BMW has had its design-mojo restored.

Somewhere in the world, Chris Bangle is probably waking up and asking himself "what the hell was I doing?".  Because I have to say that since his departure, BMW have finally rediscovered their design mojo.  It took a while, but BMW are starting to look somewhat decent again.

T-shirt at the Nordschleife in 2005
Now, I'll grant you that he did design two nice looking cars.  Well, one and three-quarter nice-looking cars.  The original Z4, although not very good looking in pictures, had a certain presence in real life.  Also the M6 mostly looked good, except for that hideous rear end.  If you open the trunk of the M6 it had a Porsche rear end -- and when you closed the trunk it looked like someone had tried to stuff a dresser up its back side.

But for the most part I think Chris Bangle brought the most unattractive aspects of american car design to the 3- and 5-series BMW.  The design language you want to strive for in a technically minded german car is efficiency and power.   You want the bodywork of the car to look like tight skin being stretched over athletic muscle.

Bangle went for a bloated, obese-looking design.  Lots of voluminous plastic body parts to uselessly add volume where none was called for.  Not even the Gehry'esque use of curved surfaces could make up for the fact that the cars looked like they had been eating lard and putting on weight.  The flame-surfacing just made the cars look ridiculous -- like people who get butt implants, fake abs and oversized pecs, but who are too lazy to acquire actual muscle tone.

These past days I've been seeing lots of expensive new beemers -- and they have started looking somewhat decent again.  They have their athletic looks back.  None of that bulging american nonsense.


  1. Although it took years to appreciate the E60/61, I finally ended up to buy one in 2011. I would place the rear of the E65 very high up on any list of ugly car design.

  2. Might be they have redeemed themselves with their autos, but still not sure I can forgive BMW Motorrad for putting watercooling in the new GS.


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