Future models don't need to stand out like existing i3 and i8, according to design boss

The styling of BMW’s electric cars will become more toned down over time, compared to the styling showcased by the current i range, according to the firm’s design director Adrian van Hooydonk.

Reasoning that the current i3 hatchback and i8 sports car needed to stand out from the petrol-powered competition, using their design to draw attention to their innovative powertrains, van Hooydonk added that, as electric powertrains enter the mainstream, so the design of the cars will also start to confirm to more established trends.

“Electric mobility will spread through our entire vehicle range in quite a short space of time – to the point that electric or plug-in hybrid is just another option box you tick as you order the car,” said van Hooydonk.

“The fact is that BMW customers want a dynamic car, whether it is a battery-electric vehicle or not, and so there’s is increasingly less reason to make these kinds of cars look different.”

However, van Hooydonk stressed that this did not spell the end of innovatively designed BMWs. “The i brand stands for inspiration and innovation, and electrification is not the only area of our industry that marks a significant change,” he said. “It’s pretty clear that there will still be i cars, and that the designers will be able to search for different things.”

This change in approach can already be seen in the iX3 SUV, which is set to become the next addition to the i range. The concept revealed at the Beijing Motor Show used a more mainstream design that takes inspiration from the standard X3. It will be followed by the i4 saloon in 2021, which is expected to use an adapted version of the next 4 Series platform.

Dramatic styling may be saved for the Vision iNext, an X5-sized SUV due the same year. The concept showed a significantly different kidney grille from anything BMW has used before.

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