BMW of North America posted their best ever sales year. For the BMW brand, U.S. sales reached 107,881 vehicles in Q4 2023, marking a 6% increase from the 101,738 vehicles sold in the same period of 2022. The full-year 2023 saw a 9% growth, with a total of 362,244 vehicles sold compared to 332,388 in 2022, setting a new annual record for BMW sales in the U.S. Among the top performers, in terms of percentages, are the BMW 4 Series and 7 Series.

While the two have very little in common, they do share what’s arguably the most hated kidney grille in the history of the brand. (Note: A reader pointed out the bold statement, so let’s go with “in the recent history of the brand.”) There have been countless of social media comments bashing the oversized nostrils, but it turns out, BMW might be onto something. The BMW 4 Series family (coupe, convertible and gran coupe, including the i4) had 50,777 sales in 2023, compared to 36,954 in 2022. That’s exactly an increase of 37.4 percent. To put things in context, the better looking, at least in our opinion, G20 BMW 3 Series only had 33,997 units sold to customers in 2023.

Of course, there is a caveat. The 3 Series is only offered in one variant in the United States – the sedan – and without an electric variant. BMW has not released the sales figure for the i4 Gran Coupe, but we expect them to have a significant share within the 4 Series family. We already know that, globally, the BMW i4 M50 is the most popular and most purchased M car.

Moving down the roster – or up – of social media criticism is the BMW 7 Series. Production of the G70 luxury limousine commenced in July 2022, granting it less than a full year of production at that point. This detail is crucial to highlight, considering the notable percentage shift between 2022 and 2023. In the previous year, BMW successfully moved 10,811 units of the 7 Series in the United States, encompassing both combustion-powered limousines and the i7 electric variant. This figure signifies a substantial 80.9 percent increase compared to the preceding year. However, as previously noted, there’s a caveat to be mindful of.

A more insightful analysis involves breaking down the sales figures by quarters. In the fourth quarter of 2022, BMW recorded 2,071 units sold. Contrastingly, the fourth quarter of 2023 witnessed a noteworthy surge, with a 56.3 percent increase, reaching 3,238 units sold. Therefore, irrespective of how one dissects this data, it’s reasonable to conclude that there is a growing acceptance among consumers for the distinctive oversized kidney grilles. Some critics may argue that the heightened sales in 2023 were influenced by increased sales incentives, a plausible assertion. However, the precise impact of these programs remains unknown.

Was BMW justified in incorporating the distinctive kidney grille into certain models? The final answer will come at the end of the production cycles of the 4 and 7 Series. However, at present, the company might be inclined to confidently assert, “We told you so!”