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



  • msgreenmsgreen Posts: 67
    No, I don't like the style (unfortunately). As a current E39 owner, I was all set to trade for a new E60, but didn't like the early photos. Now that I have seen it, driven it and had a chance to look "up close", I am more convinced that I don't want it. Yep, drives great - almost any Bimmer owns the competition - but this is a car of far too many contradictions and compromises, from interior design/quality, to awkward lines/flow on the outside. I'm a BMW fan and for the sake of the company, hope the E60 sells, but I won't be one of the buyers, and from the sound of things, I think I will have alot of company.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    You’ve made reference on many occassions to the tallness of the new 5 as if it is some sort of redeeming quality. Height, and the appearance of height in any car, particularly a sports car and sport sedan is a negative. BMW concurs by way of their advertising. This is why they photograph the vehicle from such a low view point... makes it look lower, hence sleeker.

    Also, have you ever noticed that you will never see the ugly part of a car in an ad? Case in point... rear end of the Z4. “Beauty” shots of the 5’s butt will be nonexistent also.

    They did the best that they possibly could with the photos, that is, they distorted it’s proportions and covered it over using rarely seen lighting and the magic app, Photoshop. To me it’s clearly an admission on BMWs part that the car needs serious help. They should try giving it to Regis and Kelly when they have those makeover sessions.
  • bmwsellerbmwseller Posts: 200
    I'm delivering these new 5's now and I can tell you that the people who are buying them are even more passionate about how much they "love" the car than the people who are expressing their dislike for the car.

    Tall is masculine, strong, athletic, forceful. Hence, there is the "short man syndrome". Is tallness a negative on a sport sedan always? Do you set the attractive standards, FABIO, or is there a definitive guide? You should love the Z4 then. It's very short/low appearing.
  • Interesting article today in the Wall Street Journal on BMW accelerating its "scheduled" redesign of the 7 series. Removes the bustle and cleans up the headlight lines. Also some discussion of reworking the I-Drive. Reason is that 7-series sales are significantly down (23% year over year in September) overall, but particularly in Europe since a lot of buyers don't like the Bangle-ized version. Also that 7's are being discounted (!) in order to sell them.

    Hmmm...does this mean that it makes sense to switch out of BMW for a couple of years on the 5-series, until they revisit their design? I suppose only market acceptance will tell.

    So a question for BMW seller, since you seem to be on the front lines on this. With all sincere respect to your excellent company and your job, I've noticed that the number of your posts are increasing in defense of the design changes. Is this an indication of concern at BMW? I'm assuming you are a retail salesrep. So, how many E60 5 series has your region sold and ordered since Sept 1 (for instance) compared to E39 5-series sold and ordered over the same period last year? Whatever the merits of Bangle's redesign, the proof will be in the actual sales. Don't take this as some kind of flame or agressive challenge -- I'm sincerely curious -- but what are the actual sales numbers?

  • bmwsellerbmwseller Posts: 200
    The sales figures for October will not be very telling because there is still not a good availability of the e60's. We have the two demos still here but we've sold all the others that we've gotten and many (maybe half)of the incoming orders are sold. But, it's brand new and we'll probably have a real grasp on how well the car sells in the spring. I'm doing REAL well with the new and I did REAL well with the previous 5.

    I look forward to seeing the #'s myself but to me everything is local. Ultimately, I could sort of care less about nationwide sales compared to how many I sell. Don't get me wrong I have the utmost confidence in the product and company and I wouldn't go work for mitsubishi or ford but this isn't a hobby for me. It is the means by which I raise a family and build a career.

    Within the next couple of weeks we should begin to accumulate somewhat of an inventory and I'll sell the cars. My clients are basically shopping me against MB and Lexus and I'll get most of those deals.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    Easy to see why BMW is having to discount and redesign the new 7 Series. It just isn't selling well. MB cleaning up. Even Audi doing well.

    Units Sold in USA
    Make Model September 2003 August 2003 YTD 2003 YTD 2002
    Mercedes-Benz S-Class 2,025 1,622 15,981 14,534
    BMW 7 Series 1,457 1,817 14,410 16,296
    Lexus LS 430 1,739 2,168 15,583 19,909
    Aura 3.5 RL 590 769 5,457 7,557
    Audi A8 520 93 2,311 831
    BMW 5 Series 2,911 2,061 33,129 28,932
    BMW M5 64 28 1,356 1,248
  • kejacokejaco Posts: 3
    I've enjoyed reading all the discussions on the new styling trends at BMW. It's clear that most BMW purists don't care for the new styling, but the general public might. My decision to purchase an '03 530i (manual trans, sport/premium pkg) after seeing photos of the '04 530i does not influence my opinion that the '04 is not an improved design. If I truly liked the '04 better, I would buy it, but I don't and won't. The E60's interior is downright ugly; there's no "flow" to it all. The entire car looks as if 10 different committees designed it without talking to each other. When the local BMW salesman told me that the new style should attract more women buyers, it finally hit me how to best describe the styling: It looks FEMININE. Its nose does make a great looking Pontiac though. On a positive note, the E60 with sport pkg/active steering is quite impressive. Like I said recently in Roundel magazine, perhaps I'll eventually warm to BMW's new styles, but I shouldn't have to.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    When people resisted the ingress of the computer into the mainstream in the 80’s... THAT was resistance to change. They paid the price of having their careers turned upside down. The issue of criticizing the new 5 is nothing like that, especially since most of us were looking forward to the new style to begin with. This is a matter of aesthetics, pretty vs ugly. It’s that simple.

    I’ll tell you another thing that’s simple as far as I’m concerned. This new 5 is the ugliest bimmer of all time, although this dubious distinction will be short-lived with the arrival of the new 3 and 1. And if you really want to see the fine mess that BMW is getting itself into go browse the concept cars. It just gets worse and worse.

    BTW this is all the fault of the Quandts for hiring Bangle and probably not evaluating him properly. As a fellow designer/director I’m actually starting to feel sorry for him because this junk doesn’t come directly from his hand. Furthermore, I’d bet he has little to do with final selection... rather, pedantic committees doing what they do best, throwing wrenches into the wheels. He should get back to the drawing board and let someone else pick up the baton. Creating is one thing... inspiring staff and playing diplomat to the empty suits is another. I really hate seeing people get fired and being the scapegoat for the shortcoming of others. Sad to say though, it’s likely to happen. And yes indeed, it’s in the numbers.

    BMW engineering, hang in there. It must be torture for you guys.
  • BMW is nearly just a memory now .....

    Too bad they didn't just keep making the car look like it did in the good old days.
  • bmwseller, I sympathize with your frustration with the comments on this board and respect that you make your living selling the car. A couple of comments on the interest in sales numbers:

    --If 5 sales are picking up, and a new market has been found by bmw...that's great and they're right. New generation, different audience etc. As important, you have a good living to make on selling it to a new market and that's fine too. So, the complainers realize that the design won't change and decide to stay or go to a competitor, but BMW has made the right decision.

    --If there's a quick burst of early adopters and the bulk of the bmw target market holds off, then the car (and the company and sales employees) will suffer. That's too bad. Note that there's a lot of nearly-BMW alternatives out there now, more so than when the E39 came out. As a BMW fan, I'd say that none of the Infintis, Lexuses, Audis, Jaguars etc quite come up to BMW, but they're close -- and if the E60 styling is offputting enough to drive a fan to a close alternative, they won't come back for at least 3 years. That's bad for bmw (or maybe it teaches them a few things and good in the long term). It's certainly bad for the retail sales space.

    --Hence the question about sales. If E60 sales begin to roll off quickly, I would personally wait out this sales year in the hope that some relatively painless interior redesigns would improve the current look, and some sheetmetal changes in the exterior could evolve the look pretty quickly. If sales remain strong, then I'll either learn to like it or go to a competitor. They'll be right, and all the complainers (including me) will be wrong.

    --I think the bottom line about the Bangleization of the 5 is that it is a unnecessary gamble on BMW's part. A two year design evolution would have tested a core market. After the market reaction to the 7, I'm surprised they took such a risk. Too early to tell whether it really succeeds.

    Anyway, my 2 cents. For your sake, I hope it's a great sales year, but speaking as a "market of one", I'm delaying considering a purchase until next summer so (a) electronic I-drive teething problems work out (b) I'm past any early adopter burst of sales, and most importantly (c) I can see if the '05 has some meaningful changes in design. Maybe BMW'll lose me, maybe not; but if the currrent design remains the same, the chances are high that I'm gone. Again, a market of one -- but there's others who feel the same way. Hope there's not too many, for your sake.

    Good luck, and stay on. Your comments and enthusiasm are welcome.
  • carguy58carguy58 Posts: 2,303
    to turn onto the highway the other day and I saw a new 5 Series. I wanted to catch up to it but I didn't catch up to it on the highway enough to get a close glimpse at it.

    I mean BMW did these design changes to attact more women buyers? I see alot of women driving BMW's so they don't need a buyer they already have. The young people like the 3 Series too.

    My conclusion on the 7 Series and 5 Series is they are way overstyled. As a buyer in my early 20's I would not buy something so out there in the styling department such as the 04 5 Series, Honda Element, or a Scion. I have seen auto magazines where younger people say they don't like the Scion's or newer BMW's.

