Is the E9X M3 a GOAT BMW design?

Is the E9X M3 a GOAT BMW design?

A discussion on design

Joji Nagashima and Marc Michael Markefka expanded upon the Chris Bangle design language to achieve its ultimate expression with the E9X M3.

M. Bangle coined his design language as “Flame Surfacing” - others called it Bangled, a letter away from “bungle”.

In a world of ever evolving design restrictions due to safety requirements and budget constraints, Joji & Michael sculpted the M3 from the “ordinaire” body of the standard E9X with the now standard M treatment.

The Signature Elements

The bulged front and rear fenders, the legendary mirror design, the M Power dome, the purposeful front bumper openings, the signature Hofmeister kink. 

What initially was perceived as plush has evolved to be considered as a spartan interior: analog, orange gauges with simple materials and a never-to-be-seen-again single hump configuration. 

Pardon the dirty wheel. 

Last but not least, the E9X M3 saw the introduction of the best wheel design, ever: the M359 ZCP.

It’s all there: it’s a classic.

The E9X M3 also saw the release of M Performance parts “en masse” - BMW M’s relentless push for profits, or to improve upon a legendary design? 

I truly believe this was the last “bean counters be damned” M car. 

The subtle touches of carbon fiber with the splitters, mirrors and trunk spoiler all served to augment the aggressive nature of the M3. 

The GTS: business in the front, party in the back.

The E92 M3 design language culminated with the GTS, sort of. 

The front lip design is masterpiece. The same can’t be said about the rear wing. 

Developed to meet pedestrian safety regulations, we'll give it a pass.

The GTS wing situation was resolved with their GT4 Motorsport product line and 140mm MK2 wing and a duct'ed, extended front lip design. 

The E9X M3 has survived and thrived through time, as it arguably sits on Mount Rushmore of BMW Designs alongside the GOATs like the E46 M3 CSL.

As with most things related to design, we are prisoners of the moment.

Ultimately, the test of time determines the winners & losers on bold, innovative designs labeled as controversial.

The Bangle designs are now 2 generations old, as we look back it might just be the best design era of BMW.

Maybe - said the prisoner of “nostalgia”.

Can we say the same about the new G8X M design language?

Doubtful - said the prisoner of “now”.


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