BMW Concept 4: Chris Bangle Come Back, All Is Forgiven

BMW has previewed the design of the forthcoming M3 and M4 with the launch of the BMW Concept 4 at the Frankfurt Motor Show. It shows that the new 4-Series will be a radical departure from its predecessor and have a face dominated by a kidney grille so big it could swallow two children. If only Chris Bangle (who, at the time, got his fair share of flak) was still designing Bimmers…

The German car manufacturer’s press release appropriately starts out by discussing that grille. According to BMW, “the vertically oriented grille fits seamlessly into both the proportions of the front end and BMW’s illustrious past” and it evokes classics such as the 328 and 3.0 CSi.

“The kidney grille has always been a signature feature of BMW cars,” added head of BMW Design Domagoj Dukec. “The BMW Concept 4 presents a confident and classy take on this iconic feature. At the same time, the BMW Concept 4 offers a look ahead to the expressive face of the 4 Series range.”

Also Read: New BMW M3 And M4 To Be Unveiled In Mid-2020

Looking past the vertical kidney grille are slim and aggressive laser headlights as well as huge air intakes to gulp down air. The Concept 4 also features particularly expressive sides and slim, two-section mirrors that are partly finished in polished aluminium, as well as 21-inch wheels with a five-spoke pattern.

As controversial as the design of the front may be, we suspect people will be more accommodating for the rear fascia. The most noteworthy feature out back are the flowing LED taillights, an angular bumper with a gloss black diffuser and large, rectangular-shaped chrome tailpipes.

BMW hasn’t announced any tech details for the Concept 4, but they’re not particularly important as the show car has simply been meant to give us a taste of what the new 4-Series will look like. We already have confirmation that the new M4, as well as the M3, will utilize the same updated 3.0-liter twin-turbo inline-six as the new X3 M and X4 M pumping out 473 HP in standard form and 503 HP in Competition spec.

more photos...

Live image credits: Stefan Baldauf / Guido ten Brink for Carscoops

  • Adam

    He forgot to say… “inspiration is taken from Acura… and a beaver!”

    What was BMW thinking? This looks ridiculous ?

    • Knotmyrealname

      They’re thinking China. That’s all.

  • Stephen Baxter

    Yikes

  • donald seymour

    I like it! Do it BMW. Also, I see a lot of Infiniti coupe in this.

    • Toronado_II

      Infiniti and maybe the new Acura Type-S.

    • Nordschleife

      I see that as well.

  • Jawohl

    Omg. Looks like a Kia grille and I’m sure BMW don’t want to give that impression

  • Matt

    Do we really need such opinionated headlines on a debut model? Brad you don’t speak for everyone.

  • Knotmyrealname

    It’s telling that a vast majority of the pictures are either rear, rear three quarter or side. Obviously they are not too proud of the front.

    • Matt

      They wouldn’t get the entire senior management to sign-off a design they weren’t ‘proud of’.

      • Knotmyrealname

        If the accountants and marketing are OK, they do their best to convince senior management. It’s tasteless, and geared for Asian markets. You can’t see that?

        • Matt

          I agree that it’s aimed at China, no doubt about that. However from most angles I think it works – I’ll wait for the slightly less glitzy production car to make s final decision. I will say that BMW was running the risk of becoming a bit stale with their same-old grille and interior design.

  • casho2015

    Infiniti “hold my beer”

  • bazhvn

    Unironically I think the front is the strongest on this car. I kinda dig the vertical kidney grill.

    The rest looks like a mess fused together. And those wheels are comically big.

    • donald seymour

      You and me both.

  • Oh my god! That’s hideous!

  • Antonio

    This is a completely new and fresh breath from bmw. Do it. I wasn’t so excited with a bmw since the I8 and the 6 series concept

    • donald seymour

      Thank you! I get tired of the same old contrived feces.

  • Lucas Mattos Azevedo

    The grill is fine. Just could be a bit smaller. Like 90% smaller.

    • Antonio

      I would do it also.

    • Bash

      Exactly. except that because of the latter thing you mentioned, the former its not fine, not fine at all.

  • Matteo Tommasi

    The E60 was beautiful, standard and M version. Now we have THIS.

  • Przemix

    just put the license plate on that kidney and it now looks not that bad

  • Mike Gonzalez

    That grill…. speechless. From the side looks like an Audi A5 and the back is sexy

  • Tinky-Winky

    ffs BMW, stop flirting with the the rabbit teeth design. Hooydonk has been for too long at BMW.

