BMW’s design decisions have been controversial in the last few years, with the German carmaker’s models sometimes wearing huge (illuminated) front grilles and flaunting design elements that aren't to everyone's taste.

However, this might change soon, as the brand's chief designer, Adrian van Hooydonk, says future BMW vehicles will have a cleaner look and possibly radiator grilles that aren't such an eyesore.

Speaking with TopGear, the automaker's chief designer, who used to work under the guidance of Chris Bangle – another controversial figure in BMW's history – says that they “don't ignore the chatter.”

Gallery: BMW XM Label Red (2023)

However, with solid sales figures – 2.1 million worldwide for the brand as a whole and 177,000 for BMW M alone in 2022 – it looks like controversy sits pretty well with the company's customers.

“We feel that in our job, we need to keep adding new elements to the design, we cannot keep repeating what we have. Sometimes we have to depart and do new things. The reason for that is we also want to have success in 10 years,” said van Hooydonk.

He adds that the design team has a pretty clear idea of what it's doing and that it's not like they're experimenting or throwing things out there to see what sticks. “It's a very deliberate process,” he said.

When it comes to the grille, the design boss thinks that the brand has done everything from vertical, very slim, to wide and very low, so it can basically do what it wants from here forward, as it has plenty of heritage to back it up. However, a cleaner design is to be expected, as he says: 

“I think in the future what is going to be important is our design will be cleaner. We will design the grille according to the proportion of the overall vehicle, or according to the expression that we want to give it."

So does this mean the end of over-the-top nostrils?