Cars and Concepts

Honda lusts after BMW bodies

Is imitation a form a flattery? Compare the sheet metal for the new Accord, left, to the BMW 3 series on the right.

LOS ANGELES -- It is tacitly acknowledged by some in the industry that BMW's 3 series is the best sports sedan in the world. Want evidence? Why else would automaker product planners from Lexus to Cadillac to even Hyundai endlessly talk about creating a "3-series fighter?"

So it's not really surprising when new vehicles have traits that emulate that BMW benchmark.

But has the redesigned 2013 Honda Accord taken it too far?

Look at these body shots of the Accord and the BMW. Or is it the BMW and the Accord?

Check out the sheet metal crease that inclines ever so slightly toward the back of the car, and how it runs through the similarly styled door grab handles. There's the nearly identical flow of the roof into the rear deck, and the hat-tip to the famed "Hofmeister kink" of the C-pillar. The shape and scale of the side mirrors are knockoffs. Heck, even the wheel covers are the same.

Is this flattery by imitation? Or just plain derivative styling because Honda's designers ran out of ideas?

Honda engineers say their new body stamping technology gives their side crease a tighter radius than that of the BMW. I guess that makes it "creasier" than the BMW.

But as we all know, just because it looks like a BMW, doesn't mean it is a BMW.