A Guiding Hand: Chris Bangle @ Work On The New Z4

Mr. Bangle at the helm.

By Gunnar Heinrich | IMG by BMW NA via Autoblog

I’VE read about BMW’s latest redesign of the Z4 roadster with the customary zeal one greets a new member of the Roundel family.

A new Bimmer is almost always an exciting proposition – unless it’s an SUV or classified P.O.S. “P.A.S.” in which case I PASS. 

M.Y. 2010 BMW Z4 replaces its unattractive predecessor by taking the essential elements of what worked – the ideal proportions of a long hood, small cabin, and tight flanks – and ran with them while smoothing over the crap – the sharp, angular and mostly disjointed panel lines that were cleaved just so; making the car look chubby.

One-time Ford designer Marc Newson said that the old Z4 looked like BMW’s then chief architect Chris Bangle (pictured) must’ve designed the car using a machete.  Judging by those aforementioned lines, I’d say Mr. Newson was on point.

Mr. Bangle has since stepped aside as BMW’s chief designer following a sea of controversy over his influence on the line’s lines. BMW management duly kicked him upstairs (in House of Lords fashion) to be Chief of Design for BMW Group which includes MINI and Rolls-Royce.

Mr. Bangle’s position has been taken over by flying Dutchman Adrian Van Hooydonk. 

Since Mr. Bangle’s “departure” we’ve seen a softening of the flame surface design approach long practiced by the New Mexico native. The current 3-Series line and the upcoming 7 are balanced testaments to a more moderate approach to the new theme.

The same can be said for the new Z4. It’s tauter lines deliver much desired surface tension.

That all having been said, when BMW NA released the 60+ Z4 pictures to the press this past week, the above picture stood out from the rest.

Here we see BMW Group head honcho Chris Bangle taking a hands-on role in the Z4’s creation as he is pictured giving directions to staffers on the new roadster’s design. 

In another picture, Mr. Van Hooydonk, by contrast, isn’t seen with the same kind of authority.

If symbolism plays any significant role here, it’s to say that we’re far from seeing the last of one very controversial figure in BMW design.

[Linked: Autoblog]




December 15, 2008

About the Author: Gunnar Heinrich is publisher of Automobiles De Luxe online and is executive producer of the Automobiles De Luxe Television series on PBS member station CPTV.

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Filed Under: BMW


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  1. have a nice day
    I have design for 5 series

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