Was BMW’s Response to the M3 Grille Drama the Right Move?

The BMW higher-ups are steadfast on the decision to make the grilles on the 2021 M3 incredibly large. While there has been pushback from basically everyone, BMW does not seem concerned. Is the old saying “All press is good press” true in this instance?

The new M3 grille has ruffled feathers

Domagoj Dukec, BMW’s head designer, said explicitly that it doesn’t matter if people dislike the grill. “You can see that on something as polarising like the kidneys on the 4 Series, 20 percent of people like it. That fits the type of customers we are targeting,” Dukec told Top Gear.

Telling 80% of your customer base that such an opinion doesn’t matter is an interesting defense.

He was quick to note that everyone has an opinion, but he isn’t concerned with it. “If you want to create something that stands out, it must be distinguished, and it has to be different,” he said.

It sounds like BMW wanted to make a car that stood out, even if it was negative. Everyone is still discussing the M3. One out of five people expressing that the grille is overkill still made it notorious.

The starting price for the base M3 is $69,900, while the competitive package is starting at $72,800. Will the price turn potential buyers away? Likely not, but the grille still might.

Why not just change the grille?

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It is understandable to want to stand out, but was this the right way to do it? It seems that BMW might miss out on many buyers simply because the looks of the car aren’t up to M3 standard. Sure, this might not turn all buyers away.

But when you can have a well-performing car that looks nice over a well-performing car that looks a little silly, would you still pick the one that looks silly?

Dukec doesn’t seem to mind the criticism though.

“You can create something beautiful, and we also have cars which are just pretty. But there are some customers that, if you want to reach them, you have to stand out. You have to create something that is not in-line; maybe not like an everyday car or an everyday product, but that’s exactly the reason.”

Domagoj Dukec | BMW

In other words, BMW is going to keep doing what it’s doing. If the sales for the M3 don’t pan out, perhaps the designers will modify it down the line. The good news is that the regular 3 Series doesn’t have the grille issues the M3 has.

At the end of the day, it’s still an M3

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BMW has always been good at making attractive cars that were fun to drive. This car certainly seems fun to drive, so does it matter that it might not tickle everyone’s fancy? We don’t know the sales stats on it yet, but it likely won’t have too much impact.

Plus, from what the critics are saying, it grows on you. The new M3 AND M4 both get the S58 3.0-liter twin-turbo I6. The base M3 gets 473 hp and 406 lb-ft torque, while the competition version gets 503 hp and 479 lb-ft.

The base model comes in a six-speed manual option or an eight-speed automatic, but BMW will only offer the competition version in automatic.

Perhaps get an all-black manual version and call it a day as you get scored for your drift out of the dealership. Live your life.