By on September 10, 2019

We apologize to our West Coast readership who may be taking in these pictures while munching on their Froot Loops. It must be ruining your appetite. According to BMW, that front end — Hannibal-style kidney grille and all — is the new face of the 4 Series.

Is it too late to take back all the bad things I said about the Chris Bangle design era?

“The kidney grille has always been a signature feature of BMW cars,” said Domagoj Dukec, Head of BMW Design, in a press release. “The BMW Concept 4 presents a confident and classy take on this iconic feature.” We are certain Mr. Dukec, on the job since March of this year, knows his way around a design pencil, given his tenure as Head of Design at the i and M division. However, ‘classy’ is not a word we’d use to describe the gaping maw on this Concept 4.

Terrifyingly, Dukec goes on to say “The BMW Concept 4 offers a look ahead to the expressive face of the 4 Series range.” In addition to the alarming grille, its bulbous hood flares along the centre line, reminding this author of a swollen nose thanks to the hood flaring’s extension out into the front fascia to meet That Grille. Perhaps the whole thing looks more cohesive in person.

Around the side and back, fortunes improve dramatically. The dish on those wheels is just fantastic, while the flank sculpting flows back to a sensuous set of flared hips. A contrasting color rear diffuser-like addenda gives the rear a bit too much visual height but it is largely offset by the horizontal lines along its lamps and trunklid.

Little was said about the Concept 4’s interior or level of kit (I’m using that term on purpose just to rankle the bedwetters who complained about its use in Matt’s post about VW yesterday), nor was there any mention of propulsion options. Currently, the 4 Series range is offered with 248hp and 320hp mills, plus the 425hp silky twin-turbo inline-six found under the hood of the M4 coupe.

Stay tuned to more news out of this week’s Frankfurt Motor Show. Hopefully, there will be more horsepower and less grille.


[Images: BMW Group]

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48 Comments on “Grille Next Door: BMW Shows New Concept 4 in Frankfurt...”

  • avatar

    Shame about that nose on an otherwise attractive car. Ouch.

  • avatar

    If I didn’t know that was a Bmw I would have thought it was a Genesis coupe or a new Acura design…

  • avatar

    It’s a freaking Infiniti Q60.

  • avatar

    Grille aside – which is awful, by the way – the problem here is that the design is generic, no matter how good the car looks.

    Cover up the grill and badges, and tell me who makes this car. Good luck.

    If the idea here is that BMW design is defined by the grille, then they’ve succeeded brilliantly.

  • avatar

    The grill is obviously too big.

    You know what else annoys me with this car, but it’s not only limited to this car. That cutout/slab on the lower side. Every new sportscar has it (Supra, C8). I know it’s supposed to make the surface catch light and add visual interest, but to me it looks like a giant roll of fat hanging down on the car. It makes the side look heavy. The car should look streamlined and taut, not obese.

    Compare the evolution of this trend. Look at an E60 M5 (2006), the lower skirt is sculpted with a small step. The sides are still flush: the doors are one clean surface.

    Now look at a 2019 BMW M6. The step on the side skirt hangs down. It’s starting to get depressingly heavy. It’s pulled down by gravity and looks like it doesn’t belong on the car.

    Finally look at this car above. The lower half of the car is one giant slab of fat that’s begging for a trip to the hospital for liposuction. The car looks like a whale. Doesn’t look sporty at all.

    At least the 2019 Camaro has a solid step on the lower side that looks structural and well defined, like it was carved from a block of steel. The problem is when it’s too droopy and organic looking. I wish this BMW will be the last car to feature this terrible fad.

  • avatar

    Now we can’t make fun of the Lexus grille anymore.

  • avatar

    Without reading the headlines I thought it was a Kia “big mouth bass” grill.

  • avatar

    Sweet bejeezus that’s ugly!

  • avatar

    With each new doltish design idea from BMW, it’s a shame they haven’t figured out what Porsche already knows…. you should be stealing from your own designs, not someone else’s.

    All BMW has to do is modernize the 3, 5 and 7 from 1993-2001.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Thank You! I have said this about GM trucks as well. I’d add make the 2 Series look like the E30.

      But no, in spite of having some of the most attrictive cars built in the last 50 years in their portfolio the rip off the Koreans. Why?

      • 0 avatar

        The GM trucks should have kept improving on the GMT 900 design! Classy in every respect; a black or white police Tahoe in “plainclothes” is especially bada$$! Sadly, the general poor rustproofing on these (or all the big pickups and their BOF SUV counterparts in general) is starting to take its toll in the salt belt! But the styling went down the drain as the grill sizes increased!

        BMW was once a classic! A driver’s machine! Now they’re all just a bunch of generic blobs, done German-style, with the same Rube Goldberg construction which will fail epically and expensively at twenty miles after the end of the first lease, along with the privilege of having to fork over extra $$$ for the most basic of infotainment connectivity! Now with saber-tooth grilles!!

        That garbage didn’t work well for Acura! It certainly won’t for BMW!

  • avatar

    As an A5 owner and an S5 intender in the future, the M4 was definitely on my list, as it still had a manual transmission available. But not with that grille, that’s a non-starter.

