This is what BMW is doing wrong: Electrification and design dilemma threatening an icon? Is BMW at a crossroads?

Has BMW lost its design and development focus?

Photo: BMW

In recent years, BMW has divided the opinions of car enthusiasts and critics with its design approach. The most significant change? The vertical kidney stones first seen on the BMW 4 Series were quite controversial. Many called them too bold, while others thought it was a bold move that symbolized the future. Now it seems that BMW is not sticking with this new image with its new 5 Series model. Rather, he took a significant step back! Although recently introduced premium cars - including the 7 Series and iX - have this new design style that those of us following the brand have embraced. But is this really the way forward? Is BMW stuck in the "middle" world, moving between design and electrification? This is what BMW is doing wrong!

BMW has recently introduced a new series 5 for 2024, along with its electric twin, the i5. According to the design manager Domagoj Dukec the owners of the 5 Series do not want excessive controversy - so there was no excessive design courage with the car. The question arises whether you are the owners BMW 7 Series do they want a controversial design or would you rather see something more traditional? Do we really live in a world of specialness, which is so highly desired by buyers of premium brands?! So is this aesthetic move good or bad? We can all agree that we love the iX's futuristic design because it's bold, because it divides opinion - whether it's beautiful or really ugly. The car looks imposing in person, but still a bit awkward at times. At the same time, we are aware that it is cars from the past - those that have divided opinions - that are becoming collector's legends. Either way, the 2024 BMW 5 Series won't be a collector's legend, but rather a conservative BMW.

The situation gets even more complicated when BMW introduces electrified models that are, as they say, "amphibious", with the same design for ICE and EV versions. However, this approach, while it has some advantages - it costs the caller less - an identical platform for all drives means that BMW's batteries are about 10% smaller compared to the competition (for example, Mercedes-Benz), and at the same time the cars are structurally heavier, they offer as well as less interior space. Consider, for example, BMW i4 – one of the least spacious electric cars on the market, simply because it retains the shape it was designed for ICE cars, so the series BMW 4 Gran Coupe, which is an identical car.

If it was a specialty BMW's until now drivability and excellent position on the road, due to the increased weight and uniform platform, these advantageous characteristics are reduced. They may even lag behind upcoming models from other brands, which will have platforms adapted exclusively to electric drive technology.

Domagoj Dukec argues that electric cars should not be visually different from conventional ones. In theory, we can agree with him. However, there are a number of details that can make electric cars different – and often better – than conventional ICE vehicles by design alone. This includes, in particular, more roominess in the cabin, which is limited in some electrified BMW models because they are only adapted from models with gasoline engines.

On the other hand, it is Mercedes-Benz took a different approach and developed two relatively independent vehicle lines – the EQ line for its electric models and its traditional line for ICE models. Above all, he highlighted the most important models in both worlds. Thus, he introduced a completely different flagship model – the S and EQS series. He did the same with the competition of the BMW 5 Series, the E-Class, where the electrified version of the EQE is a completely different story. This better expresses that he is ready for the future.

BMW's photo
BMW i7 vs. BMW i5

BMW still combines electric, hybrid and conventional cars on the same platform. Is this a step backwards? This is what BMW is doing wrong!

When we watch BMW 5 series for 2024, we must see this form in the light of the future. It is necessary to think about the cruel fact that this car will be on the roads at least until the year 2032. During this time, a wave of fully electric vehicles from Asia, which are designed to be purely electric from the very beginning. These cars will undoubtedly have many advantages. And I can't help but believe it will be this one BMW in just a few years it worked uncompetitively outdated, mainly because it remains so strongly in the current generation and does not offer essential or revolutionary changes.

But, is it BMW 5 Series, introduced recently, really ready for this future? To be honest, this car seems to stay very much in the present. Comparing the silhouette of the current and new generation only confirms this. Also, the front part is the same as a few years old BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe. It's not so much a question of aesthetics or design as a question of practicality and functionality. After all, in the future, more and more people will be looking for electric cars that not only look futuristic, but also offer concrete advantages, such as more passenger space.

Photo: BMW
BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe vs BMW 5 Series – 2024

BMW is still one of the leaders in the industry, and we have no doubt that they are capable of innovation. This is proven in the field of drives, as they are extremely efficient based on considerable experience gained in the field of electrification. But is their current design strategy really one that will allow them to stay on top? This is a question we will continue to ask. And regardless of what we think of Dukec's statements, it's clear that this is an issue that will continue to resonate in the industry.

At every technological revolution it happens that certain brands sink and remain in the past. Maybe this is happening too BMW?! Is this what BMW is doing wrong?!

As the automotive industry moves towards electrification, one thing is certain – we need vehicles that are ready for the future, not the past or the present. For now, it seems so BMW it may take a little more courage to really make progress. At the same time, it needs a change in corporate culture. And not only in the design, but also in the design and functionality of their electric vehicles. Only in this way will they be able to compete with the new players on the market and stay on top in the coming electric era.

Photo: BMW
BMW previous generation G31 vs. 2024 BMW 5 Series

In this case, the competition does not only come from of Germany, but also with innovations and interesting stories from the East. On BMW is to respond to these challenges and not be afraid to try new approaches in design and technology. A badge on the nose will not be enough to transition into the new era. Moreover, it will also be necessary to show something. And above all, not only what is hidden from view.

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