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Before he set the BMW world on edge with his controversial aesthetics, Chris Bangle had a comfortable post at Fiat, where he designed the Fiat Coupe, a car never sold in North America but regarded as an iconic and revolutionary design.
French auto website Cardisiac is reporting that Bangle, who quit BMW in 2009, may be headed back to Fiat as the brand prepares to expand outside of Europe. With Volkswagen acquiring Italdesign, Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne is hoping to secure his own supply of design talent before any sort of arms race/buying spree occurs. Fiat’s current lineup is pretty snazzy, but there’s no denying that some of the Dodge/Chrysler/Jeep products could use a looks-related rest to break them out of their current stalemate.
Thanks to the folks over at www.5post.com, we have hour first look at the BMW 5 Series Concept. Called the Concept 5 Series Gran Turismo, little is known about the vehicle yet other than what it looks like – and we wouldn’t exactly say it is beautiful. This is, after all, most likely the last BMW to be directly infused with Chris Bangle’s signature style.
The Concept 5 Series GT has styling hints from throughout the BMW range, including the new 7 Series, the X6 and the stunning Concept CS – plans for which have since been scrapped. The vehicle features a long hood, a tall mid-section and a hatchback style trunk. In fact, it looks as though BMW took a great deal of the design of this vehicle from Audi’s Sportback Concept – which will form the basis of the upcoming A7.
As for the engine, BMW hasn’t released any info as of yet but we do expect to see a turbocharged powerplant offered as one of the options.
We’ll be sure to bring you more information from the floor of the Geneva Auto Show, starting March 3rd.
Concept 5 Series GT:
Chris Bangle, the man behind the controversial BMW designs over the last several decades has announced he is leaving his post at BMW after 17 years. Bangle became the Director of the BMW Design Group in 1992 and has since become one of the world’s most famous infamous automotive designers.
Under Bangle’s leadership BMW has produced many new designs including the BMW Z3, BMW Z4, BMW X5, BMW Z8, BMW X3, the new BMW 6 Series, the BMW X6 and the BMW 1 Series. Bangle’s design department also developed the designs for the new MINI and the Rolls-Royce Phantom (at least he got one of them right). Bangle will more likely be remembered for the drastic new direction that he took vehicles like the BMW 7 and 5 Series in. He is also responsible for several new 3 Series designs.
Bangle will be replaced by Adrian van Hooydonk, the currently Head of BMW Automobile Design, who Bangle has worked with for the past 17 years.
“Christopher Bangle has had a lasting impact on the identity of BMW Group’s brands. His contribution to the company’s success has been decisive, and together with his teams he has mapped out a clear and aesthetic route into the future,” said Dr Klaus Draeger, BMW AG’s Board Member for Development.
Bangle has announced that he will not only be leaving BMW but the automotive industry in general, to pursue alternate design interests. He has stated, however, that he intends to keep close ties to BMW.
Caption: Adrian van Hooydonk
Bangle describes his replacement at “truly a top professional in our business,” adding that, “I am sure that the many strong design strategies he has helped us create for the BMW Group will continue to develop and evolve.”
Van Hooydonk, 44, was born in the Netherlands, studied at Delft Polytechnic University in Holland and at the Art Center Europ in Vevey, Switzerland, until 1992 when he went to work for BMW. In 2000 he went to California to work at BMW’s Designworks USA offices. He then was promoted to Head of the Brand Design Studio for BMW Automobiles. In his new position he will be responsible for design development for the BMW, Rolls-Royce and MINI brands.
His influence is already obvious on the 6 Series and 7 Series and he was highly involved in the Z9 concept car, the M1 Hommage and the stunning BMW Concept CS.
“I am honoured and extremely excited to take on this new responsibility“, said van Hooydonk. “BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce produce the best cars and motorcycles in their segment, and I am really looking forward to being able to contribute to the future development of these brands. I have no doubt that there are challenges ahead, but BMW’s depth in engineering and the passion of its talented design team are as strong as ever. Together I am sure we will be able to create some very sophisticated and extremely attractive concepts.”
Official release after the jump: