We're Really Doing This, Aren't We

Photo: BMW

By now you’ve no doubt seen those Mercedes-Benzes with the illuminated LED three-point stars in the grille. Mercedes describes this accessory as “subtle,” “sophisticated” and “eye-catching.” I think it’s only one of those things, the last one, and with any luck you—a person of class and taste—agree with me. But that’s not how the German Luxury Car War of Attrition works.

It goes something like this: BMW comes out with a “coupe” crossover with a sloping roof. Lest it risk losing precious market share, Mercedes must then do the same. Mercedes ups the ante with a “compact” “coupe” crossover, a smaller, cheaper car that also has a sloping roof. BMW must now do the same! Then it strikes back even harder by making its biggest SUV to date. Not to be outdone, Mercedes makes the S-Class of SUVs. And so on, and so on.

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Generally among these companies, the focus is always on beating the other one. Sure, there’s Lexus or Jaguar or whatever to compete with, but the real game, if you’re BMW, is Mercedes. And vice versa.

This brings us to today, where we learn that BMW is attempting to dunk on Mercedes hard with this—a light-up LED grille accessory for the 5 Series.

It’s called the Chrome Iconic Glow Kidney Grille, and it’s like the light-up star, except bigger. It’ll set you back $640, according to BimmerPost. The LEDs are integrated in the radiator grille to light up the front, including when you get in and out of the car.

Is this a wise way to blow $640? I do not think so. Does it look good? See my previous answer. Will you see it everywhere, on nearly every new 5 Series on the road? If the ubiquity of those damn light-up stars are any indication, almost certainly.

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I suppose my question should really be this: where does it end? Who makes the next pointedly ridiculous move first, and what will it be?

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Just wait until you see LEDs on the front of that. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. And try not to stare directly at it.

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About the author

Patrick George

Editor-in-Chief at Jalopnik. 2002 Toyota 4Runner.