Future models don't need to stand out like existing i3 and i8, according to design boss
Jim Holder
16 October 2018

The styling of BMW’s electric cars will become more toned down over time, compared to the styling showcased by the current i range, according to the firm’s design director Adrian van Hooydonk.

Reasoning that the current i3 hatchback and i8 sports car needed to stand out from the petrol-powered competition, using their design to draw attention to their innovative powertrains, van Hooydonk added that, as electric powertrains enter the mainstream, so the design of the cars will also start to confirm to more established trends.

“Electric mobility will spread through our entire vehicle range in quite a short space of time - to the point that electric or plug-in hybrid is just another option box you tick as you order the car,” said van Hooydonk.

“The fact is that BMW customers want a dynamic car, whether it is a battery-electric vehicle or not, and so there’s is increasingly less reason to make these kinds of cars look different.”

However, van Hooydonk stressed that this did not spell the end of innovatively designed BMWs. “The i brand stands for inspiration and innovation, and electrification is not the only area of our industry that marks a significant change,” he said. “It’s pretty clear that there will still be i cars, and that the designers will be able to search for different things.”

This change in approach can already be seen in the iX3 SUV, which is set to become the next addition to the i range. The concept revealed at the Beijing Motor Show used a more mainstream design that takes inspiration from the standard X3. It will be followed by the i4 saloon in 2021, which is expected to use an adapted version of the next 4 Series platform.

Dramatic styling may be saved for the Vision iNext, an X5-sized SUV due the same year. The concept showed a significantly different kidney grille from anything BMW has used before.

Our Verdict

BMW i3s

Revised hatchback sets out its range-extended electric stall in a new, sportier tune

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Comments
20

16 October 2018

What a shame.  The i3 and i8 look modern and different. As soon as you want to appeal to the mass market sheep you have to make a boring design! I'll stay an early adopter thanks.

 

 

 

16 October 2018

Tragedy is another word. Other BMW’s all look like scale models of each other without a whiff of individuality. The super light construction of i3 and i8 is really important when the batteries weigh so much, and just making BEV versions of combustion cars inevitably results in excessive weight, reducing the range for any given battery pack. BMW will come to regret this decision, as VW join Tesla in establishing families of all electric cars rather than add-on powertrains.

Shame on you, BMW

Robbo

Aussie Rob - a view from down under

16 October 2018
And thought - you kn*b.
Loved it when it first appeared mind you, but not anymore.
Can't see an issue with the i3 to be honest. That's not 'too' OTT.

16 October 2018
It was refreshing to see such an otherwise ultra-conservative brand design something interesting for a change. If the iX3's design is what we can expect to see as a replacement, that would be a massive blow. I guess this move was always inevitable, thanks to the mass market sheep (as Deputy mentioned).

16 October 2018

I doubt they're making any money on the i3 or i8. So if that didn't work for them they have to try something else.

16 October 2018

  Could be that budgets are getting cutback after Brexit....?

Peter Cavellini.

16 October 2018

Industry reports claim that the conventional looking Tesla Model 3 has the highest profit margin of any EV on sale. Assuming that the industry (not internal Tesla) analysis is correct then the accountants will likely be pushing for a similar strategy.

As for Brexit, remember that tariffs put prices up by around 2/3k. Considering that the BMW buyer profile is fleet/PCP and is seen as a premium product, sales might take a hit from the tiny cash buyer market but otherwise will be unaffected. We buy some of the most ezpeexpen cars in the world and tariffs won't change that.

16 October 2018
Peter Cavellini wrote:

  Could be that budgets are getting cutback after Brexit....?

You know it, Peter. Damn straight!

16 October 2018
jason_recliner wrote:
Peter Cavellini wrote:

  Could be that budgets are getting cutback after Brexit....?

You know it, Peter. Damn straight!

 

? He only knows drivel.

What has Brexit got to do with styling?

16 October 2018
Luap wrote:

jason_recliner wrote:
Peter Cavellini wrote:

  Could be that budgets are getting cutback after Brexit....?

You know it, Peter. Damn straight!

 

? He only knows drivel.

What has Brexit got to do with styling?

It was, like, a joke, man.

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