Having a definitive opinion about a specific new car design comes with a lot of caveats these days. There’s a ton of background influences including safety regulations, environmental laws, market region appeal and demographics targeting that play increasingly larger roles in the aesthetic output from automotive design studios. I haven’t even shoehorned technology advances in yet. In the category of electrified vehicles, there’s a wide array of stylistic approaches happening, from soft transition to the jarring departures away from the gas burning vehicles that went through a century of design interactions.
Two of BMW’s latest electrified products were on display for a preview night at Manhattan’s Classic Car Club. The i4 and iX are adorned with the larger grilles that seem to be spreading across BMW’s entire lineup. I always seem to imagine Chris Bangle with a smirk whenever I see a new BWM with one of these grafted on.
This isn’t just an issue with BMW’s current design trajectory, there are other manufactures heading along this same path. It’s comparable to over compressed music, everything is loud and all the subtlety and nuance is lost. The i4 and iX appear to have been inspired by rage. You’ll get a rearview mirror full of narrow eyes, flared nostrils and a snarling mouth if either of these stalk you on the road. BMW has been headed in this direction for a while now and it’s increasingly difficult to imagine a further zenith to this trend.
Was there much difference between how these to models look in photos versus real life? Not really. The proportions don’t change that much. There’s little doubt that the i4 and iX are meant to be distinctive and read as BMWs. That box is checked. But is seems that as a consequence for all the visual shouting, the soul and mystique of the brand are getting lost.
Photos and Text: Dave Pinter