One of the most recognizable grille designs in the industry is staying put. BMW will continue to use its iconic double kidney bean grille design – large or small – even as the automaker moves toward offering more electric vehicles. Domagoj Dukec, BMW's design department head, said as much to Autoblog in a recent interview.
BMW is moving ahead with three distinct lines of vehicles – the core products, the high-performance M models, and the electric-powered i brand. While each is distinct with a different purpose and customer base, Dukec told the publication that BMW doesn't want three different identities as they are all BMW vehicles. "We want to strengthen BMW as a brand with the help of two sub-brands which have two different roles," Dukec told Autoblog. That means keeping the kidney grille.
Grilles and grille sizes have been a point of contention for BMW ever since the introduction of the refreshed 7 Series and the recently introduced X7, which featured upsized grilles. Things grew more contentious with the BMW Concept 4, which featured a massive kidney bean grille. The BMW Concept i4 also featured an enormous grill that made many people wonder what's in store for the rest of the BMW lineup.
Many of today's electric vehicles don't have a traditional grille like you'd expect to find on a gas-powered car. EVs still require some cooling, but there's more leeway with the design. You can even see a difference in grille designs between the Concept 4 (above) and Concept i4 (below), with the gas-powered grille featuring larger openings for cooling.
BMW is shifting gears as it focuses more on electric vehicles. We'll see the all-new BMW 4 Series debut something before the end of the year, giving us our first look at the company's new design direction for grilles. We'll see how cohesive that corporate design language is when the production version of the electrified i4 breaks cover.