BMW XM 2023 has retained the kidney grille design but will it be practical for BMW to carry the signature kidney grille design forever?
Tesla’s first car, the Model 3 had a big grille that looked similar to any ICE Engine grille. It was unnecessary but think this way: What if people suddenly stop having the requirement of their nose due to some evolutionary mutation? Won’t they start looking like Voldemort?
Tesla Model S had a big fake grille design because a sudden acceptance of a car without a grille was like accepting Voldemort’s face as the new normal.
Tesla’s next car, Tesla Model Y trimmed down the grille size. The trimming was gradual.
Tesla further started eliminating the need to place a fake grille and the further cars never had an unnecessary grille design.
Harley Davidson exited India because its sales dropped down. They dropped down because of the Indian Emission Norms. Harley’s bike’s major feature was its loud exhaust and the Supreme Court of India put regulations on it. The New Harley Davidsons had to reduce the emissions, and noise and comply with BS6 norms. When they made bikes with Indian emission norms, their sales dropped down!
Imagine if IC Engine bikes are banned forever, and electric bikes are the only way, then will Harley Davidson sustain the market with its loud exhaust USP?
An Indian electric bike startup, Revolt Motors put a fake bike exhaust noise in their bike as a gimmick feature to attract people. So apparently the noise wasn’t coming from the exhaust pipe, but rather from the speaker!
Placing a dummy feature because it is no longer needed is a terrible way to design a product, be it the fake grille, or a fake exhaust.
BMW i3 was electric and it didn’t require a grille, yet it had a gimmick grille that retained the age-old BMW DNA, but it wasn’t justified from the perspective of functional design.
The same holds true for any electric car that has a fake grille design. When it is not needed, why not chop it off from the design?
XM is hybrid powered by a 4.4-liter V8 plug-in hybrid, along with a 25.7 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, which allows the SUV to run in electric-only mode for around 50 km with a top speed of 140 km/h.
There is a legit requirement of having a grille and the Kidney grille is a functional design in XM that has done an outstanding job in updating the kidney grille’s stance over the years. However, the question remains the same for BMW: Why put a fake grill design when grills are no longer required?
The question seems to be pretty tough for BMW because the design language is pivoted on the grille, which is no longer required in the future as the future is electric!
Design should reflect usability and if something is no longer useful, it must be trimmed out of the product and the new norms must be accepted readily. BMW’s luxury is usability. driving it appeals more than driving a Honda or a Hyundai, therefore boosting the self-image and reflecting achievements, but a gimmick grill reflects the brand’s inability to pivot design.
IC Engine cars were the replacement of horses and nearly 4 generations of people have felt the connection between a horse and a horsepower object i.e cars. Now an emotional shift has started to take place and it has become a crucial task for designers to reconsider design principles and design products based on the new emotions. Grilles weren’t a fancy feature in a car, they were there for air intakes and proper ventilation in the engine bay.
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