A Guide to BMW Grilles
2016-08-16 by David
BMW grilles are unique to every vehicle series and generation and Stealth Auto has more than forty different styles in stock! This guide will help walk you through the various options we have, and help you choose the perfect grille for your BMW.
BMW commonly manufactures their grilles using a chrome finish, however, most enthusiasts are looking for a more modern, aggressive and sporty look. Stealth Auto responds to this demand by offering a variety of choices, allowing you to pair the best grille style and finish to compliment your vehicle’s style and paint. We can help you achieve the look you’re after, be it on the side of luxury or a more aggressive stance - we have you covered!
BMW utilizes two types of grilles on their vehicles. The grilles on the front of the vehicle are referred to as Kidney Grilles, Front Grilles, Kidneys or Hood Grilles. On most M model BMWs, and on some series BMWs such as the E63 6-Series and F32 4-series, side grilles are also used. Sometimes these are called Side Gills. Any of these terms can be used interchangeably.
Maintaining the highest quality is a Stealth Auto touchstone. You can be confident that whichever style of grille you decide to go with, it has the hallmark of quality assurance that Stealth Auto upholds in all the products we sell.
Installation is simple and can be done by anyone in just minutes. Moreover, a modification to your grilles is fully reversible, and you can go back to your original look if you decide to sell your car or return your lease.
Let’s explore some of the available grille styles.
There are many grille styles that can be used on the front of your BMW. Depending on your tastes, theme, style or vehicle color, we have a grille that will make a great addition to your vehicle. Stealth Auto offers you the largest selection of grille options, colors, and styles over any other vendor on the Internet.
BMW OEM Style Single Slat Grilles | Cost: $
Allows you to change the color of your grilles, while preserving the OEM style. In other words, our original styled grilles are the same style as your original grille, but are available in several different finishes and colors.
///M Style Double Slat Grilles | Cost: $
With the release of the ///M cars in the “F” chassis models (F10 M5, F12 & F13 M6, F80 M3, F82 & F83 M4, etc.), BMW has changed the front grille style. Instead of evenly-spaced grille slats spanning the entire width of the grille, BMW has added more slats, grouping them into pairs of two. With this design variation, a logo has also been applied to the grille.
For customers with ///M cars, Stealth Auto offers these “double slat” replacement grilles. Now you can get the great look of a new grille without sacrificing your ///M look. And we haven’t forgotten about the logo – our double slat grilles have a spot allocated for your original logo.
All you need to do to finish the look, is remove the logo from your old grille and attach it to the replacement grille. But wait, why don’t the grilles come with the logo attached, right out of the box? The ///M logo is a BMW trademark, and as a result, Stealth Auto does not sell its grilles with the logo. We must advise you to be wary of unscrupulous vendors who do sell products with counterfeit logos. They may cost a little less but they are of the poorest quality.
For customers without ///M cars, but who want the look of the double slat grills, Stealth Auto has a solution for you. For many models, we sell a double-slat version with no logo for F10, F15 X5, F16 X6, F22, F25 X3, F30, E70 x5.
Race Mesh Grilles | Cost: $$$$
For an exceptional look, go for the mesh option. These grilles are hand made in the USA to your exact specifications, sporting a black, stainless or chrome mesh finish, instead of the typical BMW slats.
Take it a step further by accenting your mesh grilles with mesh front bumper vents. The customization doesn’t stop there. These grilles can be configured using your choice of surround options, as a base, painted, carbon, matte or gloss, it’s up to you! Call our sales team if your desired combination is not listed on our website.
Once you have chosen the perfect style for your car, you can select your color options.
Matte Black Grilles / Flat Black Grilles | Cost: $
Matte black grilles are our most affordable option, they look great and make a huge difference to the style of your BMW. For a stealthy, aggressive look, these matte black grilles are made in the same style as your original grilles, but have not been chromed.
As a side note, we would like to urge you to be vigilant when purchasing from unvetted sources. Believe it or not, some actually paint over chrome. Since paint cannot stick to chrome, it will flake off in a short period of time leaving you out of pocket, and with an inferior product. Instead of chrome, these grilles have been painted using flat black paint, without any shine.
