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  #1  
Old 07-30-2013, 01:11 PM
B. Serum B. Serum is offline
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BMW's new i3: Did they try to make it ugly?

BMW unveiled the i3, its entry into the electric car market.

Is it just me or did they deliberately try to make the miniature electric car version of the famously bad Pontiac Aztek?
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  #2  
Old 07-30-2013, 01:25 PM
squeegee squeegee is offline
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I don't find the shape itself unattractive. I'd have to see one in person or at least in motion to decide. The paint job in the link you provide is a crime against humanity though.
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  #3  
Old 07-30-2013, 01:41 PM
jz78817 jz78817 is online now
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when aerodynamics is a primary concern, there are a limited number of shapes that work for a passenger vehicle. The Chevy Volt is a good example; people loved the concept car but were griping when the production vehicle basically looked like a Prius. Bob Lutz said that the Volt Concept would have been more aerodynamic if it was driven backwards.
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  #4  
Old 07-30-2013, 02:12 PM
B. Serum B. Serum is offline
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Uh-huh. Tesla did just fine avoiding the ugly.
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  #5  
Old 07-30-2013, 02:49 PM
GreasyJack GreasyJack is online now
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Originally Posted by B. Serum View Post
Uh-huh. Tesla did just fine avoiding the ugly.
The familiar Prius/Insight/Volt/Leaf shape is good for maximizing aerodynamics and usable interior space. The Tesla doesn't really have the latter concern.
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  #6  
Old 07-30-2013, 04:05 PM
RaftPeople RaftPeople is offline
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Originally Posted by GreasyJack View Post
The familiar Prius/Insight/Volt/Leaf shape is good for maximizing aerodynamics and usable interior space. The Tesla doesn't really have the latter concern.
Why not? (note: that's the Model S in that picture)
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  #7  
Old 07-30-2013, 04:12 PM
scr4 scr4 is offline
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Originally Posted by B. Serum View Post
It says: "The consistently sustainable design of the BMW i3 makes it the perfect vehicle for urban environments in the megacity..."

The design looks very reasonable and appealing for a city car. It maximizes interior space and minimizes external size, and it's still reasonably aerodynamic. The Ford C-Max hybrid has a similar shape (but larger).

The Tesla S is a much bigger 4 door sedan; larger cars naturally look more sleek because they are longer, but not taller. (In fact, smaller cars tend to be taller because that's a good way to increase interior space.)

Last edited by scr4; 07-30-2013 at 04:13 PM..
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  #8  
Old 07-30-2013, 04:14 PM
Ravenman Ravenman is online now
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Could someone please explain to me how the i3's notch in the body behind the passenger doors increases fuel economy? Or how the two-tone design is more eco friendly?

I mean, blah. The Volt, Prius, and others are great designs compared to that turd.
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  #9  
Old 07-30-2013, 04:26 PM
scr4 scr4 is offline
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Originally Posted by Ravenman View Post
Could someone please explain to me how the i3's notch in the body behind the passenger doors increases fuel economy?
If you mean the windows on the rear doors being taller than the ones on the front doors, it's probably to improve rear visibility. Which I think is a very good thing - most modern cars have horrible rear visibility.
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  #10  
Old 07-30-2013, 04:29 PM
Ethilrist Ethilrist is offline
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Originally Posted by Ravenman View Post
Could someone please explain to me how the i3's notch in the body behind the passenger doors increases fuel economy?
Those are windows, so you can see out your blind spot when you're backing out of a diagonal parking space, turning, or changing lanes. I heartily endorse this.

Granted, it doesn't make it any more attractive, it's still a fugly little SUV. It's just marginally safer that way.
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  #11  
Old 07-31-2013, 06:40 AM
JLRogers JLRogers is offline
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Who cares what it looks like? When you're inside the outside doesn't matter. When you're outside why would you stand around and look at your car?

Electric vehicles aren't nearly advanced enough to sacrifice function for form and still be affordable (although at 41k this isn't that inexpensive), so why not just make the thing work, then tack on a couple of styling cues to make sure it's isn't just a Prius with a BMW badge?

Unless you're buying an electric car as a fashion statement, in which case you have more play money than I do and might as well complain about trivialities as you are probably used to having all your most fleeting whims attended without delay and are thereby spoiled beyond belief.