  • jfalckt

    Gees BMW have lost the plot

  • Baeyoung ❂

    German muscle

  • exeptor

    The worst thing about this grille is that it is a fake one. This mostly makes me angry, while the size and overall design might be accepted as not so bad experiment for BMW.

    • IT’S IRONIC THAT MOST GRILLES THESE DAYS ARE CLOSED OFF, EVEN TASTEFUL ONES.

  • cartube

    I actually think it’s self humor.

  • nik

    I can’t believe this omg

  • Bikie Wright
  • SD38439

    BMW just…. don’t understand car design anymore.

  • Bash

    They just don’t understand the concept of (A dominant Grille) they have to stop, They have to stop right now. on the other hand, how much more big it can get?!

    • Belthronding

      are you challenging them or what? lol

      • Bash

        LOL Maybe, there got to be a limit where they have to stop this madness and start going back to the rational side. It is also that sometimes I think designers simply don’t know what do to a surface or a plane, so they just throw a grille and call it a day!

  • disqus_83g6mJmr6l

    i think it’s quite cool & aggressive & not as offensive or over sized as Audi/Lexus/Merc/Hyundai/Aston/Rolls ……………………..

    • Arct1c

      That is absolutely bull.

  • Frase

    Okay, they’re just taking the mick with this now. For all his design’s issues, at least Bangle didn’t feel the need to make anything this… obnoxious. It’s like BMW now believe they can do whatever they want with design as long as it’s “The ultimate driving machine”. This is just a joke.

  • wintergraan

    I really like it 🙂

  • Ermal Morina

    are they really taking the piss now, what the actual f☆☆k bmw. It looks obnoxious. jeez

  • Ary Wisesa

    The grille has successfully destroyed the design of an otherwise very nice coupe. I sincerely hope the grille won’t make it into production. Just when people like to insult Lexus’ spindle grille (which sometimes can actually look artistic, especially on the LC), BMW came up with even more disgusting one.

  • Romain AA

    wtf BMW. If those 3 prefigure your future, then shareholders better start worrying now

  • xenjitsu

    It is quite a monumental shift, but I like it. it is definitely worth waiting for the final production version of the vehicle.

  • WalthamDan

    3/4 of this concept are stunning. And then you look at the front.

  • roy

    The problem with BMW grille, especially this is not the size but rather the shape ( more specifically the hamster teeth look )

  • Vince

    oh my gosh this front is so ugly …

  • boo boo the fool

    I personally like the grill

    • the grille?

    • Nick G

      User name checks out.

      • Nordschleife

        lol that’s mean.

  • izzey04

    i think that grille also serve another purpose…detachable when you need a barbecue grille….

  • The Grille is too small, there’s some space around it.

  • DetrinKD

    My honest first thought is that they are trolling all of the big grille memes… I actually don’t mind the grilles on the 7 and X7, but this… It’s like I can’t even fully process the design. The lighting is horrible in all of the pictures for one and you can’t really see whats going on around the grille. But overall it just looks too narrow and not well integrated at all. So yeah… I’m going with this was an extremely expensive troll project. I hope.

  • Stephen G

    “The Beaver” grille is a marketing ploy to get people talking. The body on this concept is too nice for BMW to produce. Just like they botched the 8 Series Concept to production models they will do the same with the 4 Series. Sad.

    • Ed

      It could be worse. Look what Toyota is doing to themselves. Worse, the reason seems to be getting their brands ready of hydrogen fuels….which is not going to happen! https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/71fffa444207fadfc0ddf1e2a7233bdddd5611cf843185f37b0e7fcaecbc292d.jpg

      • Arct1c

        Oh shut up. Yes, the Avalon grille is bad, but the Lexus grille is actually very nice. That LC is sexy. The new ES is gorgeous. Get over yourself.

        • Ed

          Among locals, the look is very polarizing. I estimate about a third of folks like it- “like Detroit in the 50s!” – but more are amazed at the huge size. Hydrogen does indeed appear to be the driver for these designs, since 5-6 heat exchangers are needed.

          I will put you down as a “like it!”

        • jh

          no it’s not. it’s quiet cheap looking, just some random form without any relation to real life. you get blinded by all the bling surrounding that hideous front end. this car is drop-dead ugly. as was the lfa, even if it had one of the greatest engines, ever.

          • Arct1c

            HAHAHAHHA you’re the dumbest person I have ever seen on this site. The LFA has been loved by many people and so has the LC. It’s not quite* cheap looking (not quiet – learn how to type, idiot). Lexus has, and always will, use the finest materials. That’s why their cars are so reliable. F’ing child.

