Former Holden design director explains BMW 4 Series grille

Long-time GM designer and father of the iconic Efijy concept Richard Ferlazzo gives his verdict on that grille

Richard Ferlazzo BMW 4 Series

Even if you’re not familiar with Richard Ferlazzo’s name, you’ll know his work. Richard was a car designer at Holden for more than 30 years, and a good chunk of that time as the company’s design director.

He created countless Australian machines, has helped shape General Motor’s global portfolio by working closely with company heavy hitters like Mike Simcoe, and is the man who gave us the jaw-dropping Efijy concept car (which, amazingly, he also let us drive).

Richard’s credibility goes beyond his C.V. It takes only a moment in his company to realise that he’s a proper car guy; a man who lives and breathes car design and is a genuine enthusiast.

Holden Efijy

So who better to ask about BMW’s controversial new design direction? The G22 BMW 4 Series was one of 2020’s most polarising cars, setting the internet ablaze with mirth and vitriol over its enormous grille. It was also part of the 2021 Wheels Car of the Year field and with Ferlazzo on this year’s judging panel, we jumped at the chance to get his thoughts.

“It’s certainly not how I would have done it!” he says. “But I can understand what they’re trying to achieve.”

You’ll need to watch the video for Ferlazzo’s full breakdown on the grille, but it’s not only the front-end that captures the designer’s attention.

“Where’s the Hofmeister kink gone!?” he exclaims when examining the car in profile.

BMW 4 Series Coupe

Whether you love or hate the new direction, Ferlazzo’s breakdown of the 4 Series’ design execution is genuinely insightful. He even draws parallels with our home-grown Holden Monaro while discussing the BMW’s proportions, and sheds light on how designers strive to achieve aggression and stance when working on a new model.

The internal machinations of a car company’s design department are also discussed when we ask how something so controversial makes it into production.

Will Ferlazzo’s expert comments shift your opinion on BMW’s new direction? Let us know in the comments!


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