Oh, and the Aztek was horrible for reasons other than ugliness. If only the disaster had been confined to aesthetics.
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  #12  
Old 07-31-2013, 07:15 AM
gotpasswords gotpasswords is online now
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Originally Posted by scr4
The design looks very reasonable and appealing for a city car. It maximizes interior space and minimizes external size, and it's still reasonably aerodynamic.
It's a city car. Who cares about aerodynamics when it will probably never go faster than 45 mph?

And who needs a $41,000 putt-putt?
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  #13  
Old 07-31-2013, 09:45 AM
Ravenman Ravenman is online now
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Originally Posted by JLRogers View Post
Who cares what it looks like? When you're inside the outside doesn't matter. When you're outside why would you stand around and look at your car?
Why would people want to buy something that looks like crap? Why would a car company invest huge sums to produce an ugly car, knowing of the commercial failures of the Aztek, the Edsel, and the god-awful Prowler?

If you want to wear a kilt, a poofy pirate shirt, a helicopter beanie hat and clown shoes and talk about how you don't have to look in mirrors so it doesn't matter what you look like, go right ahead. But if you start a business to outfit people in such garb, I'm going to ask you what was going through your mind when you thought you could make money by making people look silly.
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  #14  
Old 07-31-2013, 03:09 PM
B. Serum B. Serum is offline
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Originally Posted by JLRogers View Post
Who cares what it looks like?
Come on, the notion that people choosing automobiles for what it looks like is a foreign concept to you? In case you're honestly not being contrarian, you can refer to JD Powers' article "Top 10 Reasons Why Car Buyers Choose a Specific Vehicle Model":

3) Exterior Styling: In recent years, exterior styling has increased in importance among new-vehicle buyers, rising from the fourth-most-frequently cited reason for purchasing to the third-most-frequently cited reason.
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  #15  
Old 07-31-2013, 05:21 PM
scr4 scr4 is offline
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One thing you all might be missing: It's a European car for the European market. Things that look cool and modern to young Europeans look ugly to a lot of Americans (especially middle age and older).
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  #16  
Old 07-31-2013, 05:23 PM
scr4 scr4 is offline
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Originally Posted by gotpasswords View Post
It's a city car. Who cares about aerodynamics when it will probably never go faster than 45 mph?
A city car is a car designed to be used primarily (but NOT EXCLUSIVELY) in the city. Also, cities have bypasses and expressways.
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  #17  
Old 07-31-2013, 06:04 PM
ralph124c ralph124c is offline
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Does Hyundai, M-B, and BMW have the same designer? These makes all look the same to me.
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  #18  
Old 08-01-2013, 01:04 AM
JLRogers JLRogers is offline
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Originally Posted by Ravenman View Post
Why would people want to buy something that looks like crap? Why would a car company invest huge sums to produce an ugly car, knowing of the commercial failures of the Aztek, the Edsel, and the god-awful Prowler?

If you want to wear a kilt, a poofy pirate shirt, a helicopter beanie hat and clown shoes and talk about how you don't have to look in mirrors so it doesn't matter what you look like, go right ahead. But if you start a business to outfit people in such garb, I'm going to ask you what was going through your mind when you thought you could make money by making people look silly.
Cars are for either transportation or performance. In the case of electric cars optimizing for performance is mandatory if they're to serve as adequate transportation due to the current limitations of the technology.

The clothing you listed is impractical beyond looking "silly." It is telling that you are focused on the aesthetic qualities to the exclusion of practical considerations. In fact, I routinely wear ridiculous-looking clothing because it serves the practical purpose of preventing drivers from killing me while I run on the road. I don't care that I look like an idiot because my actual needs are met. Frankly, if your car is primarily a fashion statement then you are living an insubstantial lifestyle.


Quote:
Originally Posted by B. Serum View Post
Come on, the notion that people choosing automobiles for what it looks like is a foreign concept to you?
Of course not. My point is that people who prioritize exterior appearance over any practical considerations are fools.

And honestly, the thing isn't ugly anyway. It looks like a small, aerodynamic city car with a couple of nods to aesthetics. I have no idea what people expected the thing to look like given the areo requirements. Certainly not the hilariously impossible concept they released.

