The Small BMW Kidney Grille Is Back for the 2023 BMW 3 Series

By now, most people have seen the new love-or-hate gigantic BMW kidney grille. For years now, BMW’s noses have been getting ever larger and ever more turned up (even for a luxury brand). However, BMW has taken some of that (I think deserved) criticism of the new “bucktooth kidney grille” to heart. The new 2 Series is pleasantly restrained, and now, it looks like the 2023 BMW 3 Series will be following that same design ethos.

Why did BMW change their grille?

A full-frontal shot of the BMW kidney grille on the new M4
The new BMW kidney grille is as big as it looks in person | Guillaume Payen via Getty Images

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However, before we get to all that new nose nonsense, let’s talk about why would the brand have even changed the iconic BMW kidney grille in the first place. Well, Beamer says it’s because of the motor in the M3 and M4 models. According to them, and Autocar, the new inline 6 motors found in both models simply needed more air. They also need to, per the rules of marketing, make more power.

Of course, the fastest way to do that is to get more air and fuel in. BMW needed a bigger nose to breathe through, despite the looks of the new 2 Series. Of course, their design chief also says it’s because the new BMW kidney grille is intended as a tribute to older models like the 328. Regardless, the new design hasn’t been well received, and I’m a more-than-vocal critic of the BMW M4’s nose.

The 2023 BMW 3 Series is getting a new BMW kidney grille

The current BMW 3 series blasts down an autumn road
Even the current BMW kidney grille has gotten larger over the years | BMW

So, of course, that means I for one was happy to see a new nose on the 2023 BMW 3 Series. To be clear, current base 3 Series models don’t get the big nose. After seeing it on the new M3, many were concerned that the 3 Series would get the same treatment when its time came. Judging off MotorTrend’s photo, which came from Instagram user @wilcoblok, the 2023 BMW 3 Series will have a much more rounded face than the current M3, much like previous 3 Series and M3’s such as the E46.

Granted, the rest of the vehicle looks very typically angular, as is popular with today’s design language. Very few vehicles deviate from this rule, such as the Toyota GR 86. Styling is subjective, but when compared to the image of the current 3 Series above, I’d say we’re looking at a very restrained and mild facelift compared to the large grille some were sure was coming.

Will the new small grille make it onto M models?

The question on my lips is that of the as-yet unrefreshed BMW M models. Ideally, this change makes it onto the refreshed M3 and M4 models for 2023. That should help serve up some of that more classic BMW styling I’m such a sucker for. The BMW kidney grille is a hallmark of the company’s design language, and it’s great to hear them listen to their fans. However, whether you’re a sucker for it or not is entirely up to you, yourself, and you.

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