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



  • Under a minute I learned how to toggle between CD, radio, and cassette mode, adjust its bass, treble, balance, played around with the navigation, and a whole lot of other fancy options. Great, your kid learned how to use it under a minute....but does that mean he understands the whole i-Drive system? Or just the basics that I covered above? It doesn't take a genius to learn the most basic functions of the system. The point here is that i-Drive isn't user-friendly at all. Instead of pressing a button once, I have to navigate through several different screens to do the most basic functions. Simplicity is the name of the game, not some high-tech PC-wannabe system that drives even the most patient driver to insanity. When I drive, my hands are not glued to the steering wheel. I got my cell phone, my coffee mug, my morning reports and newspapers; I want to listen to my morning radio traffic info, turn up the volume under heavy traffic, switch on the A/C, etc. I got no time to fiddle around with this i-Drive system, more-so taking my eyes off the road in heavy Chicago traffic.

    IMHO, the new 5 and current 7 series are plain ugly. Every time I see one on the road, I stare at it not because I'm at awe with it; it's because of how hideous and out-of-proportion it looks. Not only is the exterior a nightmare, the interior looks like a creation from a Frankenstein movie. There's no flow to it at all; worst, the materials used are sub par to Lexus and Audi in almost every aspect. But don't worry, at least it's better than Infinity (cheap plastics everywhere) and equal to Mercedes-Benz. Thank goodness the new 3-series is a bit toned down, but I still wouldn't buy one either.
  • tlcmantlcman Posts: 220
    Sorry to hear that, but remember Porsche turned away many "911 traditionalist" when they introduced the 996 modle with the water cooled engine and boxter style head lights. Despite the fact that people claimed to hate this modle they ended up selling more that 20,000 units in the production year 2000, not cause people didnt like it, or the plastics inside were cheap (i know they are i do have one, but still love it), but because it preformed better and its still the 911. Its different I know but with every new design some people will hate it some will love it.
  • carguy58carguy58 Posts: 2,303
    You know what the Z4 actually looks good except for the tailights. The front of it is actually good looking. The 6 Series is a good experimental design. The only thing is I don't like the red lights on the lower back bumper. The rest of the car just has that "expensive look to it". Still don't like the 5 or 7 Series at all.

    BMW's reliability has been slipping of late big time because of this I-Drive stuff.
  • The 5 series exterior is acceptable at best, and the interior is just about as ugly as you can get. I am extremely diappointed in the new changes. They have even managed to make the 3 series interior just as ugly! I sure am glad I bought a 325xi 04 model. The outside I can live with but once they made the changes to inside it has made me look at other manufacturers. I can't say whether I will purchase a new BMW next year when I look for a new car, they have a cheap inside and are now asking a price that they should be paying me to drive a car with that ugly of an interior!
  • jlbljlbl Posts: 1,333
    I am re-phrasing the #446 message that I have just posted as a commentary to kyfdx message # 430 on the 'Luxury Performance Sedans' Discussion here in Edmunds web page.


    kyfdx wrote:

    "I was looking at pictures here on Edmunds (Inside Line?) from the auto show... Is it just me, or do both the Acura RL and the new Toyota Avalon have a touch of the Bangle Butt? Not that they look BMW at all, overall... just that one feature..."


    I then wrote:

    "kyfdx, you are quite right in your remark, in my opinion. Also, the exterior style of all of the sporty Alfa Romeo new series (don't forget European cars aside from BMW, MB and Audi) has even more touches of the Bangle Butt: in fact, they look like as clearly inspired by it! May be we all must wait for another one year or so to see more and more of these Bangle-inspired-but-not-acknowledged 'intercontextualities' erupting in many other car brands. May be not. The style that is to be seen nowadays in the majority of the cars was only a tendency pointed to by very few of them some years ago. There are people that follow the trend, others anticipate it. (Others feel they don't follow any, but few of these are really originals.) Everyone is O.K. because life is diversity. But now I thank BMW for taking risks instead of follow the path.


    I say now that this former commentary of me should be applied not only to the styling (both exterior and interior) but also to the mechanical and electronic developments inside the new 5 series. Driving is an endless pleasure. Interior is minimalist—that is, it is not overcharged with so many buttons that you don't now, while driving, which is to be pressed, as in other cars happen. I-Drive is made mostly for pre tunning the car, before starting driving, to your preferences. When driving, you should only have left yourself to deal with the little choice of buttons placed along the steering wheel and dashboard to easily control the major features of head lighting, inside-climate, phone, radio and navigation. Of course, not everything in the new 5 series is blessed with perfection but, on the whole, I feel it is a step towards it. I should eventually say that indeed I love other cars in addition to the BMW 5 series (e.g, Citroën has been for many years ahead on mechanical gadgets that now are present in other cars—like the active suspension with active roll stabilization, the headlights adjusted to the steering and others). But this is another topic.
  • ashajuashaju Posts: 1
    i quite like the styling of the 7-series bmws. admittedly, it grew on me, but the 5-series is a different matter entirely. it looks good from some angles (rear 3/4), but damn right ugly from the front on. and i think it has more to do with that nose and those lights than anything else. imagine more a conventional nose section and it would be easier on the eye.


    i have been waiting for the 5-series to grow on me... still waiting.....

    everytime i think i might be getting used to it, i look at that nose, and i'm back to loathing it!
  • i've come to the conclusion that the 5er will never grow on me. it keeps getting uglier the more i look at it.


    same thing with the z4, don't know why anyone would want one over a boxster.


    the 7 series has grown on me and i like the 1er....go figure!!
  • xkssxkss Posts: 722
    Why did they do this?

