Last month, I took delivery of the 2022 X5 xDrive45e I ordered. Phytonic Blue, M Sport, most of the goodies. Even still, the grille is larger than it needs to be, and it’s the one sore spot in an otherwise cohesive exterior design. Inside, I don’t love the trapezoidal all-LCD instrument cluster in lieu of the traditional four round dials, but everything else looks nice. And 30+ miles of electric range is impressive; I don’t use a drop of gasoline most days, and I’ve only filled up once since I got it in mid-November.
But I think it will be my last new Bimmer. BMW seems to be steadfastly throwing every bit of their design heritage out the window and is producing some pretty gaudy designs.
The goofy X2. The blocky X7. That weird typeface they’re using in all their marketing, and the transparent roundel. The controversial M3/M4, whose giant top-flaired grille looks like a skull’s nasal cavity. The weird reverse-kink of all the coupes and four-door coupes (sans the X6) have, which looks like it could be from literally any other automaker. Whatever the hell is going on with the next 7 Series, and for that matter, the current facelifted one. The iX, which looks like a rabid beaver. The fact that they seem to be letting someone’s 15-year-old child run their social media presence (“Ok Boomer? Seriously?!”).
The XM is the ultimate culmination of that, designed to shock and stir controversy on The Interwebz, and to look like a dystopian apocalypse-mobile, in the same vein as the Cybertruck.
The problem is that while the folks at BMW are losing their collective minds, their competitors aren’t. Lexus finally seems to have arrived at a cohesive point with its spindle grille. Audi continues to make designs that, while flashier, are still largely cohesive—and they do the whole polygonal thing much better. Porsche has maintained its design superiority, even though its SUVs now use that goofy longitude-transaxle Audi arrangement. Although they are bit players, Lincoln, Volvo and Genesis are proving that less is more.
The good news is that Mazda seems to be making the march toward a premium future, with the new longitude platform and I6 engine they’re planning. And all their designs since they left FoMoCo have looked absolutely gorgeous. So my next car might be a Mazda CX-90, instead of a BMW.
Also, ironically, I do have one of the “retro” Jaguar XJs, albeit the 2006 Vanden Plas and not the facelifted 2008-2009 model you show. I love the design. It has presence and purpose, and it’s one of the last truly British cars ever (even if it may share more of the internationally designed DEW98 platform than either Ford or Jaguar cares to admit). I also love the striking, sleek 2010/11+ XJ, and would definitely consider getting one of those in long-wheelbase 5.0 or 5.0 S/C spec, if I knew the timing chains had been taken care of.
BMW lost their way in the Bangle era and just never really hav3 recovered styling wise. Most of their cars just got bigger, heavier and less focused. If you wanted Focused you had to buy a M.
They are also boxed in by the similar styling they have used. Much like Cooper it has to have a specific look that keeps it from changing in the right way.
I would love to see them send out a few models for custom coach bodies like they did decades ago,