The new Hyundai Elantra is a ripoff of the BMW E90

…But that’s okay because the new X1 is a ripoff of the Tucson

Hyundai’s new 2017 Elantra is a pretty upscale looking compact sedan. There’s a good reason for this: it’s essentially a copy of a well-established premium model, the E90 (2006-2011) BMW 3-series, just adapted to front-wheel drive proportions and swoopified a little.

Don’t believe me? Let’s compare the shapes of the headlights:

Take the BMW's headlight... (Photo: BMW)

Take the BMW’s headlight… (Photo: BMW)

...Stretch it out a little... (Photo illustration: Nathan; photo: BMW)

…Stretch it out a little… (Photo illustration: Nathan; photo: BMW)

...Other than the angle at which the headlight meets the grille, the shape is the same. (Photo: Hyundai)

…Other than the angle at which the headlight meets the grille, the shape is the same. Compare the projector beams and the detailing of the turn signals, too. (Photo: Hyundai)

Now let’s go around back and look at the taillights:

Same deal with the rear; take the taillight... (Photo: BMW)

Same deal with the rear; take the taillight… (Photo: BMW)

...Stretch it out a little... (Photo illustration: Nathan; photo: BMW)

…Stretch it out a little… (Photo illustration: Nathan; photo: BMW)

...And while the Elantra doesn't have the step-down where the trunklid bisects the light, the basic shape (and the way the outer edge of the taillight leads into the spoiler lip) is essentially the same! (Photo: Hyundai)

…And while the Elantra doesn’t have the step-down where the trunklid bisects the light, the basic shape (and the way the outer edge of the taillight leads into the spoiler lip) is essentially the same! (Photo: Hyundai)

Now, there is a long and glorious tradition of less-expensive cars aping the styling of prestigious models; recall how desperately Ford wanted people to confuse the Granada with a Mercedes S-class. Think of it as the trickle-down theory of automotive styling. Plus, Hyundai has a genuine German with a premium-brand pedigree overseeing its design efforts, former Audi designer Peter Schreyer.

But apparently, this is just a case of turnabout being fair play. BMW, as it turns out, has a Hyundai homage of its own: the new X1 is a dead ringer for a Hyundai Tucson. The last-gen X1’s funky long-nose proportions have given way to a thoroughly generic crossover that utterly betrays its heretical front-drive roots, and it would seem BMW’s designers were as unenthusiastic about this as the rest of us and just decided to slap kidneys on a Hyundai. Check it:

Hyundai-Kia has been on a bit of a roll in the last few years, so I guess BMW could do worse. Can’t wait to see that joint effort with Toyota!

Print

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *