Gore my eyes out with hot forks was what auto journalists were unanimously chanting when the last generation BMW 7 Series was introduced in 2001. The end result was the Z3 Coupe, which made use of an unusual shooting brake design. This is the BMW SUV for the person who thinks an X5 doesn’t make a big enough impact outside the gym, or when hassling people on the highway. Yet other aspects of the 2 Series Gran Coupe seem almost anonymous, and could belong to any number of car manufacturers. Christopher Edward Bangle (born on 14 October, 1956 in Ravenna, Ohio), is an American automobile designer. As long as it has that badge on the front, eh? BMW’s management were said to have been reluctant to produce the coupe model, but finally relented. Since the X Coupé concept car in 2001, BMW design has been dictated by the flame surfacing theme introduced under Chris Bangle. These $19k SUVs Will Make You Trade in Your Car, The Highest Paying Cash Back Card Has Hit The Market, 16 Highly Unnecessary Things People Waste Money On (You’re Guilty Of Many). A hardtop coupe version was planned from the start, helping avoid the awkwardness seen on the Z3 Coupe. Look past it, and the biggest BMW SUV is actually a well-resolved design, but that chrome kidney does take some adjusting to. BMW has undergone a rapid expansion of its model range in the past two decades, but not all of the styling efforts of those models have been universally loved. Now there’s a successor - layered surfacing - initiated under new group design boss Adrian van Hooydonk. Slow sales of the previous-generation Compact model meant North American customers were spared the choice of this later version. BMW had decided that coupe and convertible versions of the 3 Series would be made into a separate model line. Compared to BMW’s contemporary range of SUV models, the styling of the original X5 looks almost subtle and uncontentious. January 4, 2015 August 27, 2015 / tommoto1923. Aimed at drivers who want the X6 experience but in a smaller package, BMW previewed the first-generation X4 at the 2013 Shanghai Auto Show. What could make the X7 even more controversial? Rolling out a custom-built pickup version, created by apprentices at BMW’s Vocational Training department. Some say that the styling is a bit too tame and lacks the polarizing effect of the Bangle design. The idea is to smooth the shutlines and joints within the body for what van Hooydonk describes as “a more cohesive and harmonious appearance”. Bangle acknowledges that his designs do not look good in photographs, suggesting to critics that they should see the cars in real life before judging them on their looks. Confusing? Second, the Ohio-born Bimmer big-wig's insistence on pronouncing perfectly good English words with a German accent (e.g. A later facelift attempted to fix some of the more divisive styling elements, but could never truly change the car beneath. A facelift in 2016 helped things, but it was still hardly one of BMW’s design masterpieces. Brave is possibly the kindest word used to describe the X-Coupe Concept when it appeared at the 2001 Detroit Auto Show. The huge kidney grille accounts for 40% of the real estate alone, whilst other vents take up almost all the room left. While emphasising that flame surfacing is not consigning to the history books, BMW says, “It has been developed to enhance its effect further.”. After the retro stylings of the Z3, BMW went thoroughly modern with the looks of the 2002 Z4. I think if you strip away the huge arches, silly Pilers (A&C), glass doors?!?. Nearly two decades after entering the SUV market, BMW decided it was finally time to go supersized. In essence, the 5 Series Gran Turismo was aimed at customers who didn’t want to commit to a 5 Series Touring estate. It gave the industry its first look at the so-called flame surfacing that later characterized most of Bangle’s designs. Sir Mixalot might have been a fan of the new 7 Series launched in 2001, although many others were put off by the sight of that big butt. The original concept car disappeared after the 1970 Geneva event. In more naming gymnastics, BMW opted to call the new large five-door fastback model the 6 Series. While emphasising that flame surfacing is not consigning to the history books, BMW says, “It has been developed to enhance its effect further.”, Haymarket Media Group, publishers of Autocar takes your privacy seriously. Many consider BMW’s E39 the last good looking 5-Series before Chris Bangle’s horrid “Flame Surfacing” arrived on the scene for 2003. BMW’s motivation was to compete with the Mercedes-Benz B-Class, by offering a luxurious compact MPV. If you have been following the themes emerging through this gallery, you will most likely not be surprised at the revelation that the latest 1 Series is now front-wheel drive. With the release of the new M3 and M4 performance models, join us for a look at some of BMW’s most controversial styling exercises. The car's toaster-meets-city-bus design is the brainchild of Chris Bangle, a vehicle designer responsible for some of the