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



  • toyo_ztoyo_z Posts: 47
    well, according to the reviewer on the front page (the review of the z4), the 7-series is going in for a major restyling -next year-. Which will make the current 7-series the shortest-lived design ever for a BMW.

    I guess the market has spoken.
  • I didn't say I liked the 7-series rear either. Necessary for aerodynamics, but poorly executed.
    I have similar concerns about trunk on Chrysler 300M.

    Again, the point is a discussion of the future trends and people's responses at a level deeper than "good" and "sucks".
  • bgt1bgt1 Posts: 50
    not a MAJOR restyling, some minor ones. I beleive all they aer "tweaking" is the back end- that was the most controversial part.
  • alphamalealphamale Posts: 15
    Another issue being ignored is re-sale values. How does these Revolutionary redesigns affect 5-series resale? The 97 5 was a totally different look, as is this one.
      I certainly appreciate the onl 7 much more now! Movies like "The Transporter" don't help, either!
      Looks like the 2006 3-Series will be Bangle's Final Frontier.
      If BMW wanted an aggressive new direction from Bangle, they got it, for better or worse.
  • toyo_ztoyo_z Posts: 47
    It may be a "minor" restyling, but if they replace the current hiddeous butt with a more shapely one, then those poor folks who were "early adopters" of the new 7-series will be stuck with cars that they can't sell. That's the danger of floating a re-redesign so quickly.

    I wonder if BMW will have to prop up the "big butt" 7-series resale value in order to help those customers stay with the brand.
  • bmwgurubmwguru Posts: 51
    Yeah the 97 5 series looked a lot different from the previous 5, but you could see the evolution from the 95 7 series. The 2001 7 series is a radical departure from BMW styling, both interior and exterior. There was a familiarity to getting behind the wheel of a BMW. Sitting behind the wheel of the new 7 is a bit unsettling to those who have driven BMW's for many years. It's almost like being in another company's vehicle. Bangle's designs just take a lot of effort to embrace. I'm all for change, but to basically throw out BMW's heritage, just to change is crazy. I hope that BMW's resale values don't plummet because of Bangle's risk taking. Only time will tell.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    My partner bought an 03 "7", and while they love it "when it's not in the shop", I think the butt is unbelievable. Not sure about the i-drive either. I hear that's a gonner too next year....

    Conversely, the new 5 looks ok, and I LOVE the Z-4!
  • carguy58carguy58 Posts: 2,303
    Will sales go down? I just don't understand why they are going so radical with their styling. The last company to do that was Pontiac and look what happened to them. I don't think BMW as a company or its owners want to be laughed at the way Pontiac was a 5-10 years ago. The styling leaders now: Mazda, VW, and Nissan are not very radical with their designs but their very sophisticated without being off the wall. BMw designs of the 7 Series and new 5 Series just look "off the wall". A photo of the The new 6 Series in one of the auto magazines claimed the 6 Series design looks like Pontiac's of the past. I did a catch a photo of the new 3 Series too. The Back of it looks very "french" in design. The front end is not that good looking. All of a sudden BMW can't designs front ends of their cars anymore. I remember when Nissan couldn't designs rear ends of their cars in the mid 90's. We all saw what happened to Nissan. I'm not a big BMW fan but they are turning off young people with going radical with designs.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    carguy58... 745i sales rose over 740i.

    You don't think the new Nissan Maxima isn't radical styling? Or the Mazda RX8? Or that the New Beetle wasn't a radical departure from where VW had been in the early 1990s? Or that the new Infiniti G35 hardly looks like its sister I35 or G20? Or that the G35 coupe breaks new ground for Infiniti styling? Or just compare the Cadillac CTS to the Catera.

    Is BMW merely playing catch up?
  • carguy58carguy58 Posts: 2,303
    Companies like Nissan/Infinti, Mazda, Cadillac, and VW around the mid 90's had big sales declines. In the late 80's/early 90's Nissan and Mazda could no wrong. Then they started to style cars along the lines of the Toyota and lost alot of buyers in the mid 90's. So basically Nissan and Mazda are returning back to their routes. Cadillac had to go radical because their buyers were the oldest in the industry. One you dump your styling routes buyers go away from that specific brand of car unless your Honda and Toyota and have a high following for your reliability which those companies do.