There are many factories that make matte black grilles for BMW, and Stealth Auto has seen them all. The grilles that we sell are not the least expensive, but they are the best. Competing grilles have brittle clips which have a tendency to crack, making the grill ill-fitting (if at all). Other deficiencies include style mismatch, and wavy or inconsistent finishes.
Gloss Black Grilles | Cost: $$
With all the popularity of the matte black grilles, Stealth Auto began to market grilles with custom painted surrounds – Gloss Black for example. This gives you a stealthy look similar to the matte black grilles, but with just enough gloss to match your paint and set your car apart from the rest.
These grilles are painted using a 10 stage professional paint process:
- First the plastic is finely sanded to remove any imperfections, and to ensure that the paint has a slightly rough finish to adhere to
- Then the outer grille ring is painted gloss black
- It is immediately baked to ensure no dust can contaminate the wet paint
- Next comes a second coat, for deep, rich color
- Once again, the grille is immediately baked
- We then apply two thick clear coats to the surface, for depth and shine, baking after each application
- Finally, it’s off to inspection, where each piece is inspected for any imperfections
If the piece does not meet our high standards of quality control, it is rejected. This scrutiny and attention to detail ensure only the finest for Stealth Auto customers.
Paint Matched Grilles | Cost: $$
Stealth Auto started the trend of body-colored grilles, first offering them back in 2004. These grilles use classic matte black grille slats, paired with an outer ring available in over 50 different BMW colors. These grilles make the front of your vehicle look very subtle and have a very clean look.
Paint colors are precisely mixed and matched to OEM BMW paint specifications for an exact color match to your vehicle’s original factory paint. Next, these grilles are painted using a 10-stage professional paint process:
- First the plastic is finely sanded, to remove any imperfections, and to ensure that the paint has a slightly rough finish to adhere to
- Next, the outer grille ring is painted gloss black. It is immediately baked to ensure no dust can contaminate the wet paint
- We then apply a second coat, for deep, rich color, again, immediately baking afterwards
- We then apply two thick clear coats to the surface, for depth and shine, baking after each application
- Again, it’s off to inspection, where any detected imperfections can cause the grill to be rejected. This scrutiny and attention to detail ensure only the finest for Stealth Auto customers
Black Grilles with ///M Colored Slats | Cost: $$
The newest addition to the Stealth Auto line up of grille replacements - these grilles have gloss black surrounds, with three of the slats on the left grill painted in the ///M colors of light blue, dark blue and red.
Carbon Fiber Grilles | Cost: $$$
Carbon Fiber grills are the perfect complement to a vehicle that features carbon fiber elsewhere. Our matte black grilles are painstakingly overlaid by hand with real carbon fiber by the finest craftsmen. The process is tedious and time consuming, but the results are well worth it.
Stealth Auto is pleased to work with you to get the perfect look for your car. Want a carbon grill with ///M Colored Slats? A matte black ring with gloss slats? A Race Mesh Grill with Painted Surrounds? No problem, Stealth Auto is here to take care of you. Call our sales team to have us custom-build a grille for you.
To complete the look, you may want to consider replacing your stock/chrome side grilles with our Carbon Fiber Side Grilles or our Shadow Side Grilles, available in Matte Black or real Carbon Fiber.
Available for the M3, M5, M6, X6M and 6 Series Non-M, these side grilles create a more aggressive and sporty look to your vehicle, and nicely complement any other Carbon Fiber or Matte Black accessories you have installed, such as Kidney or Blackout Grilles or Black window trim for example.
As with all Stealth Auto products, quality in manufacturing is paramount. As mentioned earlier in this document, these grilles start out as high quality, never chromed ABS plastic painted matte black or overlaid with real carbon fiber.
Again, we reiterate that some vendors do paint on chrome. The result is undesirable and quite frankly, a waste of money. All carbon fiber products are further protected with an anti-UV coating that prevents sun damage and yellowing.
Both Side Grille options come complete with an area allocated to apply the ///M logo from your stock grilles to the new grilles. The ///M logo is a BMW trademark, and as a result, Stealth Auto does not sell its grilles with the logo. We do advise you to be wary of unscrupulous vendors who sell products with logos – they are most likely counterfeit. They may cost a little less but they are of the poorest quality.
