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BMW EV Unofficial Sketch Shows Possible Life After M4 Grille

It's fair to say the BMW design team has been putting some weird proposals on the board's table lately, and the latter has been approving them without hesitation. If the Bavarians are in a bad place styling-wise, then you can definitely call it a joint effort from everyone involved.
Electric BMW sketch 4 photos
BMW EV sketchBMW EV sketchBMW EV sketch
We candidly thought the moment Chris Bangle went, the worst was behind for BMW. Now, though, after such appalling models as the new 4 Series or the iX electric SUV, ask most fans of the brand about the American designer, and they would probably welcome him back. Maybe even offer to pay part of his salary, who knows?

Carmakers have gone through dips of form before when it came to the design of their models, but the thing with BMW was that it was all so unexpected. Now it was making perfectly acceptable (if a bit unimaginative) cars, and the next moment came the knock in the teeth that is the new 4 Series. "How?" and "why?" are two very legitimate questions.

It probably wouldn't have been as bad if it didn't come at a time when both of BMW's fiercest rivals, Mercedes-Benz and Audi, were doing so well. The former is going steady after the complete revamping of its lineup a few years ago, whereas the latter seems to have found its cool groove and is churning out one sexy new model after the other.

The best exemplification is to put the BMW i4 and the Audi e-tron GT next to each other and see if there is even a contest. One seems to have landed from the future; the other appears dragged from the past. It's almost embarrassing, and yet BMW still lives in denial—like the automotive version of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Emperor's New Clothes".

Replace the i4 in this comparison with whatever this thing here designed by Yi Jae Heon would be called, and we'd be having a very different discussion. In fact, for starters, we'd be having a discussion because with the i4, not even the most hardcore Bimmer enthusiast could claim it's the better-looking car of the pair.

The author claims (and we see no reason to doubt it) this sketch is the product of only a day's work. A few hours of doodling that, if used properly, could theoretically change the fate of an entire brand and translate into savings of billions of dollars. But, like so many other things in this world, the automotive industry is a cyclical place, and now it's BMW's turn to go down and begin its struggle to climb back to the top.

If we were to point our finger at where things went wrong for the Bavarians, it would be their decision to go with shared platforms between their ICE and electrified models. While it didn't sound bad at first—people did say they wanted EVs that looked like regular cars—it turned out that different powertrain types have different styling needs, and catering for both without making at least one of them look weird is a tough task.

Well, looking at Yi Jae's sketch, we can at least get an idea of what a cool BMW i4 could have looked at if the carmaker continued in the same vein it started with its "i" range. And by "the same vein" we don't mean questionable aesthetics such as those of the i3, but rather keeping their design separate from the rest of the lineup to maximize the opportunities offered by the use of an electric powertrain.


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