    They were not stagnating. Or, at least very, very few were saying that they were stagnating. The 2001-2003 530i is still one of the best BMWs ever made.

    I HATE the interior of the new 5 series. Not even the $85,000+ M5 has a decent interior. The grey plastic around the Shift-My-Gears knob screams cheap. The new M5 doesn't even have four-piston caliper brakes. Car magazines are reporting brake fade from the M5. Given the problems with the current M3's engine, I'm not so sure about the M5's engine.

    I can't wait for the next-generation M5 with a 10-speed transmission! LOL!

    BMW had record sales in 2004 along with a record number of recalls/service actions.

    The BMW X3 isn't even made at a BMW factory. LOL!

    The new 3 series looks boring because if they gave it the styling of the 5 series or 1 series, people would be even more furious.

    The grille of the new 5 series looks like the grille of a Pontiac. The taillights of the new 5 series look like the taillights of a 2001 Kia Rio.

    The taillights of the new 3 series look like the taillights of a Nissan Primera.

    When the new 5 series came out, I thought it was better than the 7 series, but after seeing it in person along with the previous 5 series it looked nasty.

    Why do the new BMWs have so many electronics? Do we need computers with wheels?
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,042
    A newspaper reporter wants to talk with current and former BMW owners who either love or hate the brand's new styling. Please respond to by Friday, February 25, 2005 with your daytime contact info and a few words expressing your opinion.


    Need help navigating? - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

    Share your vehicle reviews

  • bpraxisbpraxis Posts: 292
    Rumor has it that Chris Bangle is on the payroll of Mercedes, LOL. As least the new designs are distinctive, not very attractive but distinctive. Actually the Z4 and 6 series have grown on me.

    The new interiors with the I drive you crazy are a complete letdown. Has anyone sat in the interior of the new X3? They must be kidding. Honda has a nicer interior.
  • tlcmantlcman Posts: 220
    X-3 was a mistake, horrible offroader (due to lack of protection) and bad on road car because of the offroad suspension. HOWEVER, the 7 series was a huge gamble and is starting to pay off, I love the new styling, and off course they are going to tweek the designs, the first time I saw a 6 was driving past teh dealership at night in my 7 and i looked and thought they had an Austin Martin on the lot, but after pulling in to look at it it was the 6! in black, truly an incredible car, took it for a test drive and thought about trading my 7 for it! (but I dont think my insurance would like another 2 door 300+ hp sports coupe in the family) The 5 made me look twice at the rearend, and im not sure what i feel when I see it, but the rest of the car is amazing and the M5 is a truely wonderfull car as tested by Motor trend it sent the Benz back home crying. BMW is always into exlusivity while selling many 3's too keep their market share. They are not for everyone but for the people they are for they are amazing. Oh and about iDrive, its really not that hard once you learn it. yea you have to shuffle through a few pages but its not as hard as everyone is saying, maybe thats just me though.
  • xkssxkss Posts: 722
    you're joking, right?

    The new M5 doesn't even have four piston caliper brakes! what a joke!

    Here is the new M6 in all its shame with lines going all over the place.


    and here is the new Aston Martin DB9 which has a chassis twice as rigid as the DB7.


    Here is the DB9 Volante.

  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    While their shapes are remotely similar, both being coupes...the Aston-Martin is miles and miles ahead in its rear-end treatment. The BMW is aggressive where the Aston is simply beautifully elegant. The BMW is nice but the Aston is otta here gorgeous.

    The Aston-Martin DB9 is imo the best looking production car in the world today.

    A different behind is in order for the BMW.

  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 70,730
    I'm betting the M5 will stop so quickly, that your dentures will come flying out of your mouth.. I don't car if they use rubber bands and paper clips for brakes, as long as they work correctly...

    This is what happens when you read too many magazines, instead of driving real cars...

    Stats don't make great cars... but, great designers and engineers do..


    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I agree and BMW has said why they didn't go overboard with pistons on their brakes.

    They stated the tire size and the size of the contact patch of the tire is what determines stopping distance, not the amount of pistons.

    I'm sure too that the M5 will outbrake the E/CLS55 or XJR or any S-series Audi with ease.

  • qromqrom Posts: 1
    Hi all. This is my first time posting. I am new here.

    I think the new 6-series looks good...well, acceptable, anyway. The Aston is a beautiful car, but its design is predictable.

