Who has the best design language?

Interesting, Others | June 28th, 2015 by 8
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BMW has been on a bit of a roll, lately, with its upcoming designs. I think the designers of the new X1, 7 Series and …

BMW has been on a bit of a roll, lately, with its upcoming designs. I think the designers of the new X1, 7 Series and MINI Clubman crushed it. They all look excellent. There is still an issue for BMW, though, and that is that a couple of other brands are doing the same. So, despite BMW’s latest triumphs, let’s take a look at the latest design languages from BMW’s main competitors and see how BMW stacks up.

Mercedes-Benz has been making some truly fantastic looking cars, both inside and out, for over the past couple of years. The new S-Class, AMG GT and C-Class are all outstanding triumphs in design.

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Mercedes’ new design language is one that will keep it at the top of its game for many years to come. To many, this design language is superior to anything coming from Bavaria, and on some cars it’s true.

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Recently, Jaguar has been pumping out some truly beautiful machines. The XF, XJ and XK were all very good looking, but things didn’t start to really amp up until the F-Type.


Known as one of the most beautiful cars in the world, the F-Type was just the start of many excellent designs moving forward. The new XE is also a looker and the upcoming F-Pace SUV is sure to be a real looker. Jags have definitely the most exciting design language on the market at the moment and invoke the most passion. It also helps that the brilliant Ian Callum is at the head of design for all of Jaguar’s vehicles.

Audi TT Roadster

Audi has been in a bit of a creative rut lately, at least to these eyes. It seems as though Audis aren’t the lookers that they used to be. They all seem to just be cookie cutter designs and all look like eggs with trapezoidal grilles. However, the new R8 is turning out to be a stunner and the new TT’s interior is quite amazing to behold. So maybe Audi will put itself back into the conversation soon, in terms of best design language. Also, many of Audi’s designs are aging a bit, so it might be an unfair comparison at the moment.


Acura and Lexus still seem to be looking for a truly beautiful design. Lexus seems to be sticking with the spindle grille thing it’s got going on, though I’m not sure it’s going to last. Acura seems to be just throwing designs at the wall hoping for one to stick, though the upcoming NSX looks incredible, so hopefully Acura can roll with that. And Cadillac’s “Art & Science” design language isn’t bad looking but it’s getting a bit stale, especially when looking at the XT5 prototype caught roaming around New York.

So where does BMW fit into all of this? Well, BMW has been making some good looking cars as of late and still makes what I consider one of the best looking cars on the road, the 6 Series Gran Coupe.



So I think BMW is in the top three, in terms of design. It’s placement in that top three is a tougher question for me. I really like what Jaguar is doing a lot and Mercedes has been catching my eye with a lot of its newer cars. I think Jag takes the top honors for designs, in my book, because they’re just so damn exciting looking. But I’d put BMW right behind it, over Benz, because while new Mercedes’ are very attractive I think many new BMWs are more interesting looking. So, while BMW is making some great looking cars, Jaguar might be making the best looking and should be the target to beat for the Bavarians moving forward.

What do you think? Who has the best design language in the business right now?

8 responses to “Who has the best design language?”

  1. Giom says:

    I think your on the money with assessment Nico! Tho, sadly, I have to put Merc over BMW for now – if I’m brutally honest with myself. But I do agree that this is changing… keep watching.

  2. gearboxtrouble says:

    BMW is just so so these days. The M3/4 and the 6 series are all home runs but the new 7 and the hideous CSL concept are complete misses. The new 7 would be better if it didn’t have those huge, over sized kidneys. I hope that trend doesn’t carry to future cars. Mercedes are too conservative and boring. Their language works well for the S class but fails for the c63 AMG. Audi are the best of the Germans with neat, clean designs without all the fussiness of BMW. Jaguar are the best overall imo. They don’t build a bad looking car and their language carries over across the range.

  3. joseph_rma says:

    Mercedes maybe more contrentrates on design, and it is maybe more exciting than BMW’s but in the real world I find BMW more attractive. It’s mix of objective and subjective thinking, something like that :) Most beautiful for me: 6 series, as for many people, as it is a real head turner definitely.
    Audi starts to nerve me with it’s new agressive lines on the new R8 and TT, they haven’t that emotion feel as nearly as previous gens. Lamborghini Huracan too, which is designed to sell, not to show it’s beauty we whimper for.
    Jaguar on the other side has some hot looking cars, especially the F-Type and XJ. They also started to use more German’s approach with design cues, but they fit it to all of their cars. Lexus, they have lookers in their lineup, but they are shaping that grille too too much and it’s starting to look, don’t even know how to describe it. Japanese again are experimenting with the design.
    We are here talking about BMW’s competitors, but I am mentioning Mazda, with it’s KODO design and everytime I see Mazda 6 I stand for few secs and just look at it.