    BMW was the styling leader in the late 90's/early 00's. They are going in a totally different direction now so its basically a new era styling wise at BMW.

    The 7 Series is not a high volume selling car which the 3 and 5 Series are.

    I'll give BMW credit they make some of the best automobiles in the business without question but their new styling direction is very debateable.
  • bmwgurubmwguru Posts: 51
    The difference between Nissan, Masda, VW and BMW is that BMW's sales volume has steadily increased every year since the mid 80's. BMW took a huge risk in possibly alienating customers who have been loyal over the years. BMW hasn't had to build or rebuild customer confidence in its' products because of bad designs or reliability issues. As far as BMW playing catch-up, radical designs rarely last. Look at what is happening to the sales of vehicles like the PT Cruiser and VW Beetle. When your product is perceived as garbage you have to take risks to attract customers.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    The New Beetle and Thunderbird were pure retro. The PT Cruiser evokes retro. There isn't much you can change without changing the intent of the retroactivity. Will be interesting to see if all end up being deadends. T-bird demise nearing. Big reason VW and Chrysler waited to go turbo, convertible, etc.

    BMW's competitors aren't sitting still. Audi making some big styling changes. MB has too, though not quite as much.

    BMW wants to be a leader in design. They believe they have refined the older styles as much as they can and need some new blood to maintain leadership.

    I remember the howling back in mid-80s when Taurus' jellybean styling, along with Audi, were heavily criticized. Think the revised big Dodge Ram pickup truck was criticized during its '90s intro. But they caught on.

    Lots of people hated the Z4. My neighbor has one. She loves it. I do, too. Tons of armchair critics hate the new 745i. I did, too, until I drove one and got to appreciate it in the flesh. Sales of 745i have been good. Sales of current E39 5 Series falling fast. I think we'll all be pleasantly surprised at how well the new 5 looks on the road.

    Don't get me wrong. Some moves appear bad. I didin't like the iDrive. Critics don't either. Nor could I figure it out intuitively in my test drive. Here is an important area BMW needs to fix. Audi's MMI much better!
  • toyo_ztoyo_z Posts: 47
    I too am concerned about where BMW is headed. The previous 7 was one of my favorite rides, but this new one just leaves me cold.

    Anecdotally, i've noticed a lot of broken down new 7's by the side of the road (3 so far), which is odd for such a low-volume model, and even odder b/c i've never seen an older 7 just up and croak. Could these problems be iDrive related?
  • Mercedes - moving a bit toward old BMW style (sorta one sausage, diff sizes) at same time BMW is adopting Mercedes idea of distinctiveness for each car. Has styling really well done, especially on S and E - these are conservative model ranges which are notoriously difficult to do.

    BMW - searching for some sort of modernist style with individual model identity. Clearly able to build a common brand indetity with these individuality. But look of individual models is not so great. My problem with 7-series is that it simply looks inelegant. This works with caddilac DNA, but not with BMW. We will see how 5-series goes.

    Part of problem is that BMW had styling nailed in 90s. Hard to improve on 99 3-series in styling. While all great driving cars I wonder what people thought of the styling of the 2002 from the 70s?

    Jagaur - trapped in retro look that appeals to some buyers but limits growth potential. Need to find a third way. Was once cutting edge. These designs led and defined industry and now they are tied up by them. Interior in particular must better combine classicism with modernity. Obviously from driving perspective they have gone with elegance at the cost of sportiness and responsiveness. Need to get the sport back in the flacid ride quality.

    Audi - really a design leader. Bauhaus style has done wonders and really united the entire lineup. Audi TT, A6 and new A8 really aesthetically perfect cars. Ditto for interiors, which are touch staid though.

    Cadillac - antithesis of Jaguar, ultra modernist stealthlook. At first, being different for sake of being different. Also produced the monumentally scary Aztec. Styling really seems to be congealing well after all.

    Was smart move. I really think Cadillac's values must be sleek, aggresive modernity with use of cutting edge technology. Key weakness remains interior styling and quality.

    For those in NYC area, this is like Matisse-Picasso MOMA comparison. Jaguar is old impressionist works, Audi is the pleasing and comforting Matisse with rounded lines and great use of color variation, and Cadillac is the bold in your Picasso with disconcerting angles. Just pray there are no more Aztecs in pipeline.

