You are on a BMW enthusiast site, so you probably know all there is to know about Chris Bangle. However, you might not know about his most recent role at a newly founded car company. Xiaomi, the Chinese tech giant that sells smartphones and other electronic devices, is now selling cars. The lead designer of its first model – the SU7 electric sedan – is former BMW designer Li Tianyuan who worked on the iX.
Chris Bangle is now a design consultant for Xiaomi’s car division, helping the newcomer shape up its future EVs. Meanwhile, he has already been featured in a few promotional videos for the SU7. Xiaomi is the fourth car company the controversial designer has worked for. Before joining BMW as the brand’s first-ever American chief of design, Bangle worked for Fiat. Before that, he started his career at Opel in the first half of the 1980s, back when the German brand was still owned by General Motors.
Born in Ohio, the 67-year-old designer is the man behind (pun intended) the Bangle Butt adopted initially by the 7 Series (E65) in 2001 with its bulbous trunk. The E63 6 Series Coupe also had an enlarged derrière, much like the E64 6 Series Convertible and the E60 5 Series Sedan. However, these production cars were all preceded by the Z9 Gran Turismo concept in 1999.
Many important models were launched during the Bangle era, which lasted from 1992 until 2009. Earlier this week, we celebrated the 25th anniversary of the first-generation X5 (E53), the luxury SUV that went on to change the company forever.
Some of BMW’s current designs in Domagoj Dukec’s reign are just as polarizing, especially the ones with an upright grille and/or split headlights. However, sales numbers published this week in the United States revealed demand was impressively strong in 2023. BMW set a new annual record last year in the US by shipping 362,244 vehicles.
Time will show how we’ll look back at these designs 10-20 years from now.
Source: Lei Jun / X