The Rise of the SUVs it’s a decidedly modern concept. Although off-road vehicles existed in the 1980s, they were niche products aimed at specific customers. And that’s a shame, because if the Jeep Wagoneer proved anything, the design trends of years past lend themselves well to a comeback.
That’s why we decided to “ask” an AI photo generator to help us imagine what it would have been like if one of the masters of 80s design, BMW, had tried his hand at creating a utility vehicle.
For this little thought experiment we decided to focus on the two most popular mass-market BMW crossovers and wanted to see what they would look like. BMW X3 and the X5 if they had been designed by a designer of the caliber of Claus Luthe, BMW’s chief designer from 1976 to the 1980s.
The results obtained from these renderings are surprisingly convincing and honestly very realistic. AI has spawned a number of iterations, all based largely on the same design themes. SUVs are characterized by distinctive elements of the BMW designssuch as the shark-shaped snout and Hofmeister curve, and feature an era-appropriate boxy appearance.
A straight arrow-like beltline running along the side of the rendering evokes many of the BMWs of the era, including the original E21 3 Series, E30 3 Series and E12 and E28 5 Series, but could also be inspired by the X5 from first generationwhich is a strong design in its own right.
One of the versions even looks like one BMW X3 M, thanks to the bright red paint, the BBS mesh rims and the widened wheel arches. A decidedly modern concept, but the muscle SUV, it seems, would have worked just fine in the ’80s as well. The wood side trim from one of the images, however, looks the best. It recalls the spirit of the era and blends well with the rest of the design.