We recently had the opportunity to get a sneak peek at two out of three books in a series: “BMW by Design” and “BMW’s Hidden Gems,” both authored by Steve Saxty. In a surprising turn of events, BMW opened the doors of its Design Studio for the first time, granting access to previously unseen cars. Saxty enjoyed complete access to former and current BMW designers, engineers, and managers, providing valuable insights into the brand’s design history. Uncovering some well-kept secrets, one notable revelation was a GINA-inspired BMW 3 Series Coupe (E92). Before delving into this unique subject, let’s first explore who GINA is and its significance for BMW.

Who is GINA?

If you are a fan of innovative and futuristic car designs, you might have heard of the BMW GINA Light Visionary Model. This is a concept car that was unveiled by BMW in 2008, and it features a fabric skin that can change its shape according to the driver’s preferences and the driving conditions.

GINA is an acronym for “Geometry and functions In ‘N’ Adaptions”, which means that the car can adapt its geometry and functions to different situations. The fabric skin is made of polyurethane-coated Spandex, which is elastic, water-resistant, and translucent. The fabric is stretched over a movable metal frame that consists of aluminum wires and flexible carbon struts. The fabric skin allows the car to have a seamless and smooth appearance, with only four panels: the hood, the two side panels, and the trunk.

BMW Design Concept Based On GINA

So this is a good cut off point because the last sentence is key. The book reveals that in early 2000s BMW was in the designing and development phase of the E9x 3 Series generation. Christopher Weil, the current boss of BMW exterior design, was at a time a young designer in Munich. Under the guidance of Chris Bangle, Weil used a GINA-type of cloth to cover the frame of a 3 Series Coupe design proposal.

The book says that Bangle “was keen to see how GINA could influence a metal car, using shapes and forms that only BMW could own.” The design proposal was presented to the board who was reluctant of car’s plain design. Then Bangle did a Bangle thing: he revealed that the car was made of cloth. “[…] and that was pretty shocking! [to the board], Bangle says in the book.

Of course, the design proposal didn’t go anywhere and the E90 3 Series was designed by Joji Nagashima. Yet to this date, Bangle believes that the GINA concept gave designers and engineers the freedom to think differently about body materials and explore new possibilities in car design. There are a lot more details about GINA in the book and what it means for the BMW brand.

Books Available To Order Now

The three-volume boxed set will be available soon – at a pre-order price of £244.95, around $300. That is a great price, for these books would be a bargain at twice the price. Alternatively, the principal book, “BMW by Design” is available immediately for £79.95, around $100 – all with free shipping in USA, UK and EU.

[Top Image Provided by BMW Group / Book Images Provided by Steve Saxty]