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Bangle scarred

Coming to grips: Chris Bangle with the E65 7 Series.

Chris Bangle admits personal attacks on his BMW designs cut deep

BMW logo16 Nov 2006


CONTROVERSIAL BMW design chief Chris Bangle has revealed that he was surprised and affected by the personal attacks his radical new design language attracted.

In Australia for the first time late last month, Mr Bangle unveiled BMW’s M6 Convertible, Z4 Coupe, twin-turbo 335i coupe and facelifted X3 models at the Australian International Motor Show opening in Sydney on October 28, before presenting a public forum hosted by the National Design Centre at Melbourne’s Federation Square the following day.

But the world’s most notorious car designer said it took him and his family some time to come to grips with the reaction that followed his new "flame surfacing" design theme, which prompted more than 30,000 to sign an internet petition calling for his sacking.

"That sort of dialogue in the media was new and caught me by surprise," he told GoAuto.

"Until then, nobody talked about other people’s work, but the internet has a faceless anonymity and it took a lot for my family and I to come to grips with the fact it’s part of the real world.

"It was hard to deal with. I feel I’ve now had some experience and have learned to be able to deal with it."Asked whether he was surprised about the vehemence of the reaction to his designs, Mr Bangle said: "If you asked me when I was younger I’d have said yes.

"But for every negative I receive a positive letter in the mail."

 center imageMr Bangle, who started work with BMW in 1992, still describes the redesigned 1999 7 Series sedan flagship, one of two models that introduced his fundamental new design philosophy, as "the future".

Other BMW officials, including outgoing BMW Group Australia chief Dr Franz Sauter, claim the latest BMW limousine’s sales success and the fact some of its styling cues have since been adopted by many car-makers shows Mr Bangle’s new design direction has now been vindicated.

For his part, Mr Bangle said his newest role as chief designer for the entire BMW Group, which includes BMW, Mini, Rolls-Royce, M cars and motorcycles, has made the 50-year-old even more impatient for change in the world of global car design.

"If anything my impatience has increased with where I want the industry and BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce to go.

"There are many aspects that need a kickstart, which will still set the agenda 50 years from now," he said.

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