Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year, you’re fully aware of the criticism being hurled at the new BMW M3 and M4, seemingly by the truckloads, for their new grille design. Lump the frumpy 4 Series Coupe in there as well, as its toothy new grille is potentially ever more egregious. Then there’s the BMW i4 and BMW iX, both with their own interpretations of the new design, both also heavily criticized. So that got me thinking: does BMW actually make any good looking kidney grilles anymore?
I went on BMW’s model configurator and took a look at each product currently on sale and really looked at their grilles. After really taking a good look at each one back-to-back-to-back-t0-back, I actually realized that there are a few kidney grille designs that are still very pretty. So let’s take a look at the best of them, shall we?
Fourth Place — BMW Z4
This new BMW Z4 is a grossly underappreciated sports car. It’s design isn’t exactly beautiful and does take some getting used to. However, the best part of its design is its odd kidney grille. It’s huge but it’s wide, which gives it a BMW Z8/507 style look (not that the Z4 is anywhere near as pretty as those cars). It’s sharp and aggressive, while also quite delicate, and it really works quite well with the more upright headlights. The Z4 is an imperfect car but it has unique kidney grilles in a good way.
Third Place — BMW 5 Series
One of BMW’s most underrated lookers is the G30-gen 5 Series. It’s a bit stale after all these years but it’s still a handsome thing. After its LCI facelift, the 5er gained new grilles and new headlights, both which work incredibly well together. The 5 Series’ grilles are a bit plain but their sophisticated, simple rectangular shape allows them to give the car class. After seeing the monstrous Chuck E. Cheese teeth of the 4 Series/M3/M4, we’re good with looking a bit plain.
Second Place — BMW M2 Competition
Not only is the BMW M2 Competition the best driving BMW (if you count the M2 CS as part of its family), it’s one of the best looking and its face is part of that. Admittedly, the M2’s butch fender flares and bulldog muscularity are what really make it so good looking, but the grille certainly helps. The M2 specifically, as well, as its grille is different from the standard 2 Series’. The M2 Competition gets a joined kidney grille design, with sharp points that flank the top of them, tapering down. They’re sportier and more exciting than the standard car’s and give it a unique look.
First Place — BMW 3 Series
The BMW 3 Series’ grille design is the perfect example of less-is-more. It’s smooth, its corners are rounded off, and its size is perfectly in proportion with its headlights, its front end, and the rest of the car’s design elements. If there’s a single grille in BMW’s current lineup that reminds me of the glory designs off BMW’s simplistic designs, it’s the new G20 3 Series grille. It’s one of the reasons why it’s such a bummer that BMW replaced it with the M3’s grille, as an M3 with the standard 3 Series’ grille would have been stunning. If you don’t believe me, check out the ALPINA B3, which makes the M3 look like a pre-evolved caveman.