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      03-01-2012, 10:20 AM   #1
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BMW design icons.

01.03.2012


Over the years, the styling of BMW cars has produced a host of design icons which have become synonymous with the brand as a whole and, in some cases, signature features of individual models. Collectively, these iconic elements have helped shape the identity of the brand and its cars.

Front end.

A kidney-shaped radiator grille and twin circular headlights sawn off along the top define the front end of a BMW. These distinctive facial features ensure that a BMW is clearly identifiable even without the brand logo on display.

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Kidneys.

The two-part, rounded-off radiator grille known as the kidney grille was established as an iconic feature of BMW cars in 1933. This design element has been a fixture across all the brands model series since 1935.

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Focused look.

The brands hallmark twin circular headlights are sawn off across the top, creating the distinctive focused look over the road ahead.

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Proportions.

The proportions of BMW cars have become a hallmark feature. A long wheelbase, long, sweeping bonnet and set-back passenger compartment generate a feeling of dynamic urgency before the car so much as turns a wheel. In other words, a BMW needs only a single glance to tell you what its all about: Sheer Driving Pleasure.

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Hofmeister kink.

The Hofmeister kink the counter-sweep at the foot of a BMWs C-pillar as it meets the body was named after Wilhelm Hofmeister. The former BMW Body Design Director first introduced this styling cue to BMW cars in 1961. The Hofmeister kink emphasises the cars dynamic, forward-surging stance and hints at BMWs traditional rear-wheel drive.

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Window design.

The side windows of a BMW, with their chrome-coloured surrounds and black B-pillars, recall the styling of classic coups. Their long, low-profile design enhances the dynamic appearance of a BMW.

Swage line.

The customary swage line of a BMW divides the cars body and is a defining element of its side view. The designers use the swage line to enhance or dilute the wedge shape of the brands various models. The cars door handles are integrated into the swage line, allowing its lavishly contoured surfaces to be showcased even more effectively.

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L-shaped rear lights.

The L-shaped design of the rear lights underlines the width of the rear end, which in turn visually enhances the cars presence and stability.

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Driver-focused design.

Important operating and control elements in the instrument panel
and centre console are angled visibly towards the driver, putting them directly within reach.

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      03-01-2012, 10:32 AM   #2
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It's a great looking car
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      03-01-2012, 12:16 PM   #3
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Most of those design cues have become co-opted by auto designers world-wide, to such a degree that they have become standard, universally used features. Other companies have struggled to compete, usually by establishing their own version of a design idea (angel eyes come to mind: now ever car has to have a lighting accent). BMW has at times stretched their design ideas in an effort to differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack, sometimes to good effect, sometimes not. In my book the good include E30, E46 M3, E36/8 M coupe, E92; the not so good include E65, E63.
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      03-01-2012, 12:28 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eric@helix
Most of those design cues have become co-opted by auto designers world-wide, to such a degree that they have become standard, universally used features. Other companies have struggled to compete, usually by establishing their own version of a design idea (angel eyes come to mind: now ever car has to have a lighting accent). BMW has at times stretched their design ideas in an effort to differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack, sometimes to good effect, sometimes not. In my book the good include E30, E46 M3, E36/8 M coupe, E92; the not so good include E65, E63.
Good post! And totally agree.
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      03-01-2012, 12:35 PM   #5
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yes to all the above...

BMW have been staying true to all the above familiar lines,
and by doing so, have practically appropriated them for themselves...

their signature traits...

many other car designers have tried to incorporate some of them in their cars... but usually they dont last long without stepping on bmw car design...
(which other brand would want to make their car look like a bmw? maybe all of them, but realistically they cannot... because BMW has appropriated them... JUst like no one would ever design a car that look like a porsche)

Long live BMW and i hope they continue to keep those distinctive family trait...

no order car brand stay true to so many details on all the car models and especially throughout several generation!!


Audi is trying to pull the same thing for the last decade...
Honda is failing miserably!
Lexus is attempting now ....
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      03-01-2012, 12:38 PM   #6
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Not for long it wont!!! BMW front-wheel drive FTL


"Hofmeister kink.

The Hofmeister kink – the counter-sweep at the foot of a BMW’s C-pillar as it meets the body – was named after Wilhelm Hofmeister. The former BMW Body Design Director first introduced this styling cue to BMW cars in 1961. The Hofmeister kink emphasises the car’s dynamic, forward-surging stance and hints at BMW’s traditional rear-wheel drive."
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      03-01-2012, 02:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMWI6 View Post
"Hofmeister kink.

The Hofmeister kink the counter-sweep at the foot of a BMWs C-pillar as it meets the body was named after Wilhelm Hofmeister. The former BMW Body Design Director first introduced this styling cue to BMW cars in 1961. The Hofmeister kink emphasises the cars dynamic, forward-surging stance and hints at BMWs traditional rear-wheel drive."
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      03-01-2012, 04:51 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James T. Kirk View Post
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      03-01-2012, 06:27 PM   #9
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      03-01-2012, 07:33 PM   #10
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Icons that we love, thanks for this post!
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      03-01-2012, 08:04 PM   #11
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love the word "hoffmeister kink"
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      03-01-2012, 10:39 PM   #12
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If I start a band, it will be called "The Hofmeister Kink".
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      03-01-2012, 11:03 PM   #13
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Great article! I have been waiting for this kinda article in years! I am always interested in BMW design language.
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      03-02-2012, 09:51 AM   #14
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Cool article! Very interesting
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      03-02-2012, 08:29 PM   #15
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Very nice Its looking good
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      03-02-2012, 09:57 PM   #16
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      03-03-2012, 08:26 AM   #17
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OUUUUUUU
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      03-04-2012, 06:52 AM   #18
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Nice overview of the design elements BMW uses to stand out of the crowd.
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