Originally Posted by GregA
Bangle came to BMW in 1992 - directly to Design Director spot. So under his supervision many pre-avantgarde designs have been created:
E39 5-series, E38 7-series, E36/7 Z3, E53 X5, E46 3-series, E52 Z8
But those designs were based on different design strategy - and all of them chosen by the Board, not Bangle himself. So was the design strategy - a Board decision, not Deisign Dirictor's.
Same case for the avantgarde designs starting with E65 7-series & E85 Z4 - also supervised by Bangle, yet based on different design strategy, all designs picked by the Board. And the design strategy for the 21st BMW designs was decided sometimes in 1993. By the Board. Of course Bangle was the supporter of such strategy, and his task was to create design language for the avant-garde era. And in 1998 GINA Concept was created - a basis for all the upcoming BMW models (except E65 7er & E63 6er): featuring flame surfacing (= sharp creases & numerous convex/concave shifts in panels).
Yes - it's hard to say BMW became best selling premium brand in te world due to new designs. Especially since those designs weren't universally beautiful - yet more distinguished & different. I guess best sales number has more to do with great product line in general, superb brand image, and very attractive lease offers.
But all the controversy about Bangle & the new designs & iDrive etc have given BMW such exposure in the media than never before. Everybody was talking about BMW, Bangle, designs, iDrive, technology, pioneering etc. The interest in BMW was incredible, and the brand got a huge image boost - due huge secondary exposure & promotion. And BMW got a label of being design leader, and pioneer in technology. What an incredible image boost.
Avant-garde design strategy & hi-tech introduction were chosen due the dynamic image of BMW: powerful, dynamic, bold. And such attributes need bold & sharp modern design, and some great tech innovations - to make the brand utterly modern. Since that fits the brand best.
Sure some designs were executed a bit clumsily, and tech wasn't as reliable as it should had be - but you should know eg. the most radical tech & designs were developed during the Rover fiasco - when BMW AG had huge financial problems as well, not to mention all resources were focused on Rover at that time. A huge mistake!
But despite some imperfections BMW's risky payed off. And during the time tech & design matured - becoming less clumsy, and more reliable.
OK ... now Bangle is gone, but the avant-garde design strategy stays. Ver 2.0. Refined - as seen on F01 7er, and E89 Z4. Flame surfacing still there, shark-fin antenna still there, eyebrows still there, modern shapes still there etc. No radical change at all. And there won't be any in the future as well.
Direction is set, and under execution. With or without Bangle. It doesn't really matter. But - as said in press release: he will stay closely tied with BMW AG in the future as well - I guess as a consultant on future design trends & visions.