more daring designs of the last 20 years -- … Opting for front-wheel drive allows BMW to make the 1 Series more practical, and helps save money with platform sharing. Like with the M3 and M4, BMW states it is necessary to ensure more powerful engines get enough cooling air. I've got a couple of bones to pick with BMW designer Chris Bangle. By 1998, a team of BMW engineers had decided that the Z3 needed a coupe version, and set to work creating their own prototype. It is based on the same platform as the new 1 Series, meaning there is no rear-wheel drive action here. Design influences came from the CS1 concept car, and included copious amounts of flame surfacing. Ignore the styling for a moment, and concentrate on the fact that the 2 Series Active Tourer was the first front-wheel drive vehicle sold by BMW. Look at those side sills and there is just a hint of Chris Bangle’s flame surfacing that can be detected. “Flame surfacing” created a trend of design being about adding “clever” crap to the surface, like Pontiac in the ’90s, except with less self-awareness, instead of design being about truly innovative thought regarding the surface. Say goodbye to flame surfacing — and hello to layered surfacing. We will use your information to ensure you receive messages that are relevant to you. It has seating for seven across three rows, and the rear doors are actually longer than the front ones. This meant the two-door M3 sports car would now become the M4. Naturally, for a modern BMW, it has a huge front grille but stretched horizontally here. In an unusual collaboration, the new roadster has given its platform, engines, and interior elements to the reborn Toyota Supra. The handcrafted load area features a polished wood finish, with the new bodywork all created from scratch. Penned by Dutch designer Harm Lagaay, the BMW Z1 looked like nothing else offered by the Bavarian company in the late 1980s. Since the X Coupé concept car in 2001, BMW design has been dictated by the flame surfacing theme introduced under Chris Bangle. I do like the idea of a light quick car that's good on fuel. While earlier Z3 Coupe had a controversial shooting brake shape, the Z4 Coupe was fitted with a more traditional rear liftback. Login to reply Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article. Expect buyers to like it in spite of the looks, rather than clamouring for this one because of them. By 2000 the model moved to the new E46 chassis platform, and gained a more rounded design. For most of the 1990s, BMW concentrated on its core sedan models, with only the Z3 Roadster standing out from the range. flaws yes, but that was typical for a front driver from that era. What made it more incredible was the plastic body panels were non-structural, meaning they could be completely replaced in under an hour. It packed a number of classic Bertone features, with plenty of straight lines and a curious honeycomb cover for the rear window. Whilst not conventionally attractive, it did at least help BMW’s first mass-produced electric vehicle get noticed. According to Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President BMW Group Design, it makes for a design that is “resoundingly function-driven, pure and reduced without compromise”. Along with being rather ungainly to look at, what makes the X6 so polarizing tends to be the target audience. "owtowmobile" and "schport") … It manages to overshadow the rest of the styling efforts, that not even dramatic new paint colors like Sao Paolo Yellow can distract from. If customers are telling companies they want coupe versions of SUVs, then who are they to argue with them? Bigger than the regular sedan version, the Gran Turismo offered more space and practicality. It had “flame surfacing” in spades, a diving shoulder line, a hockey stick lower lower character line, and (of course) a prominent “Bangle butt”. Penned by Davide Arcangeli, under the guidance of BMW former chief of design, Chris Bangle, the E60 5 Series introduced the “flame surfacing” … This convoluted process meant BMW missed the chance to compete in Group 5 racing, and instead created the M1 Procar. Yet all that progress is likely to be overshadowed by that enormous front grille. Arguably the big grille, with its three-dimensional mesh insert, has generated plenty of hot air from enthusiasts sharing their views on it. It may have signaled that BMW’s future lay with crossover models, but at least the front grille was relatively small. Autoweek may earn money from the links on this page. However, the main showpiece were the doors that retracted vertically into the side sills of the Z1 by sliding downwards. Thanks to the distinctive proportions and Chris Bangle’s distinctive Flame Surfacing and contours, the BMW Z3M and Z4M are lovingly called “Clownshoes” by many BMW enthusiasts, and after looking at one, it’s easy to see how they got the nickname. From 1992 until 2009, BMW design was led by Chris Bangle, one of the most controversial car designers of all time. It meant a lot of potential customers were shocked when the E60 first appeared in 2003. Buyers loved it, from the driving dynamics to the handsome but understated styling. When we say we love Clownshoes, we ain’t talking no Ronald McDonald. Add in the iDrive system, and a tough ride on run-flat tires, and customers were up in arms. The flame-surfacing, the abstraction – but most of all the sense that evolutionary styling changes over time might always leave a brand unable to progress. Chris Bangle was responsible for the dramatic ‘flame surfacing’ used on the aluminum body. BMW fans should really have been well-prepared for the giant grille on the brand-new M3 and M4 models. Yet it would always be the unconventional rear which people would remember the 6 Series for, no matter how hard it tried. This would become his trademark during his tenure at … BMW is not a follower. Perhaps proving BMW’s cautiousness right, buyers were wary of the unconventional styling and the Z3 Coupe remained a slow seller. Chris Bangle : biography 14 October 1956 – Christopher Edward "Chris" Bangle (born October 14, 1956) is an American automobile designer. The front end features plenty of design detailing, including the now trademark bold BMW kidney grille. It took inspiration from the 1975 3.0 CSL race car, which had been entered into the IMSA GT championship. Are you as passionate about cars as we are. Bangle himself did not (as is commonly believed) coin the phrase "flame surfacing" to describe his work; this can be attributed to a motoring journalist, and is probably the first time Deconstructivism has been adapted to automotive design. In terms of styling, the steeply raked lines give the impression in profile that the driver of the 2 Series has stomped on the brakes, pitching it forward. Body surfaces are layered on top of each other in a move that is also claimed to improve aerodynamic efficiency without the requirement for any additional body elements. We’re really fond of the V8-powered 540i such as the Black and Tan 2000 example currently listed here on Craigslist in Toms River, New Jersey for the asking price of $6,500 or best offer. What made it controversial was that this marked the move of BMW into the SUV market, following Mercedes-Benz who had launched the M-Class in 1997. BMW made a big leap into the premium hatchback market with the 1 Series, designed to compete against the Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz A-Class. Bangle was practically run out of town for his new-at-the-time “Flame Surfacing” and “Bangle Butt” designs. What stood out most where the piercing round headlights, separated by overlapping hood elements. Bangle acknowledges that his designs do not look good in photographs, suggesting to critics that they should see the cars in real life before judging them on their looks. Motorhead / On Chris Bangle, Flame Surfacing & BMW Designs circa 2001-2009. His work on the Z4 — a style he called "flame surfacing" — divided all viewers. By Autoweek The ‘Bangle Butt’ may have been toned down, yet the sharp lines and creases were a world away from its smooth E39 predecessor. Interview: Chris Bangle, BMW's Design Chief ... and all those convex and concave curves and sweeping lights that melded to give Bangle's signature flame surfacing? Built at BMW’s factory in Spartanburg, South Carolina, the original X5 shared numerous parts with the E39 5 Series to keep costs down. Instead the M3 would become a four-door sedan model, whilst the M4 took the coupe and convertible role. Along with the challenging styling, it also became the first BMW to feature the iDrive system to control car settings and infotainment. I partially blame Bangle for that. Today, M Coupe versions have become collectible due to their limited numbers. BMW’s 3 Series Compact range, featuring a truncated rear end with a hatchback design, had first been introduced in 1993. As for the Honda Civic, some might love the ricer racer look, but it is a bit too busy for my taste. Novelty came in the fact that the Z1 could be driven with the doors dropped. BMW found that some owners of previous-generation models were oblivious to the fact they were rear-wheel drive. Since the introduction of the M3 in 1986 it had, almost exclusively, been applied to cars with two doors. You would be left with a nice package. When it actually happens to be the replacement for the 5 Series Gran Turismo. To the relief of many BMW fans, the impressive effort was purely intended as a  one-off concept. It’s amazing that they found space for the headlights. This was all possible thanks to the introduction of the new 8 Series coupe, leaving the 6er name free. A long-wheelbase Gran Tourer model was also added to the range, with seating for up to seven. The previous-generation E39 BMW 5 Series had been lauded as possibly the greatest executive car ever made. BMW has been able to find numerous buyers for the X4, so much so that it launched a second-generation version in 2018. Even viewed today, the looks of the E65 are still polarizing. From the side the new Elantra shows off what Hyundai’s design team calls “parametric-jewel body surfaces” – it’s a bit like Chris Bangle’s infamous flame surfacing at BMW, or basically three lines that meet at one point. It does make the new Z4 look suitably sporty, yet its creation has caused stirrings amongst BMW fans. Yes, but at least the new 6 Series fastback looks slightly less controversial than the preceding 5 Series GT. Things often move in circles, and the latest BMW Z4 seems to owe something to the original 2002 version. The reason for this design was to use BMW's new technology of 3D panel pressing allowing a single press for compound curves, which had previously needed multiple … It led BMW North America to axe the Touring model, hoping the Gran Turismo would be enough. Bangle’s design language could be described as "quirky" and "individualistic" if you’re feeling charitable. A crossover coupe riding on the platform from an X5, the X-Coupe was powered by a 3.0-liter turbodiesel engine, and featured all-wheel drive. The elongated kidney design is said to be needed to supply the upgraded engine with cooling air. The M Competition model of the third-generation X6 is the ultimate expression of BMW’s SUV coupe range. Chris Bangle and 'flame surfacing' have left BMW many years ago. "that will be £26,500 + vat sir, it includes a new door, mirror, offside front panel and 215 hrs of labour". Design philosophy His styling themes have generated intense […] Actually, the Fiat Coupe (or Coupé, if you prefer) had styling that was a welcome departure from the boxy and boring Fiats of the 1980s and it is quite striking in person or in print, particularly compared to … I don't believe it was a secret. It may have been divisive when new, but almost two decades later the looks of the E85 Z4 actually seem remarkably undated. Design director Chris Bangle took the heat for the E65 and for the Flame Surfacing design language in general, but the design was actually penned by … This would become his trademark during his tenure at BMW, and set the scene for many of the cars which follow later on this list. As for "chrome contrast", I've no idea what you're on about. The first model in BMW’s electric vehicle sub-brand, the i3 was truly revolutionary when first revealed. Inspiration could be found in the lines of the X-Coupe Concept, with numerous creases and the use of the ‘flame surfacing’ design trend. Carbon fiber is used for the majority of the main structure, whilst the rear of the cabin is accessed through suicide doors. You can unsubscribe at any time using the unsubscribe mechanism on any email you receive from us. There is the issue of another large front grille but, that aside, the latest BMW hatchback manages to appear rather anodyne. Yet looking at the E60 now, perhaps we were too hard on Chris Bangle. We are ignoring the obvious here though, in the shape of the simply humongous grille attached to the front of the X7. Under the design reign of Chris Bangle, it provoked a highly emotive reaction a few years ago by a fresh and courageous take on premium car design, and by introducing the world to ‘flame surfacing’. We’re sorry, Chris. Their hard work turned the new X7 into a luxurious five-seater pickup, with space to carry a BMW F80 GS motorbike. Created by Italian design house Bertone, the Garmisch concept was built for the 1970 Geneva Motor Show to indicate what direction BMW could potentially take. To learn more about how we use the information you provide to us please see our, Goodbye flame surfacing, hello layered surfacing, Matt Prior: Sometimes being a car journalist is a pain in the back. It wasn’t, with BMW selling fewer than 2,500 units of the 5 Series GT during 2010 and subsequently regretting ditching the estate. I agree that the look did nothing to make BMW’s visually appealing, but without the flame surfacing back then, the fluid styling of the 2013 BMW 5-series would not be. It still looks modern and, compared to recent designs, manages to appear almost delicate and precise. Despite the difficulties faced with the 5 Series GT, BMW doubled down and launched the smaller 3 Series GT in 2013. Critics branded iDrive as complicated and unitutive, with the single rotary dial hard to master. even if it was nice , can you imagine the repair bills? Chris Bangle. His most recent draft, however, is devoid of shear lines and flame surfacing: It’s a novel. BMW Concept CS. Since the X Coupé concept car in 2001, BMW design has been dictated by the flame surfacing theme introduced under Chris Bangle. From Bangle butts, to gigantic grilles, the Munich-based company has found new ways to push the styling boundaries. We wonder if he used the large grille on the Garmisch as inspiration for the current crop of BMW products? The all-new 2021 BMW M3 Sedan and M4 Coupe are packed with performance technology, including optional all-wheel drive and a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six engine. BMW's design studio in Munich has a Hall of Kidneys, where kidney-shaped … Related to the E60 5 Series, design inspiration came from the Z9 concept car created by Chris Bangle in 1999. The car maker is certain to raise a few eyebrows again with GINA, an animated cloth car that looks ahead to the future of the automobile. Giugiaro was responsible for the wedge-shaped machine, with initial assembly taking place in Turin, Italy by a group of former Lamborghini employees at Ital Design. However, Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President of BMW Group Design, uncovered photos of the car and set about recreating it from scratch. The design was completed under the direction of Chris Bangle, and led to the enlarged trunk lid being branded as the ‘Bangle Butt’ by outraged BMW fans. BMW's top designer, Chris Bangle, describes the effect as ''flame surfacing.'' Not for a moment. oh oh! Production began the following year, maintaining the coupe roofline on a platform taken from the X3 SUV. In hindsight, the big front grille should have been a warning as to the design direction the company was heading for. What makes the BMW M1 design controversial is not the finished product, an impressive mid-engined sports car, but the story behind it. It may just be semantics, but these things matter to BMW enthusiasts. Offered in pure electric, or gasoline hybrid range-extender versions, the i3 was made to look like the future had truly arrived. The fitment of Lexus IS200-style rear lights also meant this version of the Compact looked just as divisive from behind. The surfaces and creases on the side of the Elantra for instance reminds one of Chris Bangle’s flame surfacing designs. 2003 saw a double dose of controversial BMW launches, with the 6 Series badge reappearing after 15 years away. First, I reckon the "flame surfacing" design style that he's inflicted on the brand since the 2002 7-Series has trashed the sina qua non of German automotive elegance. “By using the structure of the surface without adding any appendages, we’re able to optimise the airflow,” says van Hooydonk. Mercedes-Benz and Audi have also entered the SUV coupe game, meaning this trend is here to stay. If you thought Chris Bangle’s deconstructivist flame surfacing styling was tacky on early millennial BMWs, just remember that he was destroying the design language of Fiat in the early 1990s. The most controversial cars of modern times, These are the most controversial Ford cars. Instead of being given a bespoke platform, the Active Tourer shares its underpinnings with the Mini Countryman crossover. BMW had planned to compete against Porsche in Group 5 racing, and reached an agreement with Lamborghini to design and build a homologation special. Notably, the first-generation X5 was one of the earliest production models which saw an input from Chris Bangle as Chief of Design. Grafting the giant fastback trunk onto the sedan model again created some questionable angles. Launched in 2009, the 5 Series Gran Turismo was a five-door fastback version of BMW’s popular executive model. Now there’s a successor - layered surfacing - initiated under new group design boss Adrian van Hooydonk. High prices, and limited production capacity, meant only 8,000 examples were made before BMW pulled the plug. The latest 4 Series Coupe, revealed in June this year, previewed the colossal kidney design idea. It has a 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 engine, producing 625 horsepower and is capable of running from 0-62 mph in 3.7 seconds. All the "flame surfacing" and "zeppelin ribs" and "Bangle butt" and other weird pig-lipstick he applied just couldn't hide those baked-in flaws. Bangle is known best for his work as Chief of Design for BMW Group, where he was responsible for the BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce motor cars. With up to 503 horsepower in Competition specification, it promises to be devastatingly effective on road and track. More than 130,000 examples have been sold across the world since the i3 launched, with BMW even adding a performance i3 S version in 2018. The BMW X6 may be best summarized as an automotive example of ‘don’t hate the player, hate the game’. And, I can't think of another manufacturer that uses more frozen or matte finishes for special editions than BMW. It featured advances like body panels made from lightweight materials, and even an M6 version with a V-10 engine. The X7 is the first full-size luxury off-roader from the German company, and it is properly big. Unlike its rivals, BMW also blessed it with rear-wheel drive to keep the classic driving experience. Chris Bangle, the former BMW design chief, drafted some of the automaker’s most commercially successful, if aesthetically controversial, cars. Meaning this trend is here to stay BMW kidney grille were too hard on Chris Bangle, flame theme! Seating for seven across three rows, and even an M6 version a! Bmw design has been able to find numerous buyers for the headlights,... 3.7 seconds cars with two doors practical, and could belong to any number of classic features... Chief of design detailing, including the now trademark bold BMW kidney grille for... 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