Mercedes-Benz And BMW To Reduce Emphasis On Design Lines

Both Mercedes-Benz and BMW say they will ditch unnecessary design lines in favor of more minimalist exteriors.

For Mercedes, the latest-generation CLS and A-Class represent the start of this new approach. Rather than implementing sharp and aggressive character lines down the sides of the two models, the brand has decided to abandon them almost completely.

This is perhaps most evident with the new A-Class. Whereas its predecessor featured two converging design lines along the flanks, the latest model has neither, instead favoring a more subtle line that arcs back from the front wheel arch to the rear arch.

Speaking to Automotive News Europe, Daimler chief executive Dieter Zetsche said upcoming Mercedes models will follow this new philosophy.

“The previous A-class design had to be edgy and loud for a reason: to attract attention, a concept that has been widely adopted by the competition, so it’s time to move on. As our head of design, Gorden Wagener, puts it: ‘If you like it, take a line off. If you still like it, take another line off’.”

BMW almost acknowledges that it too must change up its design philosophy and is doing so by taking inspiration from some of its heritage models.

“There is more competition now. The world has changed. It’s a faster pace, so our design needs to change faster as well,” BMW Group design boss Adrian van Hooydonk admitted.

“We’re going to clean things up. We’re going to use fewer lines; the lines that we will have will be sharper and more precise.”

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    Took them long enough.

  • Mr Mister

    The new A-Class still has both, they just don’t converge. The lower one is through to the bumper instead of the upward kink. Especially baffled with saying it has neither and then explicitly points out one of them still being there. The upper one on the older car just split, where it drooped down starting at the front door, but continued from the rear door handle, the new one just has it flow the whole beltline.

    I’m glad to hear they’re recognizing that their excessive use of random creases has gotten ridiculously overdone. I have a bad feeling this is going to lead to going “Apple-minimalist” as they move towards electric vehicles, and that’s going to have its own issues (Mercedes’ “digital” grille already comes to mind).

  • Mynameis Taylor

    I didn’t realize BMW’s had bold styling lines.. do they?

  • krusshall

    Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery…said Audi.

  • Enter Ranting

    Hey van Hooydonk – does that mean the elimination of completely solid huge black plastic “grilles” in the bumpers?

  • TheBelltower

    I thought BMW already decided this when they replaced the E60 5 series.

  • khc

    The Asian designers, in general, could benefit from this philosophy. Remembering the recent Mazda 3 concept, though, I’d say Mazda understands.

    • eb110americana

      Reached for comment, Lexus stated, “Add a line. If you like it, add two more. If that looks terrible, take one away and add two more. Repeat until there is no more room for more lines.”


  • Autoexperte

    the BMW M8 concept hasn´t the “Hofmeister knick”, is a Volvo knick

    • Oh year, never realised. Hopefully it’s a sign of this changing design philosophy.

  • eb110americana

    Design always goes through phases, cycling back and forth. Things get very ornate at times–think late ’50s era tailfins or late ’70s chrome adornment–and then they cycle back to simple–’60s modernism or Audi of the late ’90s for example.

    I find it kind of an odd, blanket design direction though. Mercedes hasn’t really had overdone detail work lately. BMW, however, has had a lot of bad design they are hiding under silly gimmicks, so they need to get the basics right first. Their new simpler taillights formed of a single blade are a good start.

  • Richard Taylor

    Happy to see these comments being made by the big premium automakers, where design excellence should by a byword. Mercedes have been saying this for a couple of years already, but it’s a welcome surprise to hear it from BMW who have been over-adorning their vehicles for a couple of cycles. Ironically, this message was once the ethos of Audi who, in fact, are guilty of adding completely superfluous creases these days. The new A6 handles this reasonably well, but the Q2 borders on gimmickry. Anyway, push on, Mercedes… I like what you’re doing. And if the electric movement brings some ‘Apple minimalism’, then so be it. I think there’s room for it.

  • Six_Tymes

    Its about damn time

  • Jake

    It’s a cycle that happens every 10 or 15 years, sharp, round, sharp, round

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