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BMW plans design revolution for next-gen models

by Andrew Ganz

The firm doesn't want its cars to look the same.

BMW wants to move away from the so-called Russian doll approach to styling that influenced its current crop of models. Looking ahead, designers will make sure that each model line has its own identity without completely breaking ties with BMW's design ethos.

"You will see here X5, 8 Series, Z4, 3 Series - I think you begin to see that while they are part of the same generation of cars, the same form language, they each have a stronger character and identity of their own, while cleaning up significantly also inside and out," Adrian van Hooydonk, BMW's design boss, told Australian website GoAuto.

BMW executives enthusiastically support the new direction. Van Hooydonk added his higher-ups wanted the new 3 Series (pictured) to evolve, and they wanted it to represent a significant leap ahead of its predecessor. Consequently, the design team could go in just about any direction it wanted as long as it remained loyal to the four-door sedan body style; making the 3 Series a minivan or a crossover wasn't an option, of course.

The new design direction will, in theory, add more degrees of separation between the 3 Series, the 4 Series and the 4 Series Gran Coupe. Both 4s are expected to break cover before the end of 2019. Van Hooydonk's comments suggest that, from a design standpoint, the 4 might not simply be a two-door 3 and the Gran Coupe might not arrive as just a fastback 3.

"And, yes, there will be a 4 Series, there will be a 4 Series Gran Coupe. And, of course, there, the task is for that to be even more elegant, even more sporty. But I think we will manage," he concluded. Time will tell whether that's accurate. We expect the two-door 4 Series will make its debut at the 2019 Geneva auto show.