BMW’s design chief says the bold styling of the new 4 Series is about giving the coupé “a daring character” rather than “about beauty or ugliness”.

Domagoj Dukec, head of BMW design, told Motor1.com after the G22-generation model’s unveiling that the divisive, vertically arranged kidney grille gave the newcomer the “right character”.

"Inside the company, we felt that [it] was the right character for the car. And design is not always about beauty or ugliness; good design is about having a daring character," Dukec told the publication.

"Customers are getting demanding because the market is saturated with good products, so you have to stand out. And as the needs of our customers are so different individually, we want to give each customer a different product," he added.

Dukec suggested the grille design wouldn’t be rolled out to other BMW products any time soon.

"We don't want to have any detail repeating on a model, because every model should have a unique character. Cars like the 3 Series and 5 Series will keep more horizontal kidneys, and we really enjoy using the kidneys in different ways."

Speaking separately to Autocar, Dukec said he wouldn’t “listen to social media reactions”.

“It won’t help you. Design is something that is so emotional, and everybody has an opinion and different tastes. There’s no right or wrong in design. When you do something like this 50 percent of people might love it and 50 percent will hate it, and that won’t change. Anything you do there will be people who like it and people who don’t – but this is not the criteria,” he told the British publication.

He went on to predict the “daring” design, although “polarising in the beginning”, was at the heart of BMW and would become “a brand-shaper for us”.

"We don’t want to polarise with every product, but the 4 Series is a very expressive car. In two or three years, I’m convinced this will be a really strong product on the road, and people, whether they love it or not, will see it as a car with a certain identity,” he told Autocar.

The fresh-faced coupé will launch in initial markets from October 2020 and be built at Dingolfing. South Africa is scheduled to receive the 420i, 420d and M440i xDrive variants at launch in the final quarter of 2020.