This is probably why he left
An explanation for the resignation of Chris Bangle from BMW has appeared on the Internet. Information gathered from the BMWblog.com points to a difference of opinion regarding the design direction of Project i. Project i which has been given the go-ahead by the BMW board of directors, is about "new car and mobility concepts" meant to explore transportation solutions for the biggest cities. This important project is still in its infancy in motor industry terms but the infancy stage is when things design-related get created, discussed and approved. It seems Bangle had a clash of ideas with BMW CEO Dr Norbert Reithofer, Chief of Research & Development Dr Klaus Draeger and his own protégé Adrian van Hooydonk in as far as Project i was concerned.
The clash was about whether Project i would fall under one of the three existing BMW brands (excluding Motorrad and M) or be serviced under a brand new label. Each of these brands - BMW, MINI and Rolls Royce has its own design language. Bangle then decided to fall on his sword rather than take responsibility for a design strategy he did not approve.
The BMW board tried to convince him to stay, even offered him other positions at BMW. One of these positions was that of Design Director at Designworks USA where van Hooydonk once plied his trade. All this was in vain. He had made up his mind to leave. However he will still work with BMW in his new personal design initiative.
A new era of design has now been ushered at BMW in which final direction will come from Adrian van Hooydonk. Because lead times are counted in years, van Hooydonk's style will only be seen in the next 6 or 7 years time. But his concepts like the CS Concept can already be appreciated.
This is for people who think "Bangle" ruined BMW
And just to throw this out there..."Chris Bangle Didn't Do It! No, Seriously!"
He wasn't directly responsible for most of the designs he gets made fun of for. Here's a list of who designed the exteriors of a lot of recent BMWs...
* Joji Nagashima: E90/E91 3 series, E36 3 series, E36/7 Z3, E39 5 series
* Adrian van Hooydonk: E63/E64 6 series, E65/E66 7 series, Z9 GT Concept, Z9 Convertible Concept, MINI ACV30 Concept ... (now Head of Design BMW Automobile)
* Geoff Velasco: E83 X3
* Anders Warming: E85 Z4 roadster, GINA Light Concept, Mille Miglia 2006 Coupe Concept ... (now Head of Exterior design BMW Automobile)
* Chris Chapman: E87/E81 1 series hatchback, E53 X5, X-coupe Concept, CS1 Concept ... (now Head of Automotive Design @ BMW Group DesignworksUSA)
* Erik Goplen: E46 3 series
* Davide Arcangeli: E60/E61 5 series
* Tomasz Sycha: E86 Z4 Coupe
* Marc Michael Markefka: E92/E93 3-series coupe & cabrio, E82/E88 1-series coupe & cabrio
* Pierre Leclercq: E70 X5, X71/E72 X6
* Karim Antoine Habib: CS Concept, F01/F02 7-series, *** "new 8-series" (project "GranTurismo")
* Juliane Blasi: E89 Z4 roadster ... yes, it's a woman
* Jacek Froehlich: F10 / F11 5-series
* Mark Djordjevic: RR Phantom family (Phantom, Drophead Copue, Coupe)
* Frank Stephenson: R50-R53 MINI Mk1
* Marcus Syring: R55-R58 (R60?) MINI Mk2
Note that Bangle is nowhere to be found here (though of course he had a role in them)...and it was van Hooydonk who brought us the 'infamous' E65/66 7 Series and E63 6 Series.
Hopefully BMW will go in a better direction now.