BMW’s South Korean senior automotive design specialist Lim Seung-mo shared insights on the design for the newly released BMW 4 Series Coupe. Introducing a vertical kidney grill, the 4 Series is the first model to diverge from BMW’s trademark horizontal grill. BMW’s well-recognized horizontal grill can be traced back to 65 years in the company’s history. Although the public gave polarized reviews to the new design, the vehicle company expected the discourse over the vertical grill.
“Most people are used to BMW’s horizontal kidney grill, so it is a natural thing for them to feel awkward about the vertical grill,” said Lim Seung-mo. “Putting a twist on something so familiar—to present something new to the customer—is what I think is the power of design.” Through BMW Korea, the 4 Series Coupe designer shared information on how he added design depth to the model.
“Most BMW models in the past actually had vertical grills and I tried to maximize its presence with a twist of new proportions and technology.” Aside from the 328 sports car, the vertical grill appeared in BMW concept cars including the 328 Hommage and i4. As stated by Lim, the vertical kidney grill is the main distinguishing feature of the 4 Series. “By emphasizing the grill, which has more symbolic meaning than the BMW logo itself, we wanted to differentiate the 4 Series from the 3 with its own dramatic and creative character,” Lim continued.
Vertical Kidney Grill
According to BMW Korea, the vertical kidney grill contains the most features ever released. The company equipped the vertical kidney grill with a better capacity to support new smart automobile solutions. With larger dimensions than its horizontal counterpart, the vertical grill allows more space for cameras, parking sensors, and other technologies. At the grill’s top and bottom, the designer placed air flap controls, a technology that greatly improves aerodynamic performance. On top of these technical properties, BMW attached a radar at the bottom of the grill for active cruise control.
BMW 4 Series Korean launch
“The new 4 Coupe shows its unrivaled presence and personality through a new design language,” said BMW Group Design’s director. Earlier this February, BMW Korea conducted a launch for the 4 Series Coupe at a driving center on Yeongjong Island. Under strict social distancing measures, the participants watched the unveiling presentation in separate viewing booths with windows and screens.
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