Pop-up headlights were one of those trends that seem like they came and went relatively quickly, though that’s not entirely true. The first pop-up headlights went in the late ’30s, though it’s true that they didn’t catch on until the late ’70s, early ’80s.
By the time the E31 BMW 8 Series came out in 1990, they were in full swing. The E31 is one of the least BMW-looking Bimmers ever made, and while it may seem like there are more reasons for that than the pop-up headlights, you can trace everything back to the decision to use them.
Take the comically narrow grille, for example, and the tiny kidneys that come with it. A full set of headlights would have made it at least as tall as the optical blocks themselves, but in this case, the grille was reduced to a full-width slit into the car’s front end flanked by a pair of tiny rectangular fog lights and turn indicators.
Back then, headlight technology meant that you ended up with pretty bulky units if you wanted to see where you were going. That was one reason why manufacturers went for pop-ups in the first place – that and the improved aerodynamics you would get during the day.
Nowadays, you can throw more lumens on the road from a bicycle lamp than a car headlight from three decades ago, so that’s no longer a problem. Does that mean it would be the perfect time for that angry BMW design of the 1990 8 Series to make a comeback? Well, Ahmed Zayed Radwan certainly thinks so, and, after seeing his creation, we might too.
The Bavarian brand’s current design direction is the subject of hot debating, and, most often than not, it’s not for the best of reasons. There seems to be a bit of identity crisis going on, and the company’s current solution – make the grille bigger – doesn’t appeal to everyone. Maybe turn to the past instead?
Ahmed’s rendering does just that, and it does it with significant effect. The cues from the ’90s 8 Series are discreet and very well implemented and adapted to the taller front end. However, while the front is where the model’s identity seems to be focused, it’s the rest of the body that makes the vehicle stand out.
According to Ahmed, we’re looking at an electric sedan, but it’s one made in the mold of the Polestar 2: sporty and muscular. It has a clean, smooth design over the sides, with all the lines converging toward the wide rear track and the hips covering it. The greenhouse is narrow enough to convey the sentiment of performance, but not to the point where it becomes claustrophobic.
Finally, the rear end is probably where this becomes a little divisive. The taillights are thin and sit very high on the tall trunk lid, while the rest of the back is pretty much featureless. For some reason, the electric sedan weirdly seems to get a departure angle that would make many SUVs envious. Still, it’s a great look overall and one that we wouldn’t mind seeing on a future BMW model.
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