Design trends: lighted grilles are on fire right now

For over a century, automakers have used grille design to help us clearly identify their cars from competitive products. This is the reason why you can spot a BMW or a Rolls Royce from miles away.

But you can’t spot the grilles in the dark, so in recent years, automakers have taken advantage of improvements in lighting technology to create their own distinct headlight and daytime running light designs, allowing us to distinguish cars. from each other in the dark. Cue another name for BMW, because 20 years ago the introduction of “halo” headlights on the refurbished BMW 5 Series E39 sparked a huge movement.

Now, however, automakers are increasingly merging the two themes and lighting up their grilles, albeit like many trends, including the fashion for foldable hardtop coupe-convertibles, which exploded in the 2000s but was based on a concept around since the 1930s, the idea isn’t exactly new.

Related: Design Trends: Ultra-Thin Headlights Take Over

In the middle of the last century, brands such as Pontiac, Chrysler, and Wolseley’s favorite British seniors, struggled with illuminated badges and hood emblems, and then in 1986, Mercury launched the Sable. Essentially a slightly reworked Ford Taurus, its most memorable feature was a light panel connecting the two headlights to the badge (the real radiator ‘grille’ was actually under the bumper), although technically the full light panel. width that most people remember (pictured above) only arrived in 1989.

Mercury discontinued the feature in the mid-1990s, and the idea remained dormant until Mercedes dealers began offering illuminated three-spoke star grille badges in 2013. Fast forward to 2021 and the Fully lit grilles are back in fashion. BMW, for example, will sell you a pair of Iconic Glow illuminated grilles in the standard or M Performance styles.

As far as we can tell, these are only cars available with full size grilles; you may need an extra battery and an oil barrel-sized alternator to fully light those in a Series 4, although Bimmer Jakes does offer an aftermarket kit for the X7 for 2,169 $.

Skoda, whose muzzle already resembles BMW’s so much that the lawyers for the German company must strive to drag them to court, also offers a bright grille on its new Enyaq EV. Or at least until the feature is quietly removed from the configurator (it should reappear later this year).

Mercedes-Benz’s new EQS electric sedan features an illuminated center star, but is also available with an optional 3D star matrix on its black grille panel, which we have seen more recently on the mini concept. -EQT van.

And Hummer’s new EV cleverly uses a segmented illuminated grille panel to highlight the HUMMER lettering on the nose.

Which, by the way, looks suspiciously like the front of the new Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer, although the chic Jeep’s illuminated name letters are raised above the grille segments.

In addition, the Rolls Royce Ghost, owner of the most recognizable grille of all, can be fitted with a lighting package to ensure that it is as imposing at night as it is during the day.

But we saved our favorites for last. Cadillac’s Lyriq design team managed to reinvent the brand’s famous crest by choosing it on a large scale at the front of the new electric SUV. Approach the car and the badge lights up as the outline of the ridge appears, almost as if it turns into a smile because he’s so happy to see you.

And we will end with the Opel Manta GSe Elektromod. The fact that Opel inserted an electric transmission into an early 1970s A-series Manta was quite interesting, but far more relevant is its intelligent Pixel-Vizor front grille, which can be used to display messages and animations. . We would invest money in this interstellar trend.

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