Does styling matter? The car crazed, including me, can’t have missed a styling trend of the past several years where the bottom line of the rear quarter window in a sedan, coupe, or crossover swoops upward, rather than being more or less parallel with the rest of the side window. This styling device, called a Hoffmeister kink, after its German originator, is most associated with former BMW styling chief Chris Bangle, who introduced it in some BMW models in the early 2000’s.
I have generally admired Bangle’s expressionistic approach to vehicle design but the Hoffmeister is not one of his greatest contributions. The shame is that so many other auto makers jumped on the styling bandwagon and even though BMW has pretty much dispensed with this styling touch, it lives on in Mazda, Nissan, Lexus and others, making driving on congested highways all the more difficult. I’m an advocate of good design and this is a reminder that mere styling doesn’t always make the grade.