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

randomguy11111randomguy11111 Posts: 39
edited March 2014 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: 94,708
    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????
  • dtran2149dtran2149 Posts: 81
    A. Entry Luxury sports 4dr or coupe -
      1. TT
      1. 350Z
      3. G35C (back is a little truncated looking)
      4. A4 (new styling that is)
      4. 3-Series (including m3)

    I would rank the RX-8 #1 (very impressive in person) but I want to see how it looks to me after continuing to see it on the road for a few months

    B. 2 seater Convertible -
      1. Boxster
      2. Z4 (styling is wearing better than I though; time will tell if it endures)
      3. S2000
      4. Ford Thunderbird
      5. TT (too much like a bathtub effect in conv form; also, roofline "breaks" from original coupe design)
      5. SLK

    New 350Z Roadster is probably tied w/ Z4
    Also, would put 1st gen Miata up there w/ Boxster as well

    C. Mid-range luxury
      1. E-class
      2. 5-series
      3. A6
      3. GS400
      4. S-type

    D. Luxury -
      1. S-Class
      2. 7-series
      3. Jaguar
      4. Infiniti Q45
      4. Lexus LS

    E. SUV
      1. Infiniti FX45
      2. X5
      2. Volvo XC90
      4. Acura MDX
      5. ML-Class
      5. Lexus RX330

    VW Touareg to be determined

    F. Luxury convertible
      1. SL (truly beautiful!)
      2. Aston Martin Vanquish
      3. Z-8 (a little retro)
      4. 911 convertible
      4. SC430
      6. Cadillac XLR
  • cbgb1975cbgb1975 Posts: 51
    A. Entry Luxury sports 4dr or coupe -
      1. 350Z in Lemans Sunset - a vibrant orange,looks really aggressive.

    B. Convertible -
      1. TT

    C. Mid-range luxury
      1. E-class
    D. Luxury -
      1. S-Class
    E. SUV
      none - Not anti-suv,just do not care for the look.

    F. Luxury convertible
      1. SC430
    overall, on exterior looks alone my 1 would be sc430 and 2 would be 350z.
  • argentargent Posts: 176
    I'm not fond of the new 350Z. It looks like the [non-permissible content removed] child of a Porsche 928 and an Audi TT -- which is not necessarily _bad_, but uninspiring. Seen close up, it strikes me as somewhat contrived and derivative, and it has a distinct lack of interesting detailing. The details (window reveals, tail lights, etc.) are either dull or awkward. The G35 coupe, with its longer wheelbase, is better proportioned overall, and looks good from the side, rear, or rear three-quarters, but it's got an odd, fish-mouthed nose that reminds me uncomfortably of a 2000-vintage Mercury Cougar or Chevy Cavalier.

    The current 3-series BMW still, as the British say, looks the business, even though in Los Angeles there are more of them than Chevrolets. The coupes are the best of the lot, especially in terms of wheel proportion.

    The 7-series is eye-poppingly ugly. Seeing it parked next to its predecessor, it really looks bad, inside and out. I certainly hope Bangle isn't allowed to take the 5-series and 3-series in that direction.
  • carguy58carguy58 Posts: 2,303
    4 door sedan:
    1.) Mazda 6
    2.) Volswagon Passat
    3.) Nissan Altima

    Entry Level dr or Sports Coupe:
    1.) 98-99 3 Series(don't care for the refresh)
    2.) 02+ Audi A4(looks better than 96-01 A4)
    3.) Nissan 350Z(It looks sweet)
    4.) Acura 3.2TL

    The RX-8 could be on my list. I haven't seen one in person yet. The front looks very nice though.

    2 Seater Convertible:
    1.) 99+ Mazda Miata(like the old one too but this one looks better.)
    2.) 01-02 Chrysler Sebring Convertible(Don't care for the refresh treatment of the 03.)

    Ill put the last generation Eclipse Spyder up there too.

    1.) Infinti Q45(My Dream Car)
    2.) Cadilac STS(I'll take alot flack for that one)
    3.) Acura RL

    1.) Acura MDX
    2.) Lexus RX 300
    3.) Toyota Land Cruiser
    4.) BMW X5
  • However,

    1. I am perplexed how one you rates the TT convertible first and the other last. Had no idea that it was so divisive.

    2. Carguy58 - Acura TL coupe as a 4th placed car? You are brave. Good for you on going out on a limb on the STS. I think it is not half bad, but part of it is shear size. Cadillac 16 on the other hand looked beautiful.

