Chris Bangle finds modern car design to be boring

Interesting, News | September 17th, 2017 by 23
chris bangle bmw3

If you’re well-versed in BMW’s history, the name “Chris Bangle” is certainly one you’re aware of. For better or worse, Bangle is well known by …

If you’re well-versed in BMW’s history, the name “Chris Bangle” is certainly one you’re aware of. For better or worse, Bangle is well known by almost all BMW fans. He’s the man most famously responsible for leading the design on the E60-generation BMW 5 Series, quite possibly the worst looking 5er ever. Love it or hate it, there’s no denying that Bangle’s design language was not boring.

Apparently, though, Bangle is disappointed with the current state of automotive design, claiming it to be boring, specifically among German manufacturers.

BMW E60 5 Series images 21 750x500

Bangle-Designed E60 BMW 5 Series

During an interview with Auto News at the Frankfurt Motor Show, Bangle recently said of a German car company’s display “It’s a wonderful stand, it has a wonderful amount of technology they are showing,” said Bangle. “But as a designer I am used to a set of uniqueness and freshness and change. This will turn into a critique of [insert brand name] and I really don’t want it to be published like that, but for the life of me I can’t find a new idea.  They have really good designers, but I’ve seen this all before in other places.”

He was speaking about a German car company, one of his former competitors while at BMW, but his criticisms are aimed at the industry itself. “Companies like that are getting so good at putting a sheen on what you already know that they’ll convince everybody that it’s new. And the young designers don’t know their own history. There is very little understanding where the past came from for car designers today because they are worried so much about just learning the tools. They’re being asked to do little more than just ‘ give me a little twist on what we just did.’ ”

Mercedes Benz EQA Concept 3 830x553

Bangle seems to feel that car companies are too afraid to take risks, so as to not hurt sales. And it’s hard to argue with him on that, especially in the German auto industry, as most automakers seem to be very conservative with their design languages as of late.

“If it’s left up to these hyper-conservative, hyper-terrified companies that are so huge, and where everything is resting on a bottom line that could go south at any minute…well, these are the last people to ask for the courage to go forward into the future. The LAST people.”

He makes quite a colorful analogy about conservative designs not leading to any good cars in the future. “They defend their brands like the virtue of Guinevere and they are doing it by putting a chastity belt around the girl and, sorry, that’s not how you make kids. That’s not how you make a future.”

Bangle’s concerns are pretty well-founded, as this may be one of the most boring eras, in terms of car design. Which is disappointing, because it’s one of the most exciting eras, in terms of performance and luxury. While Bangle’s designs were ahead of their time and controversial, they certainly weren’t boring.

If you find Bangle’s work to be tasteful and attractive, you’re in luck. As it turns out, a start up electric car company has hired Bangle to create its design language. “I can’t tell you really anything about it. It’s an existing company that comes from a manufacturing point of view – not an automaker. They understand hardware and electric vehicles very well, but they’ve never forayed into the automotive world. They came to us a couple of years ago and said, ‘we want to do a small car,’ and I said, ‘ why don’t you go up the street. Pininfarina is up the street. They’d love to do that for you’ and these guys said, ‘No we want to do it with you.” Apple, is that you?

[Source: Car Scoops]

23 responses to “Chris Bangle finds modern car design to be boring”

  1. Fritz says:

    He’s beating a dead horse at this point. I see enough fresh ideas. Trying to reinvent the wheel every time won’t get you very far either.

  2. Eddie says:

    It is hard to be a designer as you never have a clean sheet of paper. Every manufacturer has a certain grill or shape that want to preserve. With the wind tunnel, pedestrian safety, crash protection, etc., many vehicles look similar. With the New EV’s arriving there will be more sheets of clean paper. Many EV buyers like change, they love tech, and will be ready for non boring new school EV vehicles vs boring old school gas vehicles.

  3. Fred Pennic says:

    E60 LCI was the last dope 5er. Boring every since and you have to spend additional money to get that aggressive look.

  4. Arunabh says:

    He is more or less on target with his comments.

    And as far as ‘E60 being the worst designed 5er ever’ comment is concerned there is an army of fans out there who just never liked anything else after it.

    Park it next to a G30 and then ask people to tell which car appears more fresher and current between the two.

    • Fred Pennic says:

      Don’t get me wrong, I like the new G30, but in order for it to have that aggressive BMW look I love, I would have to wait for LCI or spend additional $20k on aftermarket to get that sporty look that BMW previously delivered consistently. Give me the E60 on the outside and the G30 on the inside. I’m sure they will push out an LCI that might hit the nail for me.

  5. BMW from 90's says:

    E60, E65, E66, F01 This is BORING ang UGLY design! …i’ts like W210 for Mercedes Benz …only shit!

  6. Giom says:

    The man has some good points. But, I think you can have exciting designs without it being (too) controversial. It’s been proven over and over again that esthetic beauty sells. I would say, the 8 Series concept car is a good example. The outgoing X3 is the perfect example of boring. This has changed – thank goodness. The X7 concept – NOT boring, but controversial… you get my point.

    • Senne says:

      I agree, except that I don’t think the outgoing X3 is boring… The X7 Concept however is definitely “not boring, but controversial”. Which isn’t necessarily a good thing indeed.

      • Giom says:

        Interesting… I didn’t think any BMW fan was particularly fond of the old X3. Just goes to show… so many tastes out there – how do you satisfy all? Impossible to do…

  7. HK says:

    The Donald Trump of car design

  8. Senne says:

    Saying that the E60 is the worst designed 5er ever goes pretty far. I couldn’t think of any generation 5 Series that doesn’t look very good in its own way. They all have a very timeless design. The E60 Sedan looks really good even today. The Touring I’m not a huge fan of. I like the E39 Touring, F11 and G31 very much though. I personally like the F10 and G30 as least as much as the E60. But I’m sure there are plenty of fans that would prefer the E60.

    I can’t help but agree with Bangle. There aren’t many vehicles above 30K that are ugly. But not many are as fascinating as older cars either. The reason is obvious: manufacturers don’t want to take the risk of losing sales because the design is too futuristic or too different of what people are used to. It’s kinda sad. But it’s the truth. I still think the newest BMWs still look very exciting, like the new G01 or even the G30 and G10.

  9. Rad Dockery says:

    He is correct. Time to step up car designs again…

  10. Max says:

    In some way its true.
    But seriously, why would BMW make a 5er (which is arguably their best and most important car) controversial again? This car needs do be perfectly balanced, and I think (and a lot of others too) they did a great job on that G30! Its a cash cow, u cant make experiments with that anymore. E60 was a totally different time. And I think if u look at the Z4 and 8er, dynamic vision etc. they will have a more exciting design language in the future, but these are cars where it makes totally sense to do so and not their bread and butter…

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