenson added he thought “they’ve designed a grille, then they’ve designed a car, and they’ve brought the two together and they’re not speaking the same language”.
Revealed at the start of June 2020, the new 4 Series is scheduled to arrive in South Africa in the final quarter of the year. Soon after its unveiling, BMW’s current design chief, Domagoj Dukec, said the bold styling was about giving the coupé “a daring character” rather than “about beauty or ugliness”.
Watch Stephenson’s video below…