- Even with a lovely South Australian numeric plate, it still makes this front end look worse than it looks without a plate at all.

Here's how the new BMW M3 and M4 look with every Australian number plate design

It's safe to say that with any front plate on it at all, the new M3 and M4 look far worse than they do without one.

Last night, when discussing the controversial styling of the new BMW M3 and M4 with a friend, they sent through the particular photo you see below – noting that they felt the styling would start to grow on people – and a strange thought hit me after a day spent bagging out the new models' styling in every discussion I'd had.

"Why do I not hate how it looks here?" I asked. "I'll give you a second to figure it out," was their simple reply.

And then it hit me – in that particular photo, it doesn't have a front number plate. Without a front plate, like the wide Euro units seen in the majority of the press photos, it actually looks incredibly tough and aggressive. The fact this clearly photoshopped effort doesn't have a sensor for the adaptive cruise control in the lower left snout probably helps as well, but that's neither here nor there.

However, it did lead to another thought – how is this thing going to look wearing Australian number plates? With front plates unfortunately required in every state and territory, I imagined this would lead to some odd looks.

So, as you can see for yourself, here are the results of some quick copy-pasting efforts involving every standard Australian number plate.

South Australia



New South Wales

Australian Capital Territory


Northern Territory

Western Australia

I feel it's safe to say none of these look particularly brilliant if I'm honest – from my own state of South Australia's nice and clean black-on-white design to the ghastly yellow standard plates of New South Wales, they all do a great job of making this front end look like it's bucked teeth have bucked teeth.

However, knowing that most Australian owners won't be rocking regular plates and will instead opt for other designs, I decided to put a few of these together as well, including one with a South Australian six-digit numeric which you'll have seen at the top.

Black slimline

White slimline

Euro (black-on-white)

Euro (white-on-black)

A single-digit numeric plate worth around $5 million

So yeah, it's safe to say that wearing any Australian number plate at all – even one worth $5 million – the new M3 and M4 are going to look rather awkward.

What a shame – without the need for a front plate, I have a real feeling the styling of these two cars would be a lot less controversial.

Anyway, let me know in the comments which of these plate designs you think looks the least worst on it!

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Comments (29)

  • This is how you wear a plate.... Casually... Stick it on just because you have to and display the beauty...

      7 months ago
  • I agree with your points completely Patrick. I've been a Queenslander most of my life, and i recall as a younger lad it was legal to mount your license plate to the left side front of the front bumper, which was often done by many petrolheads to allow for better airflow over their front mount intercooler. i saw a lot of this in the late 90s and 2000's. As far as Im aware, im pretty sure this can still be done. so i think in this instance with the M3/M4, either mounting to the left side of skirt with the regular format plate. Or, if using the Euro plate, mount it on the very bottom of the center of front skirt, as the attached images demo.

      7 months ago
  • Good work! It does not look bad. When I saw this, first thing that came to mind was Lancia Fulvia (image below). And this is a bit of nostalgia!

      7 months ago
  • What looks good on an Alfa doesn’t always look good on other cars. The bmw design is plain ugly. Yes it looks aggressive and could fit on racing cars like DTM where there are no license plates, there are big spoilers and there it would fit. On the street? Horrible - just like the front of the new 7 series.

      7 months ago
  • Front license plates really do negatively effect the aesthethic appeal of a car. It is why I admire the USA a bit more with most states not requiring a front plate. If bikes shouldn't need one then cars should either.

      7 months ago