Its easy to be contemptuous, I know. Especially with design, which is more subjective than pure engineering. As such, I have felt frantic to meet a designer after casually, perhaps cruelly, discarding his car, otherwise quite attractive, as if he had suffered a stroke (in the back of the Land Rover Discovery) or as if he had an F-Pace stress ball (Jaguar E-Pace), because that was a bit mean. But here, where is the line of being too cruel, when are, in my eyes, the worst looking cars that a conventional manufacturer has launched for decades?
I understand that sometimes the BMWs of the early 2000s – the era of design director Chris Bangle – were controversial, sometimes challenging. But part of the idea was that, while some car buyers instinctively slipped in to see one, there were an equal or greater number of people intrigued by the tense surface, who thought they should have one.
And Im not sure thats the case here, unless theres a subset of people who like to look at their driveway in the morning and stretch their faces as if theyre seeing a really difficult surgical procedure.
So, looking for reasons why, or how, BMW would end up here, I can only think of one possible answer. BMWs have had a bit of a reputation over the years. Sometimes the guts of this world have driven them. There was the old joke that the indicators were optional, and that if anyone was ruthless, a follower, an outside lane hoarder, who would never let you out at a junction and, conversely, you wouldnt either, he would be a BMW driver.
He was the kind of person who, these days, has emigrated to an Audi. So perhaps this new grille is just the final touch of design that aims to knock down the curtain once and for all at that time, and give rise to a feeling youve never had before for a BMW driver: pity.
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