    • paulgdeaton

      So the ugly grille will probably go into production, but the beautiful body will be too expensive to produce… and we will get an even worse-looking production model.

  • Marc Gruben

    Looks like a gopher on bath salts.

  • Puddingpopper

    Why oh why does the inext horse caca exist, stop the big grilles, its over, its been over

  • Nastinupe1911

    They have to be trolling us at this point. There’s no way on God’s green earth that this is styling direction that they intend to go.

  • Marc Gruben

    It’s funny how BMW designers make names for themselves. Up til now, every screwed-up BMW design had been “bangled”.

    Going forward, these atrocious grilles should forever be known as “hooydonks”. Which sounds as bad as it looks.

  • PK

    seriously bmw, why are you doing this to yourself???? -_-

  • Sukhoi31m3

    If a schnoz like that makes it into production, every current 4 series will enter the “good old days of BMW “ classic (cult) status.

  • blunt-o

    Beautiful design. Hyper-Aggressive front. Obliterates the competition. Everyone else will follow, just as they followed Bangle’s “ugly” design.

  • TheBelltower

    I guess this is the kind of crazy stuff that China wants? I’ll have whatever they’re smoking.

  • Karl

    A pity I cannot unsee this monstrosity..

  • TB

    Ekk! I get it..but they need to dial back that nose just a bit!

  • DMJ

    There is still time to save BMW from this [email protected] designer. I hope the administration board is awake, because this isn´t Bangle. Bangle was weird but coherent, he had a design language. This is just a modern BMW Coupe with a stupid grill.

    • paulgdeaton

      This. The front end is totally incoherent, and totally detached from the rest of the car. Hell, that grill is even in conflict with the shape, size, and angle of the headlights.

      In short, the grill looks like it was tacked on as an afterthought, like a drag queen who would put on a bright red, oversized bra over a dress, to make gargantuan boobs a part of her act.

      And that drag queens act would still have more taste than this monstrosity.

  • Ed

    1. Load shotgun
    2. Aim at foot
    3. Pull trigger.

    Is there no adult in the room?

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c65230d7d88cf59bb847827408b30692a7b063208c5150dacb619ff032b68bfe.jpg

    • no25

      Another god awful collage. You’re really trying, though. That’s what matters. Right, sweetie?

      Also, it’s a grille. Not a grill.

    • MarketAndChurch

      Kia is living in BMW’s head rent free and BMW feels the way to get back into things is by showing the world that they are the design innovators of the future, and not some mass-market brand from Korea.

  • HaltestelleLuitpolthafen

    This is grotesque.

    BMW has lost their way.

  • Some ol’ bloke

    Nice

    • Andrewthecarguy

      That’s what I am saying.
      The design is gorgeous and assertive.

  • MJ Coffey

    Disgusting. BMW has lost its way. They need to fire that ‘Designer’ asap.

    • GoofyGotKilos

      Seriously, first the Lexus looking new 3 and now this mutant rabbit monstrocity

  • Nordschleife

    Now I am normally support divisive design (and I support this) but that front end is a bit much for me. I don’t even mind the larger grills on the 7-Series and the X7 but this is ludicrous. The rear end though……….I love that. Side profile…..love that. The grille looks better in the press photo’s and renderings verses the auto show stand. I just know in production guise it’s not going to look as good. (I am only referring to the rear end).

  • Giziclown

    From the front, it rather looks like a cow than a shark.
    They wanted to make it tough, but finally, it has become really funny.
    Let’s put horns on it!!!

    • paulgdeaton

      Horns? I was thinking about a cow-catcher… but Lexus already did that…

  • ZYGIUS

    Is Joker mobile from Gotham, right?

  • TrevP

    Those are no longer kidney grills. They are more like buck tooth grills

    • paulgdeaton

      Maybe they have plans to steal the hamsters from Kia and use them as their mascot.

      • Chandler Newman

        I don’t think the hamsters will sign off on this either. Maybe they should hire some beavers, then they can become Beavarian Motor Works…

  • kenny the pig

    Hello Pontiac Solstice, I missed you…

  • Mr. EP9

    Does anyone need to beach their eyes after seeing this? I have plenty to spare.

  • fgclolz

    I like the car except for that stupid grill. I’ll be keeping my E92 looks like.

  • Steve Cohn

    “…a confident and classy take on this iconic feature. …”
    Uh, something is wrong here.
    Was hard liquor served at the final BMW staff meeting to approve the 4 series?
    When these VPs sober up I think there’ll be an unemployed BMW designer walking the streets of Munich.