And for those who are keeping score, I drive an ugly compact car and couldn't be happier. Good mileage, amenities, and reliability are all I need. That and a third pedal so I can select my own gear ratios.
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  #19  
Old 08-01-2013, 08:39 AM
Ravenman Ravenman is online now
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Originally Posted by JLRogers View Post
My point is that people who prioritize exterior appearance over any practical considerations are fools.
You don't even vaguely understand what is being said to you. Perhaps this judgmental attitude is getting in the way of understanding a very simple, unassailable point: regardless of how utilitarian your tastes are, a business is making a very serious mistake if they do not try to make their products both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

You will note that every car make and model updates its styling every year to appeal to the tens to hundreds of thousands of people who buy them. They are not designing cars to suit your outlying preference for spartanism, because the vast majority of people want to spend their money on things that are useful AND pleasing to the eye.

Besides which, it's laughable to believe that the i3 was designed solely for performance characteristics. Of course BMW was trying to make an aesthetic statement, and I'm saying it is an UGLY aesthetic statement. How do I know that they were trying to make a statement with the exterior design? Because BMW says so:
Quote:
The inspiring, future-orientated design of the BMW i vehicles makes this something to be experienced in all its facets. It authentically visualizes the innovative technology of the vehicles and transfers values such as lightness, safety, and efficiency onto the exterior and interior design. The result is a unique aesthetic which gives the vehicles their own unique identity. . . . Smooth surfaces, accentuated by sparse use of precise edges, appear to be cast from one piece. In conjunction with functional details and innovative solutions, this results in an exciting, modern design language that clearly formulates the future orientation of the vehicles.
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  #20  
Old 08-01-2013, 08:46 AM
Ravenman Ravenman is online now
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And by the way, in case you get the mistaken impression that my comments are anti-electric car just because BMW designed an ugly one, I think the Nissan Leaf is pretty nice (if plain). And if you think I'm bashing small city cars, I think the Smart Car is one of the most exciting car designs anywhere. I think it is really ingenious.
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  #21  
Old 08-01-2013, 11:22 AM
scr4 scr4 is offline
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And if you think I'm bashing small city cars, I think the Smart Car is one of the most exciting car designs anywhere. I think it is really ingenious.
The Smart was designed by Swatch, and intended to be a fashion accessory. Practicality wasn't a primary design goal.
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  #22  
Old 08-01-2013, 11:41 AM
Ravenman Ravenman is online now
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Originally Posted by scr4 View Post
Practicality wasn't a primary design goal.
Making a very small car for use in crowded cities wasn't a primary design goal? It just happened to end up that way to make it prettier?
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  #23  
Old 08-01-2013, 12:33 PM
ducati ducati is offline
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That's not really an ugly car. It is even slightly reminiscent of the BMW Isetta.

No, for true sadness, tragedy, and horror, one must turn to the Gatsby 2000.
Pregnant women, children, and those with a weak constitution must not look upon the Gatsby 2000.
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  #24  
Old 08-01-2013, 06:24 PM
scr4 scr4 is offline
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Originally Posted by Ravenman View Post
Making a very small car for use in crowded cities wasn't a primary design goal? It just happened to end up that way to make it prettier?
The Smart isn't a conventional "city car". It's a 2-seater, which severely limits its utility and makes it more of a fashion statement.

Examples of mainstream city cars include the Fiat Panda, Toyota Aygo and Volkswagen Up!.
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  #25  
Old 08-02-2013, 07:04 AM
JLRogers JLRogers is offline
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Originally Posted by Ravenman View Post
You don't even vaguely understand what is being said to you.
Untrue, but thanks for assuming that our disagreement proves that I'm some sort of idiot who doesn't know what words mean.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ravenman View Post
Perhaps this judgmental attitude is getting in the way of understanding a very simple, unassailable point: regardless of how utilitarian your tastes are, a business is making a very serious mistake if they do not try to make their products both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

