You iDrive Me Crazy

Chris Bangle’s assignment was daunting. The American-born car designer’s task was not for the faint-hearted: to redesign BMW’s flagship car, the 745i. Changing the iconic German car too radically would risk alienating the company’s traditional customer base. Staying too conservative would stick BMW with a dated look for years to come.

In 2002, amid great fanfare, BMW rolled out the new 745i. Conservative it was not. Bangle’s bold design generated an immediate and intense reaction from the automotive press. He was hailed as a genius by some and a madman by others. His design was praised and vilified, although far more of the latter than the former. The most dramatic feature of the car, its rounded trunk, was quickly labeled ...

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