    If I wanted to be cruel drag out this art metaphor well past its usefulness, some bad American and Japanese styles are like those english portrait artists doing dull landscapes and people on horses. The Honda element is a Mondrian. I guess all that remains is waiting for the next truly scary model that is a Jackson Pollack.

    Volvo - New look is growing on people, certainly accepted on street. Very clever way to move slowly away from Boxy look and combine sport with safety. Judge them by how far they have come and not necessarily where they are.

    Also, they have a great interior aesthetic in their cars that is a great modern, clean look that is also welcoming and well done. Scandinavian modernity so to speak. Big challenge appears to be how sporty to make the driving experience.

    Chrysler - see some interesting moves here. Must work on common brand styling cues besides dash and use of silver paint. Nice use of retro flourishes that don't get them trapped by them.

    Saab - like the 9-5 and 9-3 styles. Look too similar however and trapped in a very small segment and quirky style that has become more mainstream and less interesting.

    Unclear where they extend this. Interiors have to find a more modern interpretation of airplane cockpit that works better. Have you seen a 777-cockpit. Very hightech and looks like Acura or Lexus brightly lit instrumentals.

    Lexus - In past, Mercedes me too styling without strong design belief or core values of any kind other than luxury. Liked GS, IS looked like 9-5 to me. SC430 was very nice and underrated.

    Infiniti - Individually cool and daring models - J30, original Q, current G35, FX45 and even M45 all have great, neat, creative designs. Great job, if interior execution lets them down. Lack a coherent brand identity however and wonder what cues will eventually link all these cars together in the way European firms are so good at.

    Acura - really not sure what they are doing with these cars. Clearly sport hatchback is where they really add something to the table, but such a small part of market. Really being dragged along by great execution of flawed designs and excellent value of vehicles
  • goose1207goose1207 Posts: 113
    The WSJ recently had an article about the upcoming 5-series.

    * Title - BMW has a lot riding on its new 5 series
    * Many folks are turning to MB E-series instead of E39 in Europe
    * Bangle has been critized heavily for the new Z4 and 7 series
    * iDrive drives people crazy - i stands for "infuriate"
    * "E60 is the most aerodynamic car BMW has ever built"
    * Bangle has a hate site by 17 year old Texan named Trey Thompson, RF'er?
    * Bangle compares himself to Andy Warhol!

    The '02s and some '03s have their share of problems. It is widely known that there are a significant number of electronic gremlins. BMWNA bought back many of the '02s in exchange for new '03s to keep customers happy. The sales data probably includes the resale of the buybacks by BMWFS to dealers. Also, the current E65 7 is available in markets such as China whereas the E38 7 never was.
  • although sales of the 5 are off because it is such an old platform.

    For example the RS6 and E55AMG beat the M5 in a recent review based on the fact that as good as an M5 is, it is an aging platform.

    Even with this limitation, it is amazing how sales have just slowly slacked off. Normally, even for BMW sales would be off 20-25% in the last few years. This is only hitting it now, as the model is rather old and a replacement has been shown.

    This is even more impressive given that the E is a great car. (I think the the E is so nice that I prefer the new E to both the S-class and BMW's 5-series.)
  • carguy58carguy58 Posts: 2,303
    First off lets startoff with Acura, their styling doesn't scream sporty but the designs have always aged beautifully.

    Infinti-definately great designs but the M45 is not my cup of tea.

    Volvo: Still too boxy. The C70 was their best styled model until they put it on the shelf.

    Audi-definately the styling leader.

    Chrysler-I wasn't too thrilled with the latest refreshening of the Sebring Coupe and Convertible. The Stratus Coupe looks exactly like the Sebring Coupe with the latest refreshening. Pacifica is a definite winner-nice elegant style to it with Audi like interior materials. Chrysler uses Audi like interior materials? yeah thats what I just said. Crossfire will create a buzz: I say Crosssfire to rip off a line in a car mag is AMC meets Mercedes CLK.

    Lexus: The RX has always been beautiful. The IS 300 looks good but the interior is too cheap. Still getting younger buyers with the IS300 so kind of a morale victory for Lexus getting younger buyers but not selling enough IS 300's as they want to. The ES has seen better days in styling. 1997-1999 ES 300 styling was nailed perfectly.

    Saab-The back of the 9-3 looks BMw-ish all of a sudden. Not a bad thing but you want to seperate yourself from the crowd a little bit. Saab is not my cup of tea but you either love or hate Saab styling.