In addition to our replacement grilles, we also provide several modifications that you can do to your existing grille, to create the look you want at a reduced cost:
///M or German Flag Colored Grille Stripes | Cost: $
If you have already purchased a black grille, or just want to add a nicer look to your factory grille, Stealth Auto has a high quality, inexpensive solution for you. Made by DecalWerks, Stealth Auto sells a three color kit of precision cut vinyl strips that adhere to the vertical slats of any BMW grille. Our colored grill stripes are available in the classic BMW ///M colors of light blue, dark blue and red, or in the German flag colors of yellow, black and red.
Either way, this modification is subtle and tasteful. The colors are only visible from the front of the vehicle, and do not cover the sides of the grill slats. These stripes install in minutes and are easily and cleanly removable — great for leased vehicles.
Snap-On ///M Colored Grill Accents | Cost: $
If you want a bolder look, and want a more pronounced ///M color accent on your grille than our grill stripe decals provide, check out our snap-on colored grille accents. Made of a high quality plastic and painted in the classic ///M colors of light blue, dark blue and red, these accents clip over the existing slats on your grille, thickening the size of the grill slats, and allowing the color to be seen when looking from the side. While the grille accents cost a little more than our stripe decals, they’re still a great value.
Grilles and Accessories from Stealth Auto
Explore all of the grille options we have to offer
Paint Matched Front Kidney Grilles
Available with full matte black surrounds and slots for a sporty, aggressive look, with body-colored surrounds and matte black slats for a subtle, body-to-grille blend (E46 models only) or in real carbon fiber.
Shadow Side Grilles
Our Matte side grilles for your vehicle are a great compliment if you have the black window trim or a black out front grille. The ultimate upgrade to your M side grilles is available by replacing them with REAL Carbon Fiber. AUTOCARBON.de Carbon Fiber M Side Grille replacements are hand crafted and complement other Carbon Fiber accessories on your BMW.
M-Colored Grill Stripe Decals
Give your vehicle a custom look that reflects BMW Motorsport heritage. Install these M-colored stripe decals for your grille. Available in Monochrome and over 25 country flags!
AutoCarbon Carbon Fiber Front Kidney Grilles
Our real carbon fiber grilles are an excellent addition to your vehicle, giving it the sporty look that you want, that only real, high quality carbon fiber can deliver.
AutoCarbon Carbon Fiber Side Grilles
Introducing real carbon fiber side grille covers for the M3, M5, M6, X6M and 6 Series Non-M from AutoCarbon.de. Create an aggressive appearance by replacing your existing chrome side grilles with the sporty look that only real carbon fiber can provide. This subtle modification is a unique compliment to our full line of carbon fiber products, and is available as a full replacement of your current side grilles.
M-Color Slat Painted Grilles
Looking to get rid of the chrome on your grilles or to upgrade to the M look of double slat grilles? Why not add the M colors to the slats with these stylish grilles from Paint Werkes. Each grille is perfectly crafted to fit your vehicle and includes either single or double slats, depending on model. M-colored slats are then added over top of the driver side grille in the 3 M colors.
Give your grilles a unique look with M-colored snap-on overlays from Mechunik. Sporty and sophisticated, they give your front end more appeal and presence.
These grilles can replace your 'Kidney' grilles (upper mesh) or fill the void in the air intake vent in the bottom of your grille (lower mesh). Designed with premium Stainless Steel Wire Mesh Weave, framed in a beautiful, flexible PVC rubberized trim to protect the vehicles paint finish. Precision laser cut, shaped and hand crafted to ensure a precise OEM fit and finish. Mounting hardware included with each RaceMesh Grille. Installation is simple, with no modification to the OEM grille, and installs in less than 10 minutes.
RaceMesh Grilles also provide functionality, in that it protects your radiator and condenser from debris and damage. This product is made of a true wire mesh cloth weave, not stamped, expanded or welded like other less costly manufacturing processes. This processing method creates a stunning visual effect, while adding functionality.
Matte Black Front Kidney Grill (Shadow Grille)
A common first modification. Upgrade your chrome stock grille for this great looking matte black replacement grille. Our grilles are made from high quality ABS plastic and are custom tailored to fit your vehicle. These grilles have never been chromed, they come directly from the factory to our paint shop where each grille is painted in a matte or gloss black finish.
Black OEM Performance Grilles
Want a black grille for your BMW but want to stay OEM? These original BMW replacement grilles are the perfect fit.