The Controversial 2022 BMW M3 Gets a Chip Foose Redesign: BMW Definitely Screwed Up

  • Chip Foose un-pigs the nose of the 2022 BMW M3
  • Part of BMW’s design language was lost with the current M3
  • Foose says BMW abandoned who they were with the new M3

By now, you’re surely well-versed in the controversy surrounding the current generation of BMW sports cars. Put simply, people think BMW butchered the kidney grille. Now, legendary automotive designer Chip Foose takes a crack at fixing the ever-controversial 2022 BMW M3’s kidney grille. The end result certainly means that BMW dropped the ball on the styling of the legendary sports car.

Automotive design legend Chip Foose
Chip Foose is an automotive legend | Mitchell Burke via Getty Images

Chip Foose thinks BMW ruined the M3

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Chip’s biggest complaint with the current BMW kidney grille is one you’ve likely heard before: the kidney grille was an iconic, easily recognizable shape. The 2021 (and 2022) BMW M3 ruined it by conforming to the automotive trend of larger and larger grilles. Chip says this current front fascia isn’t “recognizable as the BMW kidney bean (grille).” Of course, the best example of this trend is Audi, who started the trend with sports sedans like the Audi S4 back in the early 2010s.

As a brief aside, it’s important to note that Chip Foose isn’t a man constrained by physics. His drawing has no regulations to meet, and the looks don’t affect the performance of the 2022 BMW M3 the way the real kidney grille does. Chip keeps the shape of the new M car’s font end, but adds a bumper to split the grille in half, much like the previous M3 did. Hell, nearly all of them, from the E46 BMW M3 to the previous M3 do the same thing. Kidney grille above, intakes down low.

Why is the M3 grille so big?

A diagram showing the kidney grille of the 2022 BMW M3
BMW says the new M3 needed more cooling | BMW

Chip Foose’s redesign of the 2022 BMW M3 massively improves the looks. The frot is no longer dominated by the grille, and the other styling elements at play can have their day in the sun. For example, the shape of the bottom half of the bumper is actually quite attractive, now that it’s not overshadowed by the massive grille. However, we do have one complaint: Foose’s design simply bisects the massive schnoz. We’d rather the bottom half look nothing like the top, to keep things in line with the styling of previous M3’s.

That said, BMW does have its reasons for making the M3 look the way it does. Just like the BMW M4, physics dictated the shape of the grille. See, a 500+ horsepower twin-turbo inline 6 makes quite a lot of heat. So, in order to help with that, the M3 (and M4) needed more air up that schnoz than before. Hence, the BMW kidney grille you see before you.

Will the 2022 BMW M3 change its grille?

An emerald green 2022 BMW M3 sedan shot from the front 3/4 angle on a race track
The 2023 3 Series has a smaller grille | BMW

Finally, another change Chip makes to improve the 2022 BMW M3 is the return of vertical grille bars. They, along with horizontal bars on the rest of the front, help further break up the shape of the nose. We certainly like this design better, but whether BMW decides to change it is up in the air. The brand’s response to current criticism indicates they won’t. However now that some time has passed, perhaps the Bavarian brand will reconsider. We’ll have to wait for the new M3 to find out.

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