    The rear treatment of the new 6 is not bad and I think BMW should refine it more to make it look like a $70,000 car. As it is now, the rear end looks a bit like that a certain Chrysler car whose name I don't remember.

    I've seen the Aston coupe and it looks much better than the convertible. I've never really cared much for open top cars. Maybe that's why I can't warm up to the 6-series convertible. The 6's drop-top looks too much like something from Detroit.
  • xkssxkss Posts: 722
    Why does Porsche use four piston caliper brakes for many of its cars instead of two pistons caliper brakes?

    The new M5 will just be a rich man's Subaru but it has zero taste and class like the old M5s.

    Since the M5 has side vents but the M6 doesn't, why does the M5 need them?

    The new 5 series looks like a Pontiac.

  • m4d_cowm4d_cow Posts: 1,491
    the new designs, in this case the 6,7 and z4 might not be conservatively handsome/pretty, but still attractive in some ways. however i still hate the rear ends of the new 3, 5 and z4.
    all the interior designs are real mess, what happened to the good ol cockpit style? at least they can use better plastic at these prices, especially on the x3.
  • xkssxkss Posts: 722


    Here is Hartge's modified BMW 6 series. 100 % revolting! Notice the poor panel gaps.

  • rich545rich545 Posts: 386
    Just wondering...since you appear to hate BMW's why do you bother to post on a BMW message board? Seems kind of pointless no??? I mean, I hate Cadillacs, but I don't go on to that message board. I'm sure anyone good at using Photoshop could make any car look like any other so who really cares?
  • You are just making yourself look like a foolish troll attempting to start a flame war. I'd suggest taking your obviously qualified product development credentials straight to BMW to "fix" them. I'm sure you would inspire their design and engineering teams to hire you on the spot to work your Photoshop mastery. I mean, your obvious talents for thoughtful critique would show them the light according to xkss!

    From an engineering perspective, I believe it would be enlightening for you to share your opinions with the M5 development team... well those engineers responsible for braking systems at a minimum. I'm sure the transcripts from such a session would provide inspired reading to all the folks here.

    BTW, how about offering your design and engineering quals to explain your "knowledgeable" disdain for BMW and the M5 in general?? We need to be impressed when we take in your thoughtful insights.
  • xkssxkss Posts: 722

    I post here because this is a message forum. I won't stop posting this until BMW makes cars with higher quality than they have now, builds the M5 by hand at the M factory like the first two generations of M5s, stops building suvs, offers a manual transmission for the M5, and...
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    “You are just making yourself look like a foolish troll attempting to start a flame war.”

    Nah. Sounds like just another normal person who is torqued off at the jerky styles and direction coming from BMW.
  • xmf314xmf314 Posts: 154
    I agree. BMW is going through a wacky period.

    I think they will learn their lesson and dump the Bangle design nonsense, greatly simplify the idiotic I-drive, and once again build sensible cars.

    When that happens, I may be in the market for one.
  • rich545rich545 Posts: 386
    Well, you know what they say about opinions. Anyway, of course you have a right to post here and have your own opinion. I just question what would motivate someone to post about cars they hate rather than cars they like. I'm sure that your postings really mean very little to BWM though in terms of what direction they are going in as a company, but if you feel it's some kind of crusade you're on, by all means, continue. The fact is BMW is no longer the small niche car maker they once were, and they aren't because of the success they have achieved. I ask you this, I have a 2004 545 and it has 9000 miles on it. Now, who has a more qualified opinion on the build quality and overall satisfaction that the car offers? The person who's driven the car for that long or a person that has read about it in a magazine and may have test driven it for about 15 minutes? Like it or not, the true testament of how good a car is is how it's owners feel about it. If you read postings here from people that own the new 5 you'll find that nearly all of them love them.
  • 99zero99zero Posts: 3
    BMW sales may be up now, but I don't think they can sustain this in the long run with cartoon bodies on the 5 and 7 series, and the I-drive which forces owners to plow through menus to do simple tasks when they could be paying attention to driving the vehicle.

    As XMF says, BMW is passing through a wacky period.
  • jlbljlbl Posts: 1,333
    Honestly, I can assure that the i-Drive in the new 5 Series is not bad but, in fact, very useful and undisturbing. (I have lived with it for a year now.)

  • kyingkying Posts: 61
    I am new in this forum. Here's my 2 cents: I bought a new 2004 530i last May for its look!

    The first time I considered buying a BMW 5 series was in 2001, but I hated the look of the old E39. I love my Audis, but when I saw the new E60 last year, I had to have one. 7000 miles later, I still love it like the day I picked it up from the dealer, and the I-drive is fun too. I must admit, I don't fool around with it when I drive; I preset everything before I get on the road.

    I wonder the people who criticize the I-dirve are the ones who have it, or the ones who just read about it.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    Bingo. Right on. The ones that criticize i-drive are the ones that read about it in C&D.
This discussion has been closed.