    Cadillac-Moving out of the old man stuff of the late 90's. The new convertible they will come out with will create a buzz. CTS has been a good seller and they are getting the younger buyers they want now. I can't believe Cadillac is making a comeback as it is. Who would have thought it? Interior sill too cheap in CTs though. Thats something Bob Lutz needs to work on ASAP.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Acura - Dull, but safe designs. Nothing ugly or wierd, just boring. Their CL coupe fell victim to this. Coupes are supposed to be stylish. The TL-S sedan looks better. Time and time again I've hoped for a good looking Acura, and have always been disappointed. The TSX looks ok I guess, but nothing to lust over. I hope yet again, the 2004 TL is coming.

    BMW - Definitely going "down-hill". The 7-Series is ugly, the 5 is weird and the next 3 promises to be more of the same. Funny thing is, their new styling theme works on the Z4. It looks appropiately mean and stubby. Not sure about the 6-Series yet.

    Audi - Not a ugly or bland car in the bunch. Definitely a style leader. The A6 is timeless, the A4 looks like it will eat the road with sport package wheels/tires. A style leader if not THE style leader. The A8, timeless. A4 lets get a better engine underhood!!
    Can't wait to see the A4 Coupe this fall.

    Mercedes - The new CLK has been a rare styling misstep for Mercedes. The SL is a little overdone in some of it's details. That said, the CL is simply my favorite car of any type. Have you ever seen a large coupe with better proportions or a more seductive roofline? Absolutely the most gorgeous car of it's type on the road today. Nothing in the luxury class looks better, imo. The S, E and C (especially in new for 2003 "Sport" trim) are all lookers, with the S (Sport trim) being tops.

    Lexus - Ranges from the dull to wierd if not ugly. I stil find the SC430 to be "interesting" however.

    Volvo - Look ok, I guess. Still kinda on the conservative side. When Volvo realizes that luxury cars aren't supposed to be trimmed in black moldings they'll start to look better. I guess the S60 will get that correction later on in life as the S40 and S80 did. I agree with the above poster, the C70 was the best looking Volvo in the time I've been paying attention to cars.

    Cadillac - Their new styling direction is a mixed bag. I thought the CTS was the ugliest thing on the road a while back, now I guess it's just "different". The XLR I'll have to see on the road as it didn't impress at the autoshow. The SRX is ugly.

    Infiniti - They may be onto something. The FX45 looks like a car a gangster in a cartoon would drive, and it's unlike anything else on the road. I love it. The G35 Coupe let me down somewhat in that its wheelbase looks too long. Kinda like the old 300ZX 2+2 looked. It's still attractive though. The M45 and Q45 are pretty much lost causes, especially the M45.

    Overall I look for the Japanese to get better at this styling thing. I look for BMW to get worse, Mercedes to continue with evolutionary styling, and Audi to pull a few stunners in the next couple of years.

  • mtbiker1mtbiker1 Posts: 17
    Ugly. If I win the lotto and decide I gotta have a BMW, it won't be one of the new crop. Ugh-Ell-Why!
  • Here is a link to story on growing importance of interiors...

    What's in:

     Office-style mesh seats without foam or coils.
     Unusual cabin materials like Corian, bamboo, copper, ostrich leather-Lycra, tortoise shell.
     Patterned carpets.
     Two-tone cockpits.
     Lots of color.
     Electro-luminescent ceiling panels.
     Ceiling rail systems with snap-on modules.
     Fancy floor mats with logos and embroidery that double as "welcome mats."

    What's out:

     Overstuffed bucket seats.
     Gray or beige cabins.
     Grainy plastic, wood trim.
     Solid-color carpeting.
     Traditional sunroofs.
     Small overhead bins.
     Plain floor mats.

    Scary fact:

    An online poll of 3,000 suppliers and manufacturers recently picked the Cadillac CTS, with its high-tech look, edgy shapes and American-European styling, as the 2003 Car Interior of the Year, beating out competitors like the BMW Z4, Saab 9-3, Infiniti G35 coupe and Honda Accord.
  • broiler1broiler1 Posts: 6
    I was thinking of leasing a new 330ci in the near future but was somewhat concerned that the styling will be changed in the near future considering this current design has been around since 1999, of course notwithstanding the usual minor enhancements made on an annual basis.

    Do any of you know when the new design is supposed to be released? If so, do you have a link to the photos of the new model?

  • msgreenmsgreen Posts: 67
    Several articles and press pieces are out now - including Edmunds - suggesting that BMW is going to give the 7 Series a significant face lift for next year which will aim to "improve" the styling of the highly controversial rear end. If BMW is alarmed enough to perform such a change only two years into the model run, and given the similarity of the new 5 series rear end to the 7, it would suggest that we might see some early changes in that car too? Anyone hearing this? I know that I have an E39 that I was considering trading on an E60; however, will definitely hold off further plans until I see one in person. Frankly, just from the pictures, if BMW changes the 7, I hope they do the 5 as well....
  • mjc440mjc440 Posts: 76
    The current issue of MotorTrend (the one with the new Caddy roadster on the cover) has a small picture of a slightly disguised new 3-Series. MT claims that the 3-Series redesign will be less radical than the 5's & 7's. From the little I can see from the picture, it doesn't look too bad. I hope they punch out a little more power from the 2.5L - 200HP would be nice.
  • goose1207goose1207 Posts: 113
    The 3 will be redesigned as an '05 model. Since you're interested in the coupe, that probably won't debut until '06 since BMW always introduces the sedans first.

    I doubt that the new design of the 5 will be tweaked. According to BMW and the media, the E60s styling is already a toned down version of the E65 7.
  • rroyce10rroyce10 Posts: 9,359
    ...... Whether there is "implications" or not, the reality is .. the New "7" isn't selling and bunches of the ones that have sold, are being traded and their re-sale is in the dumpster and thats scary.

              Lot's of dealers are screaming to BMW for a little help .. incentives, rebates, dealer cash, "whatever" it takes to move these Dead Dudes ... BMW is kinda going blind to this, too much ego and not enough "oop's" -- with the new "5" coming out, this might change their view from their "tall status" ~ to looking UP all over again and thats a shame ...

  • indiana97indiana97 Posts: 58
    I have read that the new 3 series (sedan) will be out in 2005 but will be sold as a 2006. Given the 3 series cycle of 7 year redesign, this has been true back to the origional 320i series (sedan): 1978-1984, 1985-1991, 1992-1998, 1999-2005, 2006---. I would think the 2 door would be out as a 2007.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    indiana97... If you like introduction and production data, check out Jeremy Walton's book, BMW 3 Series Enthusiast's Companion (Bentley Publishers, 2001). Per it, the first 3 Series (E21) was "announced in the first week of July 1975 to the German press and European LHD markets, the 3 Series was also sold in Britain in Autumn, 1975.... On sale in US starting November 1976 [320i MY 1977]." The E30 3 Series "debut of the 318i in the US in 1983". "In the USA, the E36 generation premiered in four-door 325i format for model year 1992." "It was July of 1998 before the latest 323i and 328i arrived in America."

    In all forms worldwide:

    -E21 in production from June 1975-Sept 1983.
    Initially sold in Europe as 316, 318, & 320i 4 cyls.
    -E30 in production from 1982-Jan 1994.
    Sedan majority 1982-1990.
    -E36 in production from 1990-2000.
    Sedans in production until 1998. Some built at Spartansburg SC plant.
    -E46 in production since 1998.
  • bigbri2bigbri2 Posts: 1
    I owned a 2002 745i that was re purchased by bmw na. I m considering getting a new 2003 745li. I keep reading about the body style being tweaked but have never herd if that is officially gonna happen or just a rumor. The only thing I have herd that is going to be different on the 04s is the bluetooth technology. Anyone know 4 sure when the body will b changed on the 745?
  • rroyce10rroyce10 Posts: 9,359
    ..... I don't "think" that even BMW has really started that bold move .. lot's of false pride going on there.

             Personally if I were you, I would be lookin' at a pre-owned 745Li with 4/6/8k and saving $20 grand, their re-sale is Not good.

  • goose1207goose1207 Posts: 113
    The cosmetic changes will be introduced with the '04MY this fall. I've heard that the dlrs preview is next month. I would not buy a pre-owned '02 or '03 because of all the buybacks. Plus, the value of the '02/'03s will fall even further when the restyle comes out. The dlrs are giving these cars away with their below market lease rates and lofty residuals.
This discussion has been closed.