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  #26  
Old 02-06-2009, 09:11 AM
username47 username47 is offline
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But there are trends in the auto-industry, just look at the car pictures in general relative to the time there were made. Everything one buys is somehow affected by current trends/fashions. Look at the new Acura TL with it's "pokemon smile". We are living in the era of smiling cars I guess.

I agree with everything said about BMW being the business. I would add that it's operations business mostly. Inventory/logistics/production. It is run by operations people with the highest profitability being the main target. Blaming one man just because he's visible is childish. Operations people prefer collective decisions where every stakeholder signs off on execution plan. If those cars wouldn't sell because of the design the designer would be fired immediately.

The main BMW objective was new market penetration and they've achieved this - BMW IS the status car in all "new economies." All that doesn't make me liking the E60 design though. But I like the looks of 335 convertible - so there is some hope for me there.

Money is not an issue for me. 5-series traditionally has been the "performance business sedan". It makes me their target customer. I hope their next design move would be to make 5 series to look mean and mean business.

Last edited by username47; 02-06-2009 at 09:16 AM.
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  #27  
Old 02-08-2009, 05:49 AM
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The BMW DESIGN problems are systemic; not wholly attributable to Bangle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Armensti View Post
Like 75% of the people who buy a newer bmw dont know anything about their car because i have asked many people questions about the car they drive and the only thing they seem to know is that its a BMW. Thats why they bought it because of the name
I don't disagree, and I won't lambaste Bangle as, (a) I don't know him, and (b), after two years with my blue bimmer, I've learned the BMW's core is systemic ... not tied to a single individual; it's on autopilot and will continue this way as long as there are buyers for what they build.

To clarify, I bought the BMW knowing nothing about it other than "people said it was a good car". Being a woman, I sought out myriad opinions from coworkers and friends, mostly male. I took their advice. I've lived with the result for a few years.

Conclusion? Well, they were right; and they were dead wrong. Those who knew what they were talking about were right, but, it turns out, they are in the vast minority (yes, I know, an oxymoron). That's the metaphor for BMW; an oxymoron. People "say" they are good cars but they don't know what they're talking about (bimmerfest board members accepted).

Why do I say that? Well, after two years of constantly working on my 2002 E39, I've come to appreciate much of what the design elements you guys appreciate about bimmers (likewise with the bikers and their beemers); but also I've slowly come to abhor the inattention to design where BMW management just doesn't seem to care about important things.

I could mention specifics but just search for my posts and you'll see plenty of details ... suffice to say that BMW itself, the corporate structure, the designers, their leadership, the engineers, all, seem to be attending to the hard stuff well (handling, performance, smoothness, braking, etc.) but totally failing on the really easy stuff (i.e., the recycled window cover materials that fail in two years, jack pads that constantly fall off, cluster & MID pixels that drop out due to a pressure-sensitive sticky, an FSU that can't even run a simple interior blower, a radiator that can't even hold water under heat and pressure, an American arm rest & telephone combo that is pure torture for both purposes, cheap paint on the roundel that flakes off in a car wash, flimsy plastic lower seat covers that scratch white and easily break, lousy cupholders that don't work and which snap off with the slightest pressure, an A/C condenser placed where it can't dry out so it blows stinky mold into the "luxury" cabin for your guests, a ventilation system that has no "off' button so you have to click fifteen times to shut the stink off, etc.).

I repeat those 75% don't know what they're talking about when they say BMW is "designed well". Bull donk. The overall design stinks. There is a severe lack of attention to detail on the stuff that also counts. I am convinced there was absolutely no quality testing on the components that I list above because the faults are manifest.

Now, I will say BMW advertising is designed well. And the hard stuff, the power train, the steering, the suspension & braking the performance, the handling on curves, wipers, etc. ... all that is G-R-E-A-T (well, except for that horrid clunk when braking over bumps that BMW NA won't admit to, what's with that?).

I say, now that I know what I'm talking about, that those 75% who buy a BMW because of overall design are full of it.