  • Van Hammer

    Kidney grille? This car is wearing a pair of balls, minus the phallus, on its face.

  • Ben

    Are they serious?

  • Ben

    Take a poll | Which design phase was more awkward:

    Bangle Butt? or Enlarged Kidney?

    • Javier Bl

      Bangle butt always

      • db

        Yes.
        I’m sorry but they are both atrocious.

    • MAYBE BANGLE IS SECRETLY DESIGNING BMW’S NOW. BACK IN THE DAY HE PUT A BIG REAR AND A DRAB FRONT END ON HIS CARS. HE’S BACK BALANCING THINGS OUT WITH THE PIG’S NOSE FRONT END.

    • MarketAndChurch

      Until they find a way to make it work, the enlarged Kidney. The animating factors behind the enlarged Kidney seem more like a forced evolution based purely on the values of being new and different, rather than cohesive with everything around the grille and beauty.

  • Aeromann

    I see Jag XE…

    Doesn’t look bad but this grille is little too much. ?

  • eb110americana

    Oink, oink! My little red piggy!

    But still, this is leagues better than Bangle’s 7 Series:
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/4c88e44a28137cb6609fd070b4267d4106b7fd793441ab8c95e4ed36f32939fb.jpg

    • MarketAndChurch

      You gotta judge cars with perspective of the times in which they were introduced. Bangle’s 7-series was not even that bad back then and influenced a lot of cars that would follow for over a decade.

      • eb110americana

        I hope you will appreciate the irony in the fact that when it debuted and I opined on car forums, that it was one of the ugliest Bimmers I’d ever seen, I was told that it was ahead of its time and that over time I would see the brilliance of his vision. And I wasn’t alone. “Bangle” and “the Bangle-butt” became synonymous with ugly designs for many people. Well, here we are 18 years later, and there has not been a moment in between 2001 and now when I thought that this wasn’t one of the most hideous abortions to ever wear the BMW roundel. It has terrible proportions, it’s overly bloated surfaces make it look like a beached whale, and both a face and rear end that look like someone accidentally installed components upside down, or lost a bet. And if any of that influenced other cars to look similar, well, I don’t think you’ll be surprised to learn that I don’t find that to be an upside. But if you like them, I am sure you can get one for dirt cheap these days.

        • MarketAndChurch

          Fair enough if you didn’t like it then and have hated it till now, that’s a matter of taste. I neither liked nor hated it but I just found the overwhelming hate it received at the time, or even the lasting bad aftertaste it has had until now to be a bit overwhelming. Since then, I’ve been sort of put in the position of not necessarily defending the proportions or design execution that we saw in the 2000’s, but defending the template it could some day become, being a design student and what not. I gambled on its potential, and I think modern cars are now better for it.

          I was just pointing out that modern rear ends over the past 20 or so years have used Bangle’s proportions as a template, and have evolved and refined it to the great designs we have today.

          • Jh

            No, no, no…. this is not a question of taste. If it was: try to make the fiat mutipla’s design subjective. That thing is just a mess. As was bangle’s 7 series.

    • Enter Ranting

      Chris Bangle is a no-talent-having hack.

  • Bob

    There it is! My last f… for BMW.

    BMW is now dead to me.

  • designer_dick

    We could be charitable and describe the looks as challenging, but let’s be honest, this looks absolutely, positively f*cking atrocious!

  • botornot387

    bmw to lexus: whatever you can do, we can do bigger. Somehow this comes off looking very lexus RC and infiniti q60ish. The back end is really nice. The headlights are a nice transition from the current gen, however that grill is interesting to say the least. It is done better than the lexus spindle grill, but….

    • no25

      Lexus’s grille is far better than this atrocious pig nose.

      • Chandler Newman

        Nobody:
        Absolutely no one:
        BMW: Any grille you can do we can do bigger. We can do any grille bigger than you

      • botornot387

        i mean, depends on the model. and if its F Sport, but that’s really not saying much!

  • db
  • Arct1c

    “lady -sir” Wow, you’re such a tough guy behind a keyboard, huh? Do mommy and daddy not let you say “shut up” and “crap” so you have to *beep* it out when you type? You’re a HUGE idiot. Lexus has outsold BMW and Mercedes for the second month and row. The grille is obviously liked. Go be a 12 year old child on disney’s website.

  • no25

    [email protected]” lol. There needs to be an age limit for this site because clearly this little girl’s mom and dad told her “make sure you don’t use any bad words, honey.”

  • getoffme

    Everybody needs to chill though. The real one that is coming out in a few months does not look like that. Yes I have seen it.

