designs seemingly polarizing the public
You do realize that that is the whole point of BMW's new designs, yes?
Pre Bangel- BMW built cars that 80% of everyone thought were nice. The problem is, so did Mercedes, Lexus and Audi. These 4 companies all strove to make cars that appealed to 80% of the population and they then competed on the brand aesthetic, technology, feature set, performance- given the size and drive of BMW/Mercedes/Audi/Lexus, it had always been a pretty close race.
Bangle comes along and the strategy is different- build cars that only 50% or even 35% of the market likes, but make that 35% absolutely LOVE the new look... so much so that they won't even consider the other cars, they totally lust after the BMW and everything else they see as bland junk designed to appease the masses.
The aesthetic landscape between the 4 brands is totally different now. BMW is building angular, avant guard, creased, chiseled sports sedans (I think the 5 is the most successful). Mercedes is building curvy, very sexy sedans (the CLS is just epic). Audi is taking the fallout; all of the people who are not too turned on by MB and BMW's new styling are going to Audi, which has gone somewhat conservative. Aesthetically, I think Lexus is now playing catchup and they are coasting along on the good tech, good value and great customer experience, but nobody is calling the new GS or IS 'sexy.'
The car market is fascinating these days...