BMW’s kidney grille undergoes big change on the 2025 BMW X3

  • BMW is revolutionizing the front grille again
  • The overall shape of kidney grille on the X3 is the same but the design is different
  • For the first time, it has diagonal bars as well as vertical bars

Published on Jun 19, 2024 at 4:57 PM (UTC+4)
by Alessandro Renesis

Last updated on Jun 20, 2024 at 12:57 PM (UTC+4)
Edited by Tom Wood

When it comes to BMW, nothing divides opinion more than the iconic kidney grille, and we’re sure the new BMW X3 won’t be the exception.

Every BMW model has had one since 1933, and the overall shape never changed.

Until now, that is.

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BMW has played around with it in a million different ways.

Most recent models, especially the ‘i’ models such as the i5 or the i7, have a massive front grille.

Then there’s the new M5, which has an abnormally large grille that’s also illuminated.

And now there’s the new grille on the 2025 BMW X3, which looks completely new and different.

The new 2025 BMW X3 changes the paradigm

In the olden days, the front grille was a necessity, designed to convey air and feed it into the radiator.

These days, the front grille is sometimes just a statement, because electric cars don’t need one.

The overall shape never changed, but BMW tried out different designs through the years.

The grille on the X3 features a unique design we’d never seen before on a BMW.

It’s cleaner and simpler, and – even though it’s still quite large – it appears smaller due to the thin strip at the center that cuts the grille in two halves, harkening back to the way it used to be in the past.

More importantly, for the first time, it features two different geometries.

You’ve got vertical bars, intersected by diagonal bars, which are also illuminated by the way.

The story behind the kidney grille

The kidney grille was first introduced in 1933 and back then, form always followed function.

The shape of the grille, according to BMW, maximized air inflow, thus cooling the engine more efficiently.

As cars evolved, BMW kept the grille because, in the meantime, it had become iconic, almost like a flagship feature.

Adrian van Hooydonk joined BMW in 1992 and when he took over as Director of Design in 2009, after Chris Bangle, grilles got bigger.

BMW has faced some backlash, and the grille has become somewhat of a meme in recent years.

But, for a very good reason, van Hooydonk said there’s no going back.

“If you want to create something that stands out, it must be distinguished and it has to be different,” van Hooydonk told Top Gear years ago.

“[The grille] fits to the type of customers we are targeting,” he added.

Translated, as long as sales are strong, they’re not getting rid of the grille.

# Tags - BMW, Cars


Alessandro Renesis

Experienced content creator with a strong focus on cars and watches. Alessandro penned the first-ever post on the Supercar Blondie website and covers cars, watches, yachts, real estate and crypto. Former DriveTribe writer, fixed gear bike owner, obsessed with ducks for some reason.