One of the strong side effects of Chris Bangle’s strategy at BMW is that he resisted the temptation to soften the sometimes controversial designs, despite public criticism. And right he was, since from the compact 1-series to the exotic 6-series coupe and convertible, all of the creations he and his team have delivered have added to BMW’s individualistic image.
But eight years after the presentation of the Z9 concept study at the Frankfurt motor show, the time was ripe to evaluate all the work done since, and enter the next stage of creativity of the Munich brand. “Let’s call it romantic,” Bangle said in Shanghai where the latest BMW Concept CS study was presented. But he leaves telling the detailed story of this 5.11 meters long flagship limousine to Adrian van Hooydonk, BMW’s vice president of design who had laid the cornerstones of the brand’s current design language.
CS looks softer and more balanced in terms of graphics and proportions than all of today’s models. So is BMW giving in to its critics? “No, I definitely do not see this as a departure from our current style,” says van Hooydonk. “Quite the contrary, it is a logical progression. In fact. We feel freer than ever before to create sculptural shapes, although I must admit that CS is generating less of a shock compared to what we did a decade ago.
Van Hooydonk got his briefing in the summer of 2006. “It was an open briefing, just like I got for the Z9 in the late Nineties, but as long as we would show what BMW was up to. And from our own perspective, we wanted to show our future vision, as well as how we would be able to create a large car.”
The article continues in Auto & Design no. 165