The BMW is a good car; it's just not anywhere near a great car mainly because it gets A's in the design of the hard stuff yet it fails miserably on the myriad of easy things --- such that an overall better-designed car can beat it in the design arena because of more consistent attention to what really matters in an automobile (Hint: The outside looks, the angel eyes, the Bangle butt, the cold black sport trim, etc. aren't what I care about).

I care about D-E-S-I-G-N and BMW gets a solid B solely because of the oxymoronic systemic company-wide inattention to the small stuff with concurrent attention to the hard stuff. This isn't Bangle. And it isn't the body. It's the guts, the core of the car; it's what makes up the "stuff" of a BMW.

Bangle didn't design the guts, BMW engineers did, BMW management did, BMW marketing did ... this supreme lack of attention to "the small stuff" is a culture that is pervasive in BMW Munchen and is no fault of Bangle himself.


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Last edited by bluebee; 02-09-2009 at 08:43 AM.
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  #28  
Old 02-08-2009, 07:06 AM
username47 username47 is offline
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It's interesting you've mentioned the "cultural differences". I've been working in Germany in 1995 for a year - essentially when the E39s were built. I drove and been driven around quite a bit in different cars by several people. People smoked a lot but _never_ took a beverage in the car. It's not like they've been saying "I shouldn't drink in the car" - they didn't even think this way.

We would go for a 3 hour business trip with my boss - he would make exactly 6 sigarettes to smoke exactly every 1/2 hour - and then he'd floor it in the autobahn - never even idea of drinking came to mind. The 200-220 km/h driving was the routine. We've used opels for those business trips. Every BMW I've seen on autobahn was going at least 230.

BMW was one of our customers (software) so I've heard some rumors about design decisions and "crazy americans" - in terms that americans constantly sue everybody and constantly drink in their cars(can you imagine that?)

So the main design elements - safe and stable on mind-boggling speeds with regular driver, lots of ashtrays and cupholders that are built as a checkbox for an american market - they all there and make perfect sense if you look at it from their prospective and that time.

Here in US people never drive this speeds on daily basis - may be only when they flee from cops or something. And they drink (eat, groom, use cellphones - you name it) in their cars a lot. So E39 main quality - being an ultimate driving machine - is severely under-appreciated. I mean people know it handles well but pretty much everything handles well now within 80mph range. On the other hand the "look at me" factor here is very important. It's also very important in "new economies".

So that's exactly what the BMW management has done - they've changed the car design to look "expensive" inside and out. It turns heads. And it worked. BMW was very successful last decade because cars looked the way they looked and people in US with it's speed limits and "new rich" in China/India/Russia where roads are crappy and traffic jams are everywhere appreciated the new design.

E39 is from another era. In a way it is a last "pure" BMW car.
Donna, did you look at new X3? It's a fine example of a good "domesticated" car.
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  #29  
Old 02-08-2009, 09:20 AM
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Scott ZHP Scott ZHP is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cosmos View Post
Bangle designed the e46 and assisted AVH in designing the last 7 and the e60. Bangle did not pen these cars but was blamed for signing off on them. Nothing will change.
Exactly. It's ironic that people are celebrating his successor, when he's the guy that penned alot of the ugliness you see today.
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  #30  
Old 02-08-2009, 10:34 AM
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Nothing will change under Hooeydonk. The very elements we most despise, he penned.
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  #31  
Old 02-09-2009, 08:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by username47 View Post
"cultural differences" - they didn't even think this way.
Your response was beautiful. I do believe BMW has good designers, and, well, Bangle, may be one of them ... and I agree with you, the entire culture is different over there in Bavaria ...

But, I really wish the Germans cared more about overall quality. I really do. I mean, why do I have to suffer so every time I place my thin unprotected elbows on that impossible (American version) E39 arm rest? Or why do the floor mats rip off their thinly glued velcro backing. Or why is an horribly expensive radiator made of cheap recycled plastic anyway? Or why does it cost me $100 or more just to switch my door locks off (I've ordered the Carsoft so I'll solve that problem for under $100 in parts!), etc.

Anyway, my point (and yours) is that Bangle is just one of many in a culture that is, shall we say, a bit different than ours.

It would be nice to see the difference in a chart between Bavarian and American culture:
BAVARIAN: AMERICAN
- Drive hard and fast (120mph?) -...- Drive like little old ladies (80mph)
- Smoke incessantly -...- Don't smoke (for the most part)
- Don't talk while driving -...- Constantly on the phone (or fiddling with the iPod use model).
- Germans??? -...- Americans???
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Last edited by bluebee; 02-09-2009 at 09:41 AM.
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  #32  
Old 02-09-2009, 10:50 AM
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I guess it's safe to sum all this up as "Bangle fumbles".... My 5 series is a 2000 and when I see the new 5's on the freeway or on the street, I still think the body style of mine beats those hands down... I just can't get into the smashed frog face and the tailights that look like the eyes of a hawk when they're lit up at night... we'll see if BMW makes a clear break from his design or "soften's the landing" so they don't offend anyone...
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  #33  
Old 02-09-2009, 11:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walksbimmer View Post
I guess it's safe to sum all this up as "Bangle fumbles".... My 5 series is a 2000 and when I see the new 5's on the freeway or on the street, I still think the body style of mine beats those hands down... I just can't get into the smashed frog face and the tailights that look like the eyes of a hawk when they're lit up at night... we'll see if BMW makes a clear break from his design or "soften's the landing" so they don't offend anyone...
I'm with you - couldn't imagine owning one. E60 certainly is an eye catcher if you see it once a day. If you see too many of them than this "look at me" design doesn't work. So I reap benefits - when I park my well-maintained 540 next to several smiling E60s thats ME who feel unique and special.

Last edited by username47; 02-09-2009 at 12:57 PM.
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  #34  
Old 02-10-2009, 12:38 PM
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I have had an E39 for a long time and i will agree the E60 to me first was an abomination but i will also agree that its a great head turner and to me has grown on me...

I will probably buy one just before the z10 is introduced.

I also agree that the 7 is not very good looking by bangle but i think it is just limited to 7.
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  #35  
Old 02-10-2009, 02:47 PM
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Pork... I agree... it's an abomination for sure... LOL... Usually, given some time, things like this "can" grow on you... it's like hearing a song repeatedly on the radio and at first you can't stand it, but it will eventually have you humming along... this car, after being out... hmmm... how long now?... hasn't grown on me yet... LOL... I'm really curious to see what the next gen will look like... you'know the post-modernistic Bangle look...
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  #36  
Old 02-11-2009, 08:08 AM
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Let's just see what Hooydonk has in store...
He's dutch so I trust him all the way...

Don't think it's gonna change much cause he worked with Bangle for over 17 years...


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  #37  
Old 02-11-2009, 09:05 AM
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Everyone loves the Dutch... LOL.... ooooohhhh... for 17 years? jeez... that's makes him Bangle's understudy... which means exactly what you said... much probably won't change... like my niece would say... eeeeewwwwwww....
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  #38  
Old 02-11-2009, 09:20 AM
username47 username47 is offline
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Based on Bangle's views, the next 5 should be an "evolutionary" car whatever BMW design team means by that.
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  #39  
Old 02-11-2009, 10:56 AM
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I saw some pictures of the new 7 series... the skin is... hmmm... an interesting design...
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  #40  
Old 02-13-2009, 12:47 PM
klu123 klu123 is offline
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Looked at my e60 again. To be fair, Chris Bangle did introduce many new design elements. Some of them are beautiful, such as the "Angel Eye", I like it. But some are extremely ugly, such as the butt. "Bangle Butt" is probably one of his design signatures showing up on every "Bangle models", 7, 5, you name it. The reality is - many people don't like it.

Bangle's design team also introduce a lot of changes to the interior. IMO, it looks more upscale then e39, it's beautiful, but a little bit too feminine. Yes, BMW needs to attract female drivers, but according to a demographics study, 72.1% of 5er drivers are male - the highest among mid-luxury car sector. I don't mean turning BMW into Corvettet-like "man's car", but its interior design should be in sync with its name, "the ultimate driving machine". Last, he could borrow many fashion design elements from Versace or Ferragamo, but trhe bottom of line is - this is a German car.

BMW stands for Bavaria Motor Works, not Beautiful Milan Works. In that sense, Chris Bangle maybe a genius fashion design, but he is definitely a bad bad auto designer.

So let's celebraate for his departure. Hopefully that Dutch guy could give us something more back-to-basic German design.
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  #41  
Old 02-14-2009, 10:01 PM
BMW318i_E36 BMW318i_E36 is offline
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Bush is gone, Bangle is gone ! Wow the world just got a little better. What do you guys think of the new guys designs?
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  #42  
Old 02-15-2009, 10:20 AM
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As I read all of these armchair quarterbacks venting spleen on the work (both actual and alleged) of Chris Bangle, the first thing that comes to mind is the below quote from Theodore Roosevelt:

"It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause, who at best knows achievement and who at the worst if he fails at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."

Honestly, the idea that you Walmart art critics would have somehow done better in his shoes is laughable.
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  #43  
Old 02-15-2009, 01:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kglesq View Post
as i read all of these armchair quarterbacks venting spleen on the work (both actual and alleged) of chris bangle, the first thing that comes to mind is the below quote from theodore roosevelt:

"it is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause, who at best knows achievement and who at the worst if he fails at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."

honestly, the idea that you walmart art critics would have somehow done better in his shoes is laughable.
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  #44  
Old 02-16-2009, 02:02 PM
klu123 klu123 is offline
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Originally Posted by kglesq View Post
Honestly, the idea that you Walmart art critics would have somehow done better in his shoes is laughable.
Most of us don't even have the qualification of running the White House, of course, we can't claim we could do a better job than George Bush did. According to your logic, all of us, the "Walmart Critics", should shut up and stop criticizing the Bush Administration, right? Let's imangine how Bush's spoekeman answers questions:

"Iraq war? So you think you could better command a war?"... "You never commanded a war? Then shut up!"

"Wallstreet meldown? So you think you could better manage trillion dollor budget?" ... "You never even managed a billion dollaw budget? Then shut up!"

...
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  #45  
Old 02-16-2009, 05:53 PM
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Originally Posted by klu123 View Post
Most of us don't even have the qualification of running the White House, of course, we can't claim we could do a better job than George Bush did. According to your logic, all of us, the "Walmart Critics", should shut up and stop criticizing the Bush Administration, right? Let's imangine how Bush's spoekeman answers questions:

"Iraq war? So you think you could better command a war?"... "You never commanded a war? Then shut up!"

"Wallstreet meldown? So you think you could better manage trillion dollor budget?" ... "You never even managed a billion dollaw budget? Then shut up!"

...
Neither I nor Mr. Roosevelt said anything of the sort, but if that's what you elect to take away from it, I suppose that's your business.
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  #46  
Old 02-16-2009, 05:56 PM
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  #47  
Old 02-16-2009, 06:14 PM
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Chris Bangle did great things for BMW and BMW Enthusiasts. He certainly was the driving force in taking BMW to the leading edge of automobile design, which resluted in strong sales growth.
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  #48  
Old 03-04-2009, 07:58 PM
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  #49  
Old 03-09-2009, 04:30 PM
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I think the current 5 series is a great design and one that is going to age very well. It's predecessor (E39?)was also a nice design but it was definitely on the bland side. I think the 7 series was heavy handed, the 1 series hatch badly proportioned and the 3 series spot on. The X5 is much better looking than any rival and the Z4 is a very sexy design. I think Bangle challenged with his designs and that's the way it should be. Otherwise there would be the slight evolution of existing designs which become boring after a while. There is also brand identity and image to be considered and Bangle definitely has given the BMW brand a sharper and more unique look. Certainly, sales numbers have not diminished.
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  #50  
Old 03-21-2009, 11:51 PM
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