Don’t laugh, BMW’s “big nostrils” are for the rich

The logo of Mercedes-Benz, the "nostril" of BMW, and the white fungus of Audi.

The exclusive designs of the three BBA companies are all leading the way, but if you must pick one who "grows wantonly" among the three, it must be BMW. To a certain extent, BMW's classic "nostril" design is even more Out of circle.

For a long time, BMW's exaggerated "nostril" grille design has been questioned and ridiculed by the public. However, BMW did not pay much attention to the voices of the outside world, and firmly supported its own "aesthetic consciousness" without giving an inch.

So much so that on the BMW i7, the ultimate pure electric flagship released this year, the nostrils were so big that they even occupied the living space of the headlights.

BMW's internal design team is quite obsessed with the research and design of the "big nostril" grille.

However, this situation has changed in the brand new 2024 BMW Five Series. BMW's in-house design team has uncharacteristically shrunk the "kidney" grille of the new five-series.

▲ Picture from BMW Blog

The changes are not limited to the air intake grille. BMW has made "addition and subtraction" on the light group and body lines.

On the front and rear light sets, the design team canceled the classic "L"-shaped lines and simplified the internal structure of the front and rear headlights; the "addition" is the body lines, and the newly added body lines on both sides start from the front grille and run through the whole car. And finally linked with the double-line shape of the taillights, BMW expressed a stronger sense of movement on this generation of 5 series.

After the training of the design team, the new five-series seems to have two completely different design languages ​​from the previous generation. The huge "nostril" suddenly presses the pause button, which inevitably leads to speculation. Did BMW abandon the 5 series, or did BMW realize the bad aesthetics of the "big nostril" shape?

We may be able to find the design "answer" of future BMW from the interpretation of BMW design director Domagoj Dukec.

Using design to divert traffic, the five series is a "watershed"

After the launch of the new five-series, BMW Design Director Domagoj Dukec accepted an interview with the media. In the interview, Domagoj Dukec interpreted the appearance of the new five-series and talked about BMW's future design direction.

Among them, the most interesting is BMW's internal view of the "nostril" air intake grille.

▲ Picture from: Tomislav Kristo / CROPIX

Domagoj Dukec believes that BMW has reached a consensus on the future design direction of the air intake grille. In the future, BMW will use two sets of exterior design styles, which are used on high-end flagships and mass-market models.

For some customers, the "big nostril" air intake grille design is a means of highlighting their "status". The exaggerated style design just caters to the preferences of these high-end users in pursuit of individuality.

In fact, BMW is not the first car company to discover this "wonderful" trend. BBA, the big brother Mercedes-Benz, took the lead in putting the theory into practice.

Mercedes-Benz launched a new Maybach this year, and rich people always want to show their differences in "such and such" places. Interestingly, in order to cater to the target group, Mercedes-Benz chose to make a big fuss on the wheels of Maybach this time. The four wheels of the car are covered with the classic Maybach logo engraving. My trypophobia.

▲ The dazzling Maybach logo

Turning our attention back to BMW, the mass-market models represented by the 3-series and 5-series will be aimed at a larger number of consumer groups. BMW believes that the "majority" of this batch will be more satisfied with the restrained and conventional appearance, and the overly exaggerated appearance design will make these users lose favor with BMW and switch to other brand camps.

Therefore, BMW decided to abandon the design strategy of "the bigger the mantissa, the bigger the nostril", and instead created two different exterior design styles to divert BMW users through design.

In the future, we can see that on the high-end flagship models of the BMW 7 Series and XM series, BMW will insist on using a more exaggerated "dual kidney" grille design. At the same time, BMW will also give more care to ordinary users, and mass-market models such as the 3/5 series will turn to a more stable and low-key appearance.

BMW's design strategy was first implemented on the new five-series, and naturally, the five-series became a "watershed" in BMW's design style. But it is a coincidence that "5" is in the middle of the mantissa of the model, and it is just right to be used as the end point of the user's diversion.

Refutation of aesthetic subversion theory

Not only that, but Domagoj Dukec has also noticed current trends in car design. In the interview, Dukec heavily criticized the car's flashy exterior design.

In fact, there are not many car companies that regard the "aesthetic subversion theory" as a classic. The pure electric leader Tesla is one of them. The boss Musk is a loyal believer in the "aesthetic subversion theory".

Interestingly, Musk has expressed high expectations for Tesla's first pickup truck in public more than once.

He believes that people are disgusted with the unchanging appearance of traditional American pickups. Cybertruck is like the "HUMMER" in the 2020s. The ultra-high cyberpunk body appearance will also replicate the appearance miracle of "HUMMER" and completely subvert the American pickup game. Dao’s “pragmatism” has caused more buyers to turn to Tesla’s pickup truck camp.

However, it is clear that BMW's in-house design team does not believe in the so-called "aesthetic subversion theory".

Domagoj Dukec took the Land Rover Defender as an example. A behemoth like the new Defender looks intimidating enough on the road. Just looking at the appearance, the tough and strong lines can easily give the Defender the impression of a hard-core off-road "hand".

In fact, Domagoj Dukec believes that the Land Rover Defender has too many designs that are not ultimately oriented to the purpose of use. The flashy appearance will only bring the Defender a fashion sense of "fancy but not useful".

Follow the logic of "luxury"

What's more interesting is that BMW seems to have found a logical and self-consistent reason for its "oil-to-electricity" platform.

BMW has never understood why other brands have to design a specific appearance language for new pure electric models when their models are electrified, so as to highlight the difference of pure electric products.

BMW has repeatedly reiterated to the outside world that for models with the same "mantissa", BMW will not make specific adjustments to the appearance of the models due to different power structures. Whether it's pure electric or fuel, or the upcoming hybrid models in the coming year, BMW will stick to a consistent design language, and the new i5 is just the beginning.

Change, for BMW, is sometimes not a good thing.

Design director Domagoj Dukec believes that as a high-end car brand, BMW's models also need to abide by the logic of "luxury".

Users who love luxury goods will not like products that are in an unstable state. Classic, timeless and timeless product designs will win the "heart" of this group of users.

BMW has implemented this logic more thoroughly. In addition to the uniform appearance design, BMW also implements the policy of "oil and electricity on the same platform", although this behavior has caused long-term dissatisfaction with BMW's "oil to electricity" policy.

However, BMW firmly believes in the logic of "luxury" products, just like the outside world's controversy over "nostrils", BMW will not pay too much attention to the "noisy voice" of the "oil-to-electricity" platform from the outside world.

Of course, this does not mean that BMW is a "recalcitrant" old school. BMW recently admitted that the internal design team has begun to experiment with model design through artificial intelligence AI.

BMW design director Adrian van Hooydonk also revealed in an interview that artificial intelligence has really participated in BMW's various design tasks.

He also cited the example of AI participating in the design of BMW wheels – the BMW design team only needs to input the desired tire parameters into the computer, and the AI ​​will automatically generate various tire styles that meet the parameters. good style.

At the end of May, BMW brought the new pure electric i5 to Art Basel. The huge artificial intelligence canvas unveiled together with the i5 showed BMW's determination to embrace artificial intelligence in the future.

▲Future BMW generated using Midjourney

I don’t know what kind of sparks AI and BMW will spark in the future. I’m looking forward to how this luxury car player with “stubborn aesthetics” will control AI to design more new models that meet BMW’s luxury.

At least for now, it seems that Midjourney has a good understanding of BMW-style luxury.

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