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Good, Bad or Ugly - Current and Future styling trends of BMW

randomguy11111randomguy11111 Posts: 39
edited March 6 in BMW
Curious now that we have had some time to digest the 7 series and the Z4, what people think....

Historically, BMW has tried to move all its models slowly over time to give it continuity and to protect the resale value of older cars.

But lately they have needed to widen the differences because by 1999, the 3,5, and 7 looked so identical to each other (same sausage of different sizes).

For example, I think you can get a 528 for close to the price of a 328 used, but can't figure out a reason to get the 528 more I get other than a bigger rear seat, given the striking similarities between the two exteriors and interiors.

With great controversy Chris Bangle, BMW lead designer, is trying these new looks with the Z4 and 7. And expect the new 5 to be a combination of styles, but more conservative.


The 7 series a strong break, but arguably necessary given the poor sales/resale of the old 7 (though many drivers here loved it I am sure).

Personally, I actually like the new 7 but for the trunk styling. And the interior (ignoring I-drive which is pretty simple and requires only occasional use) is very modern, almost scandinavian, and a big jump on the S-class.

The new 5 series is likely to be a bit more conservative than the 7 when it is unveiled. Look at that for an indication.

I expect similar z4 flaring on the 6 series, but then what do I know...

I also liked the z4 styling and flaming. Looks sharp as does the interior of the Z4. I think you will more of this (as was also the look in the CS1).

In contrast, I never liked the Z3 and it never grew on me in terms of styling, driving or power.

By the way, I assume in order to save costs and increase parts orders that the interior of the new 3 will be the same as the x3 or the new 5 series for those of you wondering what it will be like.


  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    Here is how I see it:

    Z4: Wow.

    XActivity Concept: Wow.

    7 Series: Not so hot.

    5 Series Concept: Not so hot.

    Bangle's styling appears to be pure sport. Pure sport works on the sports vehicles. To me it does not work on the sport/luxury large sedans.

    Bangle has to realize BMW makes more than one type of machine and has more than one market.
  • 1. here is a pretty good spy-shot of 5 series

    Doesn't look too scary...,- 178&sid=178

    2. If it had a normal trunk, what would you think of the 7-series though?

    I am not sure, but I kind of like it. However, it actually looks dimensionally like a big 3 series to me. It is like you took a small car and just grew it to scale. Same thing, but just proportionately taller, wider, longer.

    This is rather weird in that the old 7 was like a 3 series that was stretched.

    But what else can you do? The previous Audi and Lexus 430 have always seemed faceless. Jaguar basically produced an all aluminum car that is identical in design to the previous car down to the dashboard level. Only Mercedes has luxury sedan designs that work with the E,S, and CL classes. The new audi is better though...
  • love the current 7-series exterior and interior

    like the current 5-series exterior, love the interior.

    like the current 3-series exterior, love the interior.

    the "future" models, with the joan rivers "face-lift", look rediculous, almost cartoonish. too japanese....
    ("...turning japanese, i think i'm turning japanese, i really think so...." --the vapors)

    it seems all this design frenzy is a bit out of control; more driven by change for the sake of change, rather than for the reason of actually "improving" the aesthetics of a vehicle. but alas, this is what car designers do, hit or miss.
  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    Wasn't The Cars the first group to do the Turning Japanese song?
  • regfootballregfootball Posts: 2,166
    Too bad the front end is a Pontiyuck clone, as the rest of the car is ok. Nice Grand Am you got their, Dr. Johnson.....why son, this is a BMW! oh!....I thought it was a GRAND AM!
  • idletaskidletask Posts: 171
    But I think they're right. Honestly, don't you find the current theme a little on the overused side?

    I actually like the 7 series, and especially... the rear end treatment! If you look in detail you'll notice the the rear wheel well is larger than the front one in order to balance the lines... But the problem is that both are so huge that you need gigantic wheels just to fill them. Bah, 7 series buyers don't really worry about the price of tires, imho.

    I'm waiting to see the 5 in person. Spy photos are never really accurate, and the ones shown here make front headlights look a little overdone. And as the front end is dissimulated... its styling cannot be judged yet!

    The Z4 looks nice, but roadsters in general aren't my cup of tea... I like a roof over my head :)
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 27,704
    I thought it was Cheap Trick?


    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • cbgb1975cbgb1975 Posts: 51
    a lot of the 80's songs sounded so much alike...I think the Vapors had their "15 minutes" with this "Turning Japanese-ah" trick did put out a live lp from japan... The Cars had a lot of good songs ,but not this one...Ric Ocazek had something much better...Paulina Porizkova!!!... any new BMW with her as an accessory would truly be a beauty. Chris Bangle, are u reading these boards? Maybe a "Paulina-ized Roundel" for the beemer bonnet. Music is off the topic,but close to my my apologies to message board purists for not resisting and adding to this diversion.
  • carguy58carguy58 Posts: 2,303
    Now I'm 23 and the late 90's 3 Series is one of the best styled cars I have seen. The new 7 Series just looks awkward. The new 5 looks like a German Pontiac. They are just going to just scare customers away. Still, look what Honda and Toyota have done. The 02 Camry, 03 Corolla, and 03 Accord are some extermely bland cars and they still sell like hotcakes. So you never know. Alot of today cars especially 2002 and on just look either bland(Camry) or or way overdone(7 Series). There is no middleground. In the 90's there was alot middle ground styled cars(inoffensive looking) now you don't have lots of that. Its either bland or overstyled. There's no middle anymore.
  • Worst/ugliest cars that have been sold recently to me would be:

    1. Aztez
    2. ES 300
    3. Camry

    Accord, RL, etc. are merely bland to me. These others are just plain ugly and scary.

