BMW’s Bangle era is probably its most famous—or infamous—era of design. While most BMW enthusiasts have softened on their Bangle stances, his time as BMW’s design boss is a controversial one. Admittedly, as design boss of any company, Bangle got both too much hate and too much praise, as he wasn’t the one penning most of the designs. Instead, the design boss is sort of like a conductor, guiding the orchestra of designers. However, because he was the face of BMW’s design at the time, all of the cars made during his tenure are attributed to him, for better or worse. Some of those cars were great looking. Some not so much. So let’s take a look back on the Bangle era and at some of the cars made during his time at BMW, to see which is the best looking.

There are a few cars that I really like from the Bangle era, cars that I’ve always liked but that I’ve grown to like more and more as the years go by. One such car is the E90 3 Series, which was initially penned by Joji Nagashima, the same designers who also came up with the Z3. The Z3 was the first BMW designed under Bangle’s guidance and it’s also one of the best. The BWM X5 is another car that’s aged incredibly well, which was originally drawn by Frank Stephenson under Bangle. However, the car I think represents the best of the Bangle era is the first-generation BMW Z4.

The original E85-generation Z4 was designed by Anders Warming and it best represented what Bangle was trying to achieve with BMW’s design language in my eye. I’m not sure Bangle would agree, maybe he feels otherwise, but I think the original Z4 is the best to come from that era.

If you look at the original Z4 today, it still looks as fresh and as modern as it did back then, while also still looking like a properly classic roadster. It’s nearly proportionally perfect for a sports car, it has funky (but not overly funky) surfacing, every line, angle, and curve actually lead somewhere and connect to one another, and, despite having a ton of interesting design elements, there’s nothing superfluous.

Look at the shoulder line which goes from the top of the wheel arch—whose highest point is above the wheel, as it should be—through the door and into the door handle. Then, the door shut line goes down and swoops back toward the front wheel and, if you continue it through the front wheel, into the front bumper, and into the hood shut line. It’s all beautifully cohesive and purposeful and makes a mockery of modern BMW design, where lines disappear into nothingness. On the Z4, there’s also an angled line that starts at the bottom of the front wheel arch and works backward toward the door but its point ends exactly at the intersection of the door crease and shoulder line.

What about the rear wheel arch? Not only does it give the rear end muscularity, its crease perfectly lines up with the front shoulder line. It’s simple and purposeful, while also being stylish and unique. If you ask me, it’s the best design to come from the Bangle and one of the best BMW designs of the modern era.