    • no25

      “Yes I have seen it” HAHAHHA I love these people that come on the site and say they’ve seen, but won’t post any pictures or proof. This is like the guy who said he’s seen the new Escalade and that the interior is absolutely stunning, but spy shots suggest otherwise. Get out of here, you joke.

    • MarketAndChurch

      I’m holding out, because I think this design has potential.

  • BMW USE TO BE ONE OF MY FAVORITE COMPANIES BUT THIS ISN’T FUNNY ANY MORE. SAD THING IS, IT ISN’T EVEN UNIQUE.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ac424ded4c3d76081539d7ae61614dee1804069f5e39ab2a4fba7db8f4ca46bd.jpg

    • William rowe

      lol I will take the BMW over that nissan any day of the week

  • dumblikeyou2

    Photo #89 Explains a lot.

  • atomicbri

    I am going to go way, waaaaaay out on a limb here and say, is BMW trying to draw inspiration from their pre 1950’s cars when they all had really long kidney grilles? Probably not, but I am trying…. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a68e1664807904f279abd8582dd7276b8b79431e6f102d73f925b818dd6fc080.jpg

    • William rowe

      I see what your saying and both look awful lol

  • Joe E

    Ghastly. Clicking through the gallery is like a bad fever dream.

  • MarketAndChurch

    I don’t have a problem with the grille theme of oversizing the kidney-bean vertically and connecting them together as we’ve seen on many BMW production and concept cars over the past few years. The execution is not pleasant and too garish. But that can be excusable if the rest of the front end is designed around it.

    What is not excusable is the attempt to merge this new theme with the existing BMW design themes, especially regarding the side vents on the lower bumper and the edgy design around the lower bumper that is common on current and past BMW’s. The concept cars on either side of the Concept 4 show what a clean template would look like, and that is what this grille and and headlights need.

    I get it. They want to show design continuity, and show their DNA evolving in a new direction but merging two design languages that don’t fit together does neither design language justice or favors.

  • Thetruthísntalwayspopular

    The sketches are BEAUTIFUL but the execution doesn’t work on the real thing. The grille of the real vehicle looks too stiff an stupid whereas in the sketches it seems softer and not as harsh looking.

  • William rowe

    it is a concept, maybe BMW will make the grill a few inches smaller, if so, their have a hit and if a production version of that car hits a possum, your have totaled BMW lol

  • Jayson O’Hara

    Trying to see the positives… i think its the horrible chrome surround, maybe if it was just 2 black ‘holes’ it would work and look more like the renders? There will definitely be some modifications (toning down) over the coming months. Good luck with that!

  • Aeromann

    ?

  • Kash

    Now I cain’t wait to see the new 4 series

  • ctk4949

    DISGUSTINGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG. Could have just made a smaller version of the 8 series.

  • Arct1c

    You can’t write ACTUAL cuss words on here, idiot.

  • Arct1c

    The LFA is already considered a classic in many fields. Why are you such a troll? lmao. Such a damn child. I cannot deal with how idiotic you are.

  • Hi I am Zako

    Not very often I feel like the rear is way better than the front. Srsly? wtf is that grille.

  • Zcat

    Guys, do not stand in front of this car. Most Beavers like wood.

  • Enter Ranting

    BMW unveils a Camaro with cartoon beaver teeth.

  • Arct1c

    HAHAHA Yes, it is. That’s why many people talk about it.
    My god you are the dumbest person to ever exist. Go tell mommy and daddy it’s time for a new elementary school because the one you currently attend isn’t doing much.

  • Six Thousand Times

    Yikes!

  • We are living in a time where everything needs to be branded and can be seen from mile away… All of the premium car makers are making their signature design elements larger and larger, but it so just happens that enlarging BMW grille makes it grotesque.

    That being sad, I think that this grille will make it onto production vehicles… The rest of the design (of the coupe), which is very good, not likely, but the grille, surely.

  • DaveH79
    • Bill Nguyen

      Well, you can’t unsee that!

  • KidRed

    Looks like a beaver tripping on LSD.

  • Scherpereel Clement

    Not that bad, it’s still a smaller grill then Audi’s or Lexus’ ! I would prefere thinner kidney but the gobal style make it look pretty good IMO

  • lagann

    Looks like an evil character from the Pixar movie Cars.

    Lots of cars look ugly in pictures but in person look good. This thing does look like it’ll have a really big precence in your rear view mirror though. I’ll reserve judgment once I see it in person.

  • Sjaak

    why is the grill that small ?

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