The Bangle Butt

7-series | January 21st, 2015 by 21
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The car that most people will remember Chris Bangle by is the E65 7 Series and the infamous Bangle Butt

Chris Bangle was the chief designer for BMW from 1992 all the way until he quit, not only BMW but the auto industry all together, in 2009. He is responsible for many great cars including the Z3, Z4 and the E63 6 Series. However, the car that most people will remember him by is the E65 7 Series.

The 7 Series was not met with kind words when it debuted in 2001. Many considered it to be, let’s be kind, ugly. The main criticism of the E65 was its trunk, nicknames “Bangle Butt”. The E65’s trunk had a very bulbous, bulging decklid that seemed to protrude too far up and out. It was just plain wrong in most people’s eyes.

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The E65 7er is starting to gain quite a following, with people proclaiming Bangle to be a genius and visionary and that the E65 was simply too far ahead of its time. Regardless of its new cult status, though, Bangle never lived the Bangle Butt down. It didn’t help that the E60 5 Series and E63 6 Series had similar rear ends.

The design team did fix the ugly butt just a few years later in one of BMW’s other significant facelifts.

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Unfortunately for Bangle, all of the criticism led to his eventual retirement. Yes, he supposedly quit on his own terms, but the millions of people calling for his job probably had a little bit to do with it. Many loyal BMW fans were outraged by his radical designs that seemed to stray so far from BMW’s DNA, so they wanted him out.

It’s rather sad actually, because Bangle was and is still an amazing and inspiration car designer – he just had some unfortunate few designs. Plus, the Bangle Butt 7 Series wasn’t the only BMW to be dismissed by the BMW faithful at its unveiling. The 5 Series GT comes to mind. The 5 GT is far uglier than anything Bangle designed. And though I’m a fan, the X1 isn’t a particularly good looking car either nor was it widely accepted as such.

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BMW is on a bit of a roll in the design department. The 6 Series Gran Coupe is a Sienna Miller on four wheels, the 4 Series looks excellent as does the new 2 Series. So while BMW took a bit of a hit during the Bangle years, it seems to be back on track.

Bangle may have been misunderstood and his designs ahead of their time but that won’t bring his job back. He is a great designer in actually, but will always be plagued by the infamous Bangle Butt.

21 responses to “The Bangle Butt”

  1. BimmerThom says:

    What about the detail, that the Bangle Butt at all not came from Bangle, but from Adrian van Hooydonk?

  2. BIGVBUTTS says:

    my farther owns this car he loves the shape bangle did he will never sell his 7 series.

  3. viper says:

    E60 is still more appealing and unique than the F01 , even the bangle 6 series looks better than new 6er , the F01 looks like the xl version of the f10 , the current bmw design is not exciting at all.

  4. tarena1991 says:

    The Pre-facelift E-65 was a decade ahead of its time. It was daring, artistic and gave you the feeling that you were truly buying something unique and special. Every 7 after (to me) has looked like an apology for the E-65 and consequently…boring and dull as hell.

    • Joseph says:

      The E38 7-series was such a head turning car. because it was beautiful to look at. Cars should be beautiful to look at, not “unique” or “daring” alone.

      • gopher652003 says:

        Maybe it’s just that I’m looking at an old 90s car from 20 years later (rather than in the design context of the time), but the E38 was ugly. Butt ugly.

  5. Bangle Lover says:

    It is amazing how soon we forget that the bangle butt 7series outsold the S class and Audi A8. It was the first time ever. The bangle butt changed the automotive design forever. It was the Bangle butt design that make Lexus stop copying Mercedes Benz and started looking like the Bimmer. Take a look at the current LS 460. Nobody complains about this car. Isn’t that funny. I actually owned the Bangle butt for 6years. It was the ultimate driving machine. Mr. Bangle had guts and followed his instincts. The automotive work cleverly followed him. Kudos to Mr Bangle.

  6. Joseph says:

    The 4-Series front looks quite ugly to my eyes. The 6-Series
    “GranCoupe” is the only decent looking car BMW currently makes (June
    2015).

    Aside from looks, the cars now have underpowered,
    laggy turbo engines that pale in comparison the silky-smooth M54 engines
    found in the E46 models (which were also beautiful looking) that
    provided INSTANT, ample power at any RPM and speed.

    And the
    steering and road feel is now as mushy as a Buick. The company is
    seriously lost, making too many models, all of them lacking. The cars
    apparently “sell” well, but my hunch is most “buyers” are actually
    leasing them, with the smallest engine, to claim “I have a BMW” and are
    not true car or driving fans.

    The days of “The Ultimate Driving Machine” are long gone. Hopefully someday that will change…

    • Lisa S. says:

      I had an E46 (that was absolutely stunning even 12 years old) and now an E92. I admit I am biased but it is ridiculously pleasing to drive. I recently drove a 2015 328 and that ‘economode’ or whatever that is, was horrible. I wouldn’t buy that car. My 335 has has no lagging turbo, that’s for sure! What year/ model started this lagging you mention? I don’t want it.

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