You will note that every car make and model updates its styling every year to appeal to the tens to hundreds of thousands of people who buy them. They are not designing cars to suit your outlying preference for spartanism, because the vast majority of people want to spend their money on things that are useful AND pleasing to the eye.
That's nice. It's also totally unresponsive to my post. I didn't deny that BMW made a decision to style the car the way they did, nor did I claim that people don't make decisions based on aesthetics. I merely mentioned that electric cars do have some cosmetic limitations that ICE cars lack and criticized people who care more about form than function. Speaking of, I have no preference for "spartanism." A spartan car would certainly lack amenities, which I specificially listed as a requirement. I'm beginning to believe that you don't know what words mean.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ravenman View Post
Besides which, it's laughable to believe that the i3 was designed solely for performance characteristics. Of course BMW was trying to make an aesthetic statement, and I'm saying it is an UGLY aesthetic statement.
I agree. It would be ridiculous to believe that. Again, I never made that claim. I did criticize those who prioritize a factor that has no actual impact on their usage of the car. Speaking of:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ravenman View Post
I think the Smart Car is one of the most exciting car designs anywhere. I think it is really ingenious.
You obviously belong to this class, as the Smart Car is a case of aesthetics triumphing over practicality. Larger cars get better gas mileage and are more comfortable while costing less. Only in bizarre edge cases does the Smart Car driver benefit from the slightly smaller size.
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  #26  
Old 08-02-2013, 08:15 AM
Ravenman Ravenman is online now
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Are you always this ornery, or does the subject of car design arouse special passions that you just can't control?
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  #27  
Old 08-02-2013, 02:00 PM
Gatopescado Gatopescado is online now
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It looks okay to me. No worse than any of the other new shit out there. The iconic grill is a little squished, though.
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  #28  
Old 08-02-2013, 06:15 PM
Gukumatz Gukumatz is offline
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Mod Note: Keep in mind which forum this is in.

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  #29  
Old 08-02-2013, 08:17 PM
Ethilrist Ethilrist is offline
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Originally Posted by JLRogers View Post
You obviously belong to this class, as the Smart Car is a case of aesthetics triumphing over practicality. Larger cars get better gas mileage and are more comfortable while costing less. Only in bizarre edge cases does the Smart Car driver benefit from the slightly smaller size.
Like cities such as Berkeley and San Francisco, where parking space is at an extreme premium. SF has parking spaces (which, granted, would have previously not been available at all) that are markes "Parking for motorcycles and SmartCars only."
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  #30  
Old 08-02-2013, 08:25 PM
jz78817 jz78817 is online now
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Originally Posted by B. Serum View Post
Uh-huh. Tesla did just fine avoiding the ugly.
uh, and? Unless you have some insights into what design tradeoffs Tesla was willing to sign up to, this is not a response.
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  #31  
Old 08-02-2013, 10:55 PM
scr4 scr4 is offline
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Originally Posted by Ethilrist View Post
Like cities such as Berkeley and San Francisco, where parking space is at an extreme premium. SF has parking spaces (which, granted, would have previously not been available at all) that are markes "Parking for motorcycles and SmartCars only."
Even in those cities, and even with that huge advantage in parking, there are very few people who choose this 2-seater over a more practical 4-seater hatchback.
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  #32  
Old 08-03-2013, 01:52 AM
JLRogers JLRogers is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ravenman View Post
Are you always this ornery, or does the subject of car design arouse special passions that you just can't control?
The former.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethilrist View Post
Like cities such as Berkeley and San Francisco, where parking space is at an extreme premium. SF has parking spaces (which, granted, would have previously not been available at all) that are markes "Parking for motorcycles and SmartCars only."
That's definitely a very specific edge case. Around here those spaces are marked as motorcycle-only.
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  #33  
Old 08-03-2013, 02:22 PM
toofs toofs is offline
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The i3 is styled as it is to make a statement. They could have dealt with the aerodynamics in ways that do not result in the i3's final appearance. BMW is targeting a customer who wants everyone to instantly know the the vehicle is "green" and not a conventional car.
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  #34  
Old 08-03-2013, 07:31 PM
FoieGrasIsEvil FoieGrasIsEvil is offline
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Originally Posted by squeegee View Post
I don't find the shape itself unattractive. I'd have to see one in person or at least in motion to decide. The paint job in the link you provide is a crime against humanity though.
Hey, hey now, those are fighting words to a Cincinnati Bengals fan!

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