    3. Argent. 2 questions. 1. Has the 7-series grown on you at all? It has on me. 2. Do you like the Z4 though?

    4. CBGG1975. You don't like the styling of any SUV... How about the Murano?

    5. DTRAN and others. None of you seems to like the X-type. I realize it has had poor reviews, but I was curious on the styling. Is it just too truncated or was their something in particular?
  • carguy58carguy58 Posts: 2,303
    I like the TL in the color blue. I liked the way Honda refreshed it for the 2002 model: bigger grille and bigger headlights. I should have included the Chrysler 300M on my list too.

    Also the STS I like the STS and I have liked it since it came out.
  • dtran2149dtran2149 Posts: 81
    I think Jaguars should elicit a completely passionate response from potential buyers. I just don't feel that with any of the Jaguar models except to a small degree with the XK coupe (especially modified versions of it I have seen in magazines). I think the Jaguar F-Type roadster (if they make it) is the type of car Jaguar should be about.

    You also asked someone else about the Murano. I would rank the Murano tied with the X-5/XC90.

    Carguy59 made an interesting point about color. It's definitely true that some color combinations really make certain cars stand out significantly. I'll come up with my personal list and post for comments shortly.
  • dtran2149dtran2149 Posts: 81
    Here are what I think are some of the best exterior color combinations for select car models:

    Make/Model (Best Colors)
    Audi TT (Lake Silver or Moro Blue)
    BMW M3 (Imola Red)
    BMW Z4 (Titanium Silver)
    Honda S2000 (Spa Yellow or Suzuka Blue)
    Infiniti G35 (Diamond Graphite)
    Infiniti FX45 (Liquid Copper)
    Lexus SC430 (Black Onyx)
    Mercedes C240/320 (Orion Blue Metallic)
    Mini Cooper (Silk Green Metallic)
    Nissan 350 Z (Redline)
    Porsche 911/Boxster (Cobalt Blue Metallic)

    I'm going to go ahead and say that Winning Blue and Titanium Gray are the best colors for the Mazda RX-8.

    I also love the Estoril Blue that BMW used to have on its late 90's M-Series. The Laguna Seca replacement is too bubble gum-esque for me.
  • 1. I am very intrigued on the ideas of color and cars. I must say I have a weakness for silver in all shapes and forms (even stupid ones like minivans). I am immature, what can I say...

    2. I couldn't agree more, particularly where I am a traditionalist. Something about blue beamers, estoril blue with M series, green jaguars, silver mercedes...


    What car looks good in white?
    How about gold? oh you had mentioned FX45...

    3. I hate SUVs but appreciate the Murano styling, the new Volvo and I like the look of the Chrysler Pacifica (as a single guy, they are of no use to me however).
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    The Mercedes S, CL and E all look stunning white. Believe it or not the 7-Series is a stunner in white also, not sure if it looks good though. Other BMWs don't do well in white because of the black rub strips on their mid-section.

    I agree with the above notes on SUVs. The Murano, XC90, Pacifica and FX45 all look good to me too, for SUVs that is. Nissan is on a roll for SUV styling, but in cars that new Maxima is yet another chapter in strange/odd Maxima designs.

    Odds and ends:

    Will someone tell Audi to paint the ENTIRE body of the A4 Sedan, like they do the A4 Cabriolet and all their other cars.

    When is Volvo going to learn that luxury cars are not supposed to be trimmed in thick black rub strips? The S80 looks so much better now in it's all body color suit. Now its the S60's turn.

    Saab also needs help with this same problem. Black door handles and trim on a 35K car is not cool. It makes the new 93 look like a budget car. The only "color" it looks good in is of course, black.

    Someone please tell Nissan to spend some money on interior design. I mean really how much money do you want to save? You use the same platform and VQ V6 for everything and you can't throw a few dollars at the interior of the Altima, Maxima, Murano or the G35 models! It looks as if they sat a row of gauges on a table top. And please stop with the metal look plastic, it's terrible. The weakest aspect of the G35 Coupe is it's interior.

    Why does Mercedes insists on using aluminum trim on all their C-Class "sport" models? Real wood is the only trim a Mercedes should have.

This discussion has been closed.