By on March 4, 2020

We continue our exploration of vehicular design from the 2010s today. Thus far, we’ve covered the best and worst examples of more affordable car design, following it up last week with the best design among upscale vehicles.

Now it’s time to consider the worst of the upscale.

Just like last week, we have a price range of between $100,000 and $200,000 — enough to cover a broad swath of the high-end car market. Off limits are one-off prototypes and design exercises, as well as custom hack jobs with pavé diamond steering wheels. Production cars are where it’s at today. Have a look at this pricey item:

The standard BMW X6 increased its base price throughout the 2010s, a statement even more true for its M variant. A base X6M cost $89,000 in 2010. That price escalated to $103,000 in 2015 (pictured). Right now, new ones cost $108,600 before any options.

Regular X6 models look bad enough and struggle to define their actual purpose. Is the X6 commodious for people or cargo? Is it efficient in standard I6 guise with 21 combined miles per gallon, or with the M’s V8 version for 16 combined mpgs? Is it as comfortable as a sedan would be doing the exact same duties? Can it go off-road as its X designation might suggest? The answers to all these questions is “no.” But hey, at least it’s 300 pounds lighter than a Chevrolet Suburban.

The X6 is offensive in many senses, from ocular to financial. It easily qualifies in M trim as one of the worst designs from the past decade. Hopefully it’s cancelled soon, but I’m not holding my breath.

What’s your best of the worst selection?

[Images: Bentley, BMW]

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24 Comments on “QOTD: Worst Upscale Car Design of the 2010s?...”


  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I’m going with the Mercedes-AMG GT53. In pictures, it looks rather sleek. Don’t buy that. Check one out in person, preferably in a non-gloss finish – it’s UNBELIEVABLY big, and looks like a giant suppository from the back. Yecch.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    Both generations of the Panamera for me. I’m continually amazed at the number of people who think this is a good looking car. The 911 design cues stretched into a 4 door car just never made sense to me. Looks awkward from all angles.

    Runner ups – Facelifted Tesla Model S, Acura NSX, and the Urus (started right at $200K in 2018).

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I had the Panamera in mind, but only the first generation – it looks massive and blobby. The new one, though, looks good to me – it seems lower, sharper, more focused.

      • 0 avatar
        jack4x

        I agree the first one is worse.

        But for as long as they keep trying to make the “911 with 2 extra doors wedged in” look happen I’m just not going to be a fan.

      • 0 avatar
        Featherston

        The first-gen Panamera’s proportions aren’t great; it’s visually heavy in the rear. But what both gens have going for them is that they’re clean designs. In the context of the 2010s, I’ll give a thumbs up to pretty much anything that’s not overwrought and angry.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      The Panamera is not pretty but that naturally-aspirated 4.8L they used to offer is very nice.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    This is a tough category, I mean how many “cars” are left that are over a $100K? The ones that remain are pretty good looking. You almost have to go over $200K to get into the awkward Rolls Royces

  • avatar
    Dan

    Most of the 100K+ segment isn’t supposed to look right, that would blend in and thus defeat the primary purpose of attention to the a-holes who buy them. So the Bentleys and X6s and Lambos and such are that wrong exactly by design.

    I’ll go with one that not only didn’t need to look different and terrible but by market segment absolutely shouldn’t have yet did anyway – the predator face Lexus RX.

    Edit: Read again and saw price cap. There’s no answer, up there they all look wrong.

  • avatar
    SSJeep

    BMW X6 and/or GT6 is the right answer here, bar none. Its the horribly ugly model that no one wanted and was built to address a market that simply doesn’t exist.

    Ill also nominate the Infiniti QX50 for the ridiculous hind quarters, the Jaguar F-Pace, which has none of the signature Jaguar design and looks like a generic jellybean, and the earlier Lincoln MKT which just looks like a sad tortoise.

    • 0 avatar
      jack4x

      It might be more accurate to say no one knew they wanted one and the market didn’t exist when it was introduced.

      Sales have been steady for a decade and competitors have emerged, so while enthusiasts may not care for it, there is definitely a market for the coupe style SUVs

  • avatar
    Pete Zaitcev

    X6M is a phenomenal design, and even the plebeian X6 looks very good. One of my neighbors has one in cherry brown. It replaced one of those lent-shaped Benz models, IIRC S550. The X6 deserves its popularity (as gated by its high price) and basically sells just because of its outstanding design. As mentioned, its cargo capacity is less than that of X5.

    BMW basically made the proper contemporary sedan with the X6. Except that it actually is a hatch, masquerading for a sedan. I was always wondering why exactly sedans must be so squished. The designers got that idea in 1970s and never returned to sensible proportions, unless we consider a Rolls Royce.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “BMW basically made the proper contemporary sedan with the X6.”

      You’ll have to elaborate on that.

    • 0 avatar
      1st_one

      Agreed, I think the X6 looks stunning and obviously the public agrees. Otherwise, we would not have the GLE coupe and the Q8.

      • 0 avatar
        Pete Zaitcev

        The mass market brands tried their hand at this idea too. In particular, Honda’s Crosstour was tantalizingly close to a fastback. But, they weren’t bold enough. In addition, Honda sell an excellent sedan at the same chassis, the Accord, although it’s very low to the ground as all the conventional sedans are. Because of this, they exaggerated the parts of Crosstour that made it a hatch with a trunk, instead of just raising the sedan up.

        BMW themselves had trouble taking a lesson from their own success with X2 and X4. In particular the X2 is only handsome from some angles, and it has a lower roofline than X1 on which it is based, across the whole cabin. Doing so is essentially self-defeating.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    it was still sold in 2010, so I’m going to go with the Mercedes-Benz SLR. It looks like a proboscis monkey.

  • avatar

    Acura ZDX. It says I loved the BMW Z6 but was short on the money a tiny amount, worse as Acura way over priced it.

    5 series GT- the chubby and ugly sister to the 5 series.

    Acura NSX, the end result of committee think that would make old GM blush.

  • avatar
    The_Imperialist

    Rolls-Royce Wraith & Dawn. No contest.

  • avatar
    Steverino

    Since so few others seem to be able to stick to the criteria, I’ll go with the Hyundai Excel.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    bmw 5 series gt or whatever they called their version of the Pontiac Azteck wins the prize for ugly design and overpriced garbage. Acura tried to make the hideous ZDX work with the same formula, but at least it was reliable. Same with the Honda Crosstour.

    Gen 2 executions of these ideas are much better looking AND more functional – Regal Sportback, Kia Stinger, VW Arteon…. it’s a shame that these aren’t selling.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    I feel totally bored with most ultra-high-end design, except possibly Ferrari’s 2-seaters. The cars all look the same and none of them make me want them. Let me put it this way: if I were a billionaire, my most expensive car at the moment would be an Audi S8.

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