  4. Locke42 says:

    In all sincere honesty: Mazda.

    BMW’s and Audi’s designs all look the same. “Same sausage, different lengths.” That’s great, but it also makes it more difficult to differentiate cars from one another without looking at the side profile or even the series badge.

    Mercedes’ designs are….ostentatious. That’s all I’ll say about that.

    Lexus’ designs try too hard sometimes (e.g. IS250/IS350), and don’t try hard enough in others (ES, LS). The only Lexus whose design I like is the CT200h, which looks great, but drives like a Prius.

    But Mazda’s designs are just gorgeous. The new Kodo design language is unique from model to model, yet also unifies all the models; a Mazda3 won’t be confused for a Mazda6, not even from up front. They aren’t too ostentatious or exotic, but they also definitely aren’t boring. And they’re all great driver’s cars, even if they are all FWD.

    The only thing holding Mazda back is the fact that they still want to fulfill the demands of the mass market vs moving up to the luxury space, and that’s admirable. I was very close to getting a Mazda3 over my Audi A3; the fact that the Audi had stop-and-go adaptive cruise control while the Mazda3 only had partial adaptive cruise control is the ONLY thing that convinced me to get the Audi.

    And just to bring in some other mainstream brands:
    I’d say Ford’s designs are nearly as good as Mazda’s, but to me, their cars look a little less mature, more juvenile than Mazda’s. The Fiesta and Focus, for example, look like teenager’s cars, whereas the Mazda3 and Mazda6 seem perfectly mature.

  5. Kaisuke971 says:

    Which brand has the best design language ? I’d say Jaguar as well. Their whole range of cars all just suit perfectly to their respective segments, and they are coming very close to the top, in all of them.
    I’ll start with the smallest one: the XE. This car is just the best looking one of its segment… In fact it’s so well done that this car is exactly the idea you’d get of a midsize sedan. It’s executive , yet sportive and very modern. Even on the basic versions, thing is just absolutely gorgeous. The S version is just a bonus i think and they absolutely nailed it. I can’t wait for the SVR !
    The XF is even better than the XE imo, because i don’t see any car that could match it in the look department. This car looks so good only maybe the Ghibli could do something, but its rear is so controversial that the XF is just over-the-top.
    F-Type ? I have nothing to say here that you don’t know. This car is superb.
    Well the XJ might be the one that suffers the most… The rear is a piece of art, with those headlights, but the overall car just doesn’t look executive enough… It looks too much like a bigger XF, and they should make it set apart a bit more from their other sedans imo. It should be their flagship but it just doesn’t look like. I could easily see the XJ in 5 series’ segment…
    Then Alfa Romeo. The 4C is gorgeous (well the right one not the weird one with weird headlights), the Giulia QV seems to be gorgeous, the Giulietta is the best looking hatch, and the Mito is nice as well. Not quite as good as Jag imo, but still awesome.
    But hey BMW has made an awesome job lately so its very, very close. I’d say a tie with Mercedes at the third place. They both make really good looking machines… M4, M3, 2 series, X5 M, X1, 7, M6 on a side, and S-Class, C-Class, CLA, CLS, GLC and AMG GT on the other.

  6. Senne says:

    You have a point; some Jaguars are really good looking AND exciting. BMW’s on the other hand are for me also very beautiful, and also exciting to look at. BMW however makes a lot of different types (niches) of cars, which makes is difficult to make sure their design-DNA is there with every car, without making them look the same. And I really think, unlike Audi and lately Mercedes (S/ C Class…) they really manage to do that just fine. And that’s why BMW for me is the number 1 for design (and a lot more ;) ).

  7. Kagan Oztrak says:

    z4? the proportions on that car beat anything and everything in my perspective..

  8. IceDree says:

    Its hard to pick one definitive answer. Each Design language have its ups and downs & manufacturers can create something beautiful, yet follow up with something…. Well, not.

    My favorites are Cadillac’s & BMW’s …. They come out with beautiful designs most of the time. I’m soso on Mercedes’

    However, I don’t like Audi’s design philosophy …. LEDs are not substitute for an overall design

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