BMW's most controversial cars

BMW is one of the most influential automotive brands on the planet. Series 3 and 5, both created, then defined the segments that these cars still dominate today. BMW has also consistently set the bar in design and engineering, but that doesn't mean the brand is always perfect.

There have been a few missteps along the way, and some perceived missteps that history has exonerated in hindsight. Regardless, BMW has created plenty of titles with controversial decisions and designs over the years, so we've compiled a list of the most polarizing and possibly the worst designs ever released by the design bureau of Munich. To avoid period design debates, we stick to the brand's modern exploits.

BMW 2 Series Active Tourer

The basic ingredients for a classic BMW are the engine at the front, the transmission sent to the rear and the sporty driving dynamics. There were occasional twists and turns, but in 2014 BMW dropped a bombshell in Europe. Not only is the 2 Series Active Tourer a compact MPV, but also front-wheel drive.

Here is the presentation of this vehicle:

It is based on the same architecture used for the BMW X1 and X2 and, for the most part, unrelated to other BMW 2 Series models. To make matters worse, the 2 Series nomenclature was meant to be reserved for a sports coupe, even though it was a four-door coupe. The BMW 2 Active Tourer and its longer seven-seater Gran Tourer variant were neither coupes nor sports cars.

BMW 7 Series Facelift

The sixth and current generation of the 7 Series has been greeted warmly, but with little enthusiasm for its appearance. As usual, the 7 Series is big, powerful, comfortable, has lively driving dynamics despite its size and is packed with technology. Then came the facelift in early 2019.

Most of the changes to the 7 Series were well received, but spectators shrank in shock at the giant kidney grilles of the X7 SUV slapped on the front. They are 40% bigger than the kidneys of the pre-facelift model and disproportionate to the car. The more cynical of us are sure they've won over the Russian and Chinese markets, and there isn't much to suggest otherwise.

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