Chris' column – 4th February 2009

So farewell then Chris Bangle: your capacity to cause controversy was limitless and your powers of persuasion were legendary.

On reflection, I think the motor industry will be a much, much poorer place without Chris Bangle who, after 17 years styling cars, has decided to go and ruffle feathers some place new.

What Bangle did better than anyone else was challenge conventions, and not in the most basic sense because any fool can do that through simple parody or juvenile, extreme behaviour. Defecating on an E46 M3 may be controversial but it is ultimately meaningless.

No, the brilliance of Bangle -and whether you like his designs or not, the man has to be considered something beyond the ordinary- is that he sparked a debate that raged for the best part of a decade, and all the while he transformed the controversial into the commercial. As we all debated the relative hideousness of his first 7-Series, then vomited at the early press shots of the current 5-Series, BMW sold more-and-more cars.

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