  • avatar
    Matt Foley

    It’s a Bavarian Camaro. Even the available power levels (248hp / 320hp / 425hp) are similar to its GM cousin (275hp / 335hp / 455hp).

  • avatar

    Remember when BMW’s were restrained, athletic and even a little elegant? Yeah, neither do I. The stupid “Bucky the Beaver” grill is just a horrid abomination that should die a thousand fiery deaths.

  • avatar

    “Terrifyingly, Dukec goes on to say “The BMW Concept 4 offers a look ahead to the expressive face of the 4 Series range.””

    Translation error — should have been “excessive face.”

  • avatar

    Please shoot me, or I’ll shoot the designer of this BMW (I think it is a BMW). Please shoot me. God this is the ugliest thing I have ever laid eyes on

  • avatar

    The high belt line is ridiculous, the Camaro should have spoken loud and clearly that consumers don’t want that. A car with the perfect drivetrain choices, albeit at a high price for the base V8s that are desired, destroyed by a terrible cabin.

    From the pictures I was certain this was an Alfa Romeo.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    We’ve gotta be coming to the end of this. How long did everyone have those huge headlights that took up half the fenders?

    Does anyone really like it? Non car people maybe? Because we all hate it.
    I leased my IS300 despite the grille and I let them know on the surveys.

  • avatar

    That is a beautiful car except for any image capturing the front. That front is truly hideous.

  • avatar

    It’s been a long time since BMW could produce a car that looked like a BMW without its twin-kidney grill. This one doesn’t look like a BMW without it either.

  • avatar

    Fugly doesn’t even begin to describe that grille.

  • avatar

    I just thought of this: what a way to get Germans out of their cars!! Make them so viel hässlich (which transliterates to “so very ugly” auf Englisch), that nobody will want to drive them!!!

  • avatar


    BMWs used to catch my eye, even the Bangle era ones. This turns my stomach. Audi still wins the style contest: staid, elegant, unassuming.

  • avatar

    Oh man! I am totally floored by that car! I fell in love with this design. That’s what I call fully enforced “German ingenuity” and “European elegance”. It reminds me Tiger heavy tank of WWII. Why Lexus cannot learn thing or two from BMW how to properly style it’s cars.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    The 90’s 8-series like tapered flares work but if it only had the same subdued kidney grill.

  • avatar

    I agree this looks like a Q60 or a Genesis G70, and they have better grilles. I feel like BMW has been going astray for a while. I have an E93 convertible as a good-weather car and the simpler lines on it have held up really well — I get compliments on it every time I drive it and people are always shocked when I tell them how old it is.

  • avatar

    Like or hate the grill, the sheer irony of people in this thread chastising BMW over the grill size while simultaneously praising Audi is astounding. Audi, Lexus, and even Benz grills have more square footage than BMW’s.

  • avatar

    Had to cite the following from “”’s Peter DeLorenzo himself:

    “The BMW Concept 4 embodies the aesthetic essence of the BMW brand. It combines perfect proportions with a clear and precise design,” says Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President BMW Group Design. Really? We’ve taken one look at that hideous front end and decided that ol’ Adrian is in the sunset of his career. And BMW has completely lost the plot. Ladies and gentlemen, WTF? -PMD

    We can only hope! To think Bangle’s hot garbage would look good!

  • avatar
    Rick Astley

    I really like BMW taking a page out of Mazda’s playbook with showcasing the car in a stunningly GORGEOUS shade of red.

    Only difference is that Mazda actually produces their cars in launch colors and BMW will only offer these in monotone grey-scale, dark navy and dark burgundy.

    Oh, and that front end……. It will prevent sales the same way that Acura’s “beak generations” cut their sales. What were they thinking, that is horrendous coming from a Germanic manufacturer.

  • avatar

    What’s weird about this is that the recent Z4, 3-Series, and 8-Series all have a relatively traditional BMW front ends. The X7 and 7-Series do have the really tall grilles, but that’s not what this is either. So, for better or worse, it seems like the 4-Series is going to get unique styling among BMWs.

  • avatar

    I know it’s not quite fair because it plays two segments up, but the LC puts this to shame in the “make up for an ugly grille with the rest of the car” category.

  • avatar

    Call my crazy but the first picture my immediate thought was that MG was coming back to America. The grill is awful on an otherwise attractive yet derivative two door. Chris Bangel is laughing his ass off somewhere.

  • avatar

    I refuse to buy a car where I have to park the grill in a separate garage.

    The 3 series has always looked like a proper BMW through all the E numbers. They have continuously drifted away from driving like a BMW since the E46 or so. Why not be garish and ugly like one of Mrs. Howell’s rings? (Sorry you young fellers)

  • avatar
    Car Ramrod

    This is probably my fault. Every car I buy (3rd gen Acura TL, E39 5-series, F80 3-series) gets a way uglier front end in the subsequent redesign

  • avatar

    I almost think there is some sort of virus infecting the brains of car designers these days. Damn, I sound so old. But as I get older, cars in general get uglier and uglier. Most of them squished egg shaped, angry bug faced 4 door lumps that almost all look pretty much identical from the side. Only the (Usually) awful back ends and angry bug faces make them look different. And I really wish they would loose the weird swoops and stuff on the sides!

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