Calvin Luk has been on quite a roll, designing the refresh of the 1 Series Hatchback and making it far less frumpy, the current BMW X1 and now the all-new BMW X3. The latter of which just recently debuted and we had a chance to speak with him about its design during its launch at BMW’s Spartanburg plant.
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We asked him to talk a bit about the design of the new BMW X3, which is now far more exciting looking than the previous generation. “We start off with the big Kidneys, lots of power here, which gives it a lot of presence, like a superhero in a suit, really puffing up its chest and charging forward.” said Luk. He also points out the sharp angles of the hood shape at the front, which visually push the Kidney Grilles out.
But it’s from the side of the new X3 that the design really matters. “This is really where we see the change in the proportions of the car” said Luk. “We have a nice, elongated, stretched greenhouse and a very simple graphic with the Hofmeister Kink in it.” That Hofmeister is one of the areas where this new X3 is far superior to its predecessor. That famous BMW design element looks far better on this new car, far smoother and more in keeping with the tradition of the brand.
This new BMW X3 is also far more muscular than before. As Luk explains, “There’s lots and lots of power on the fenders”. The rear fender is where most of the power is, though, giving it muscular looking rear haunches. “The character [shoulder] line shadow running in between [both fenders] and disappearing, creating a big and powerful rear surface, and reappearing behind the rear wheel”. He’s spot on, as the rear wheel arches are probably the most accentuated aspect of the new X3, making it look and seem very rear-driven, as all BMWs should.
Luk also speaks about how the wheel arches themselves aren’t circular. The have almost a reversed shape to them, with chamfered lines. “It’s quite quadratic or rectangular and it’s got this forward lean to it, it’s really charging forward”.
That aforementioned character line that reappears behind the rear wheel also continues into the rear taillights. “This is a very special lamp because it’s very three-dimensionally sculpted. So when we look form a three-quarter view, we’re gonna notice the depth that really goes in and out and mimics the signature of this lamp.”
He didn’t only speak about its exterior design, though. We sat with him inside the new BMW X3 to talk about its cabin design, where most customers will be most interested. “We’re gonna notice, straight away, the upgrade in the quality, all of the nice materials, the aluminum trips, really stretching the dashboard and the precision gesture towards the A-pillars. But what happens when we go forward to the A-pillars? We shoot right back into the interior space along the door side. And this is a really nice way to make that transition.” said Luk. “The same technical character we saw on the wheel arches is echoed here on the interior.”
The cabin of the new BMW X3 is now packed with all of BMW’s latest technology, including the brands’ new iDrive system with touchscreen and Gesture Control capability. The new X3 is also available with a Display Key and has an inductive charging cubby ahead of the shift lever that can charge both the key and compatible smart phones. Luk also talks about the “ginormous” sunroof, showing his youth and humor. He also talks about some of the rear cargo space and shows off his favorite feature, which is the perfect underfloor storage for the cargo cover, when it’s not in use. The trunk floor also has its own push-rod to hold it open, lacking the need to hold it open yourself or hook it to the tailgate.
We’re fans of the new BMW X3’s design and we think customers are going to love it. Whether or not it’s a great BMW to drive or keeps up with the brand’s Ultimate Driving Machine ethos is another story. However, from a design perspective, Calvin Luk and his team seem to have nailed this one.