You won't have Chris Bangle to kick around anymore. The BMW Group design chief famously (or infamously, depending on your point of view) took BMW styling in a radical new direction beginning with the 2002 7 Series, a car that featured the extremely controversial "Bangle Bustle," and then really pushed the envelope (and some enthusiasts' patience) with the "flame-surfaced" 2002 Z4. The automaker's designs have mainstreamed considerably in the intervening years, but Bangle's impact is without question. Cues he pioneered have since been aped by other automakers; take the bustled trunklid of the Acura RL, for example.
And now he's quit BMW.
According to a brief statement released by the automaker, the 52-year-old Bangle has left to "...pursue his own design-related endeavors beyond the auto industry." From the sound of things, the breakup would appear to be an amicable one, as he will "maintain strong ties to the BMW Group." Then again, that could simply be an oblique way of noting that Bangle's influence on the vehicle lineup will be felt long after his departure. Adrian van Hoodydonk, the head of design for the BMW brand, will succeed Bangle as the head of BMW Group design.
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