    Any nominees for a worse car.

    On BMW, I am waiting to see the 1 series. Hopefully that will incporate the CS-1 concept car looks.

    P.S. While the current 3 series to me is perfect, remember the 318ti... failure is very easy by just wandering off a great concept even slightly...
  • sphinx99sphinx99 Posts: 776
    I did not like the Z4 in person until I saw a silver one on the road. It's a gorgeous car in motion, in silver, with the top down on a sunny day. But that same car with the top up, sitting outside slightly dirty, in front of a dealership on an overcast day is somewhere between mediocre and ugly. (In comparison to, say, a Boxster.) I don't like the rear at all.

    Ditto the 7-series for the most part. Gorgeous inside, pretty nice outside, very imposing, but the rear is heinous. I don't understand why rear design appears to be such a hit-or-miss affair lately. Honda's efforts in this area haven't been particularly positive, either, and I for one am not a fan of the 350Z/G35c rears. And don't even get me started on the new CLK. I'd complain more loudly about BMW's rear design if it weren't for this seemingly being an industry-wide trend.
  • I totally agree with randonguy. I think the new Lexus 300 is HIDEOUS! I hate the longer lights in front. In the same vein, I hate what BMW is doing right now. I don't like the 7 or the Z4. I think the 7 is flat out ugly. I thought the last 7 was elegant and powerful and very BMW. I think the thing that makes BMW's such fantastic cars is that they age so well. I hope they don't go this direction with the 3 Series. If the 5 flops I think Bangle will be looking for work, probably in Japan because I think that's what the new light format looks like.
  • carguy58carguy58 Posts: 2,303
    I think in the 90's Domestic Big 3 buyers whined about bland styling by the Japanese and Germans and not taking any chances style wise. Now you have import car companies taking chances and making their loyal buyers mad. I think import companies tried to chase the Domestic Big 3 audience. Shouldn't have done that. Just goes to show there is the import buyer and than the domestic buyer. People who buy Japanese and German want something more conservative exterior styling wise looking than the domestic buyers wants. The import buyer doesn't want something that looks like a Pontiac.

    I like the 350Z. Mercedes designs have never appealed to me really. I think in the early 90's they styled better cars than they do now. I do like the Acura RL. The current one is better looking than the 96-98 model.
  • to logic1 and kyfdx, check your facts before you open your traps. it was the vapors. they wrote it. the cars and cheap trick never even covered it.....ignorance is bliss, but ever so annoying.
  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    read my post again... It is a question, not a statement. I know a group in the early '80s had a hit with the song. I was pretty young. I asked whether that group was the Cars. I did not say that group was the cars.

    People who attack without even having their positions right are ignorant, annoying, and probably do not belong in public.

    And I see where you are a fan of the new 7 styling. Well, Mr. Musical Genious, if you look at news reports about cars instead of music nostalgia, you would know that the 7 series will be radically altered next year.
  • Lets do segment votes on best styling... (obviously one buys a beamer for more than styling)...

    Your thoughts? (remember this is styling only

    A. Entry Luxury sports 4dr or coupe -
      1. G35/350Z
      2. 3series second (m3 1st if allowed)
      3. A4 (new styling that is)
      4. X-type (needs to be a little longer for my taste)

    B. Convertible -
      1. TT (remember this is styling only)
      2. Boxter
      3. Z4
      4. SLK

    C. Mid-range luxury
      1. E-class
      2. A6
      3. 5-series
      4. S-type (I know others like this, not my style)

    D. Luxury -
      1. A8 NEW
      2. S-Class
      3. 7-series
      4. Jaguar

    E. SUV
      1. x5
      2. ML-Class
      3. Acura

    F. Luxury convertible
      1. sl
      2. Z-8
      3. 911 convertible
      4. SC430
      5. XK-8 (again not my style)
  • mg330cimg330ci Posts: 162
    Otherwise is OK.

    If Bangle could just change the front end....
  • However, I never liked the old Z3 for some reason. A bit too muscular and not enough sleek to it...
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Of the categories and cars you listed I agree with almost all your choices. The only one I'd differ on is entry level. The new A4 looks better than any sedan from Japan, especially if Audi would paint the whole car, that ugly grey bottom has go to go. Coupe wise I'd say the 3-Series and then maybe the G35. Converitbles...the new A4 is a looker too. I'd have to say the XK looks better than the SC430 too.

  • I read the occasional where few people seemed to prefer the old A4 rear styling. I like the new A4 styling and the back seat is nicer as well.

    For some reason the XK never worked for me, but I am too young to recall the classic jaguars with the fondness of others and so perhaps I am being unfair. It has taken a long time for the S type to grow as well, especially the front rounded grill (but others are more forgiving). Also the rounded grill on the performance car with the interwoven grill is cool.

    I have a soft spot for the SC even with the bulbous rear (I am overly impressed with hardtops). As a friend said, for Toyota to design that is a big departure and give them kuddos for it.

    I should also note that I don't care for the G35 rear (but like the overall package). Looking at the last old model altima, I wonder if Infiniti is obsessed with flat rears.

    The rear on the 300M and the 7 Series also seemed problematic. Who knew that the trunk design could be such a touchy issue????
This discussion has been closed.