Controversial former BMW design boss oversees new Chinese electric car

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Chris Bangle’s designs for BMW are still talked about almost two decades on – and now the once-retired designer has joined a new Chinese brand.

The man who designed some of BMW’s most recognisable 21st-century models has been quietly helping a Chinese electric car start-up.

Last week, Xiaomi – the world’s third-biggest selling manufacturer of smartphones – unveiled the SU7, a Porsche Taycan-sized electric sedan due to be sold in China next year.

While the Xiaomi SU7’s design was attributed of Tianyuan Li (ex-BMW iX) and James Qiu (ex-Mercedes-Benz), former BMW head of design Chris Bangle was brought in as a design consultant for the project.

Bangle served as BMW’s head of design from 1992 until 2009, during which time he penned the mid- to late-2000s 1 Series, 3 Series, 5 Series, 6 Series and 7 Series – all of which received a mixed reception at the time, but in many cases have developed a following today.

Following his departure from the car industry in 2009, Bangle started his own design firm but only recently came back to help design a vehicle – joining to assist in the design of Xiaomi’s first model.

It is not known whether the US-born designer will continue to work with Xiaomi.

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As previously reported, the Xiaomi SU7 is available as both a single-motor rear-wheel-drive and dual-motor all-wheel-drive model, developing 220kW/400Nm and 495kW/8838Nm respectively.

Xiaomi has not yet announced plans to produce right-hand-drive electric cars for markets such as Australia.

Jordan Mulach is Canberra/Ngunnawal born, currently residing in Brisbane/Turrbal. Joining the Drive team in 2022, Jordan has previously worked for Auto Action, MotorsportM8, The Supercars Collective and TouringCarTimes, WhichCar, Wheels, Motor and Street Machine. Jordan is a self-described iRacing addict and can be found on weekends either behind the wheel of his Octavia RS or swearing at his ZH Fairlane.

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