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



  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    That is one gorgeous car. While I don't own one, I know people who have these cars and love them.

    If anything, the only criticism is the too-taut suspension.
  • peakpropeakpro Posts: 65
    I completely disagree. I think the X3 is the uglies BMW in production now. With the new 3 series a close second.

    But to each his own.

    I have driven BMW's for the past 30 years. (3 and 5 series, I also own a 325i with Sports package) No one has evey said a word to me.

    In Oct I purchased a Z4. It is incredible how much positive reaction this car generates. In a few months I have had dozens of compliments. Not to mention horn toots and waves.

    I won't even get into the driving pleasure.

    Sure its looks are not for everyone. That's a plus for me since I don't have to see one at every corner like with the 325i I own.

    And it's no Ferrari but for 1/3(?) the price it does it job nicely.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    "I completely disagree. I think the X3 is the uglies BMW in production now. With the new 3 series a close second."

    Cool. I did say it is a challenging task picking the ugliest BMW, that's why we need a vote. So chalk up one for the X3. IMO they're all tied for second except the X3 which I think is the best looking one, mainly because most SUVs are ugly anyway and it just blends in with none of its features screaming for attention. I also happen to love the X3 ride which IMO is the best-handling SUV out there.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    Gad, the ugliest BMW is nicer looking than most beautiful Infiniti, Acura or Lexus. Hey, even amongst the most beautiful, someone has to be the ugliest.
  • mevandemevande Posts: 190
    I have never been a fan of the "new" styling in the 7 series. I still can't get used to the awkward rear styling. I have a 1999 740i with 42,000 miles on it (silver) and I think it looks better than anything "newer" that BMW has offered. In addition, mine is paid for.. hence I plan on keeping it a long time! Mike
  • saugataksaugatak Posts: 488
    Wow, I take off for a few months and the Bangle debate is still raging among the usual suspects.

    My vote for the most Bungled BMW is without a doubt the e60 5-series. It's the equivalent to a former beautiful starlet who's had one too many nips, tucks and, ahem, misproportioned silicon implants [hope the moderator lets this one slip through].

    I know there's a beautiful car somewhere underneath all those scalloped lines and unexpected bulges, but it's tough to find.

    I actually like Bangle's angel eye concept, but he really screwed it up on the 5. The eyelash is too thick, makes the eye (headlight) too droopy and IMO looks more like badly applied clown makeup instead of a proper eyelash.

    But to each his own, I hate it, some people love it.

    Designman's choice the Z4 is atrocious as well, but I cut it some slack because the Z4 is the de rigeur car of choice of the "midlife crisis, tan saloned, hair transplanted, 2nd trophy wife, I can't afford a Porsche" market.

    That target market dose not reward taste.

    IMO, the reason the Z4 is so successful in this market is that it is, without a doubt, the most PHALLIC car I have ever seen.

    I wouldn't be caught dead in a Z4 because I would not want people thinking I was compensating for nonexistent inaequacies.

    IMO, the debate over whether Bangle's controversial designs were worthy or whether they sucked is over.

    Bangle got booted upstairs and the X3 and the new 3 series, which are BMW's bread and butter, have not been Bangled, except for the cheap interior of the X3 but honestly, that might be the beancounters and not Bungle.

    It's clear to me that the BMW board gambled on Bangle, didn't like the results, and pulled back before he could Bungle the entire lineup. I think some Dutch guy Hoodvynk has been assigned to clean up Bungle's mess.

    Re the I-drive debate, I've come to like i-drive not because it is any good (I still think it sucks and it's an answer looking for a problem), but because:

    a. my brother is making a killing at his garage fixing all the stupid electronics and useless gizmos BMW threw in; and

    b. my sister dumped her 645 for an X3, partially because she hated the i-drive, and it sits unused in my parents driveway, so I get to drive a chick magnet car every time I hit my parents home in NJ.

    So thanks Chris, keep up the good work. A few more i-drive like innovations and my brother will be in the next tax bracket!

    There's a lot of discussion on the exterior of Bangle's cars, but what about the interior? What happened to the classic cockpit design? What's with all the cheap crud in the new designs?
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    Well no doubt your bro-in-law is making a killing fixing them. I have a friend who sells BMWs and he says he's making a killing selling them. So I guess if they sell a lot, your brother-in-law will fix them. :)

    Clearly BMW has polarized the camps, which I think is great. This is what they needed to do. The new styles 7/5/3 are a great step forward. They must take care though their legendary road handling is never compromised.
  • pearlpearl Posts: 336
    while we all agree that styling is subjective and some will love/hate any design, it seems safe to conclude that BMW has definitely turned off many long time advocates (including moi) with the current, polarizing "Bangle styling" (yes, no doubt some new fans will have been created). In my humble opinion, if BMW had simply evolved the E39 styling and added goodies like the new 3L engine, sales would have been significantly higher than for the current E60. I am a very good example. I bought my E39 in June 96 as one of the very first models out in that series and as a strong devotee of BMWs had planned for a couple of years to trade it in on a new E60. I almost died when I saw the interior/exterior of the E60 coupled with the I-drive debacle. They lost me right there and I am now in the midst of a drive/comparison between the new M, GS, RL, E350, and A6 for my new car. No doubt the E60 is still a great driver's car, but I won't even sit in one based on its looks. That, BMW, is really too bad.
  • BMW has always stood for classic designs and driver oriented cars. I think the new designs are to "cutting edge" which will date them very very fast. The interiors of BMW's have always been classic but now they are looking more like something from Detriot.

    My biggest problem is that I see to many compromises in the designs and just can't get myself used to them. I really wanted the new 5 series but could never really get used to the styling. I mean, it has grown on me a little, but it just doesn't jive as a complete package. From some angles the new designs look good to me but from others they look terrible and confusing.

    I think this will be a time period that BMW will be seen as losing their identity in styling. The technology used inthe cars are very advanced and the ride is, as usual, awesome. The design leaves much to be desired in my book.

    Take a look at older BMW's and you will see the classic look to them that has been proven over time. This new look will date itself quickly.

    The new 3 series has some hope in the design department although I am somewhat concerned about the back end. I am sure it will be a blast to drive as are all the new BMW's...
  • mevandemevande Posts: 190
    I think BMW made the 7 series bearable again! It looks closer to the 1995-2001 series than the 2004-2005 "mutants". BMW got an earful from the automotive press, customers ect. I was at the dealer various times in the 2 years after the 745i intro, and they always had a huge demand for pre-owned 2001's for the styling on the newer 745i's was in total, not a favorite. I think the evolution from the 1994 7 series to the 1995 was more palatable. They made a significant update to the platform w/o making the 1994's look like dated "pigs":).
  • 530ir1150r530ir1150r Posts: 263
    While I do not like the new design philosophy, two things to keep in mind. People I know in there 20's like the new 5 series and the low beltline dating back to the 1600s and early CSi Coupes was cutting edge for the 60s.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    Some people that I know that formerly were not thrilled with the "old" conservative styles are liking the new looks. They seem to have attracted a whole new audience. While the old looks were handsome and classic, the new look is smartly designed and positioned to move the company forward.
  • 530ir1150r530ir1150r Posts: 263
    I'm sure they will sell more cars. I'm not sure it is a move forward. As I've tried to say before, expanding volume in a mature market may weaken the brand.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    If the market were mature, every manufacturer wouldn't be trying to produce cars that have what BMW cars have. Legendary handling and good styling. Let the Japanese manufactures put the wizmos in the cars. I don't need stuff like self-start. People that buy Lexus or Acura want self start.

    BMW is a niche player attempting to move forward. Not moving forward is not the same as holding ones ground, it's more like sliding backward.
  • 530ir1150r530ir1150r Posts: 263
    The North American market has not grown for years. Other manufacturers attempt to convince you they have BMW traits. In total, there are always compromises.

    Expanding market here means either becoming Lexus-like to satisfy demand or marketing BMW strengths to create demand. The first is quicker, the second takes time.

    I agree you cannot stand still. You either progress or regress. BMWs position is more precarious on this tight rope because they market experience(which requires some semblance of exclusivity.)instead of price or service.
  • m4d_cowm4d_cow Posts: 1,491
    is the x3 by far :(
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    I don't think I agree. What they market is they drive like no other, they are extremely handsome cars, fit and finish are beyond reproach. This is true in all models except for the X3 - which IMO they did a good thing with the design. People can treat it like a truck and not worry.

    While the Japanese focus and have focused on wizmos, BMW earns it's living by focusing on driving. There is no wrong side of this. Personally I hate cars with a zillion widgets, more to break in the long run.
  • 530ir1150r530ir1150r Posts: 263
    Their experience is "driving like no other". I'm afraid their emphasis is or will shift from driving to wizmos because their increase in volume will outrun the market for "Ultimate Driving Machines". Of course, BMW may redefine "Ultimate Driving Machine" from road worthiness criteria to 1000 watt stereos and plush interiors.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    The half-baked 3 and facelifted 7 is a blatant admission that they blew the styling. We have to endure one more abomination—the 1—then hopefully a return to styling sobriety.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    You think so? I happen to like it. I hope they never return to the old "dated" classic styling. It's a classic let it remain that way.

    The thing they need to remember is to provide a smooth creamy engine, power on tap anywhere in the band, and gobs of hp and torque, meaty/beefy steering and a car that inspires you to drive. Not to be afraid of it.
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