    People whined in the early to mid 90's cars were to conservative looking and all look the same now its hit or miss with styling with cars nowadays. Mazda and VW are hitting what the young people right on the head with their exterior styling. Honda, Mitsubishi, and BMW have lost their touch with this generation of young people in my opinion.
  • bmwmrcbmwmrc Posts: 66
    very good points in your posts. No you're not the only one and you're not a "market of one" when you speak from your heart. As a proud owner of two BMW 5 series, (1995 and 2003), I tried to have an open mind with the new design and had the opportunity to see the new E60 in person and drive it. IMO, it just doesn't do ANYTHING for me. Whereas the new MB E class was a simple but nice evolution of the old E class, the new 5 is a departure from evolution all together. I can't even state that the new design is radical. To me, it's more nonsensical, as if 10 different designers, tried to get THEIR concept through and built into the car. I realize time will tell, with regard to sales, but initial sales on any new vehicle out of the gate with the fine reputation of the 5 series, will always have first to market buyers, who want the latest and greatest. But as you acutely pointed out, it will be interesting to see a year from now, just how exactly sales compared not necessarily with the last iteration of the E39, but how it compares with the first model year (1997) of the E39, when it changed from the previous E34? Again, time will tell, but right now, I'm not going "grow into liking" this new version anytime soon.
  • The new 5 is roomier inside with a larger trunk than E39. Do you anticipate similar changes will be found on new 3 when it changes?....also,can you explain the tire pressure differences outside usa versus inside usa? EPA mileage ratings? Why are these tire pressure recommendations so different?...I enjoy your responses to the wide range of comments posted here.
  • 3 news yet. Tire pressure....I'm no expert on non-usa versions. EPA ratings....what's the question? Safety.....what's the question? I might need to do some research but if you can be more specific on what you want to know, we'll see if I'm up to the challenge. Perhaps, I'll get busy and need to work on a car deal.

    I sold one of the last M5's(black/black loaded) in the country this weekend to a guy from Virginia and WOW was it fun! What a car!!!!! Thanks, JD. I also sold another new 2004 5 series (black/black 530i)to a young guy (thanks WW) who had a Diamante and has always wanted a 'bimmer. All and all a great weekend, sold an "old" five and a "new" five.
  • Glad you're selling them. To be fair, I was in my dealer this weekend and saw a silver with grey interior and the key addition of the brown poplar trim all around. This one looked reasonably classy, notwithstanding all the other oddities of the E60. Also a grey/black/poplar combo that didn't scream "Japanese".

    But, on the lot were a brown and an olive(?) pair that looked awful, with the aluminum interior trim; like something from the late 70's. Do you guys pick these colors for your lot inventory or do the boys in germany throw them at you (serious question --)? Oh, well, let's hope they get better for the '05 year.

  • carguy58carguy58 Posts: 2,303
    I have seen like 2 04 5 Series already.
  • October E60 sales were 2600. That's big considering dealers essentially didn't have any inventory to speak of. September sales of the e39 was about 3000.

    So, early indication is that the car is selling.
  • warthogwarthog Posts: 216
    What's the inside poop on the rumored early re-design of the new 7? Or is it that you could tell us but then you'd have to kill us? [And Host, please don't move this to the 7-series board as its relevance is to the new 5]
  • gordonwdgordonwd Posts: 336
    I'm going to be ordering an '04 3-series partly to have a classic-design car that I can drive and enjoy for the next 5-7 years. I also have not been wild about some recent styling directions. I even like my current '98 A4 better than what Audi did in 2002 (one reason why I'm looking at BMW and not another A4). Of course, to get an E90 I'd be waiting a year or more, and then there's the issue of getting a first-year model, etc.

    Another trend I'm not thrilled with is the increase in gratuitous electronics, a lot of which I am simply not interested in. Features like touch-screens, XM radio, built-in cell phones, Bluetooth, etc. With the E46 I can freeze things at about the level I'm used to with my Audi and not have to deal with this new stuff for a few more years :-).

    I might also add, as a BMW motorcyclist, that their motorcycle line has also stirred up a lot of styling controversy in the last few years. They've done a few things that are downright weird to their traditional customers. Coincidentally, their chief m/c designer is also an American, David Robb. Can't they put the Germans back in control :-)?
  • Lots of interesting discussion about the 5, but any insights on the new 3? Specifically, does anyone know for sure whether the car will be arriving in 2004 as a 2005 model or in 2005 as a 2006 model? I checked Autospies, and they say 2005 model year, but other sites (Motor Trend) say 2006. I'm trying to gauge whether or not to buy a 2004 3-series next year or wait for the new one.

    Right now, I'm thinking i'll buy the 2004 now drive it for about 4 years and then buy the redesigned 3 (once the bugs and the design issues may be worked out).

    By the way, I just saw a '04 5 series (black) on the highway this weekend. It actually looked pretty nice from the rear 3/4 view (I'd never thought I'd say that considering how I dislike the rear lights).
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