Chris Bangle mucked up a lot of early BMWs, it wasn't until a LOT of LCIs that corrected some of his very dreadful designs... the pre-7-series comes to mind with its upside down headlights - just a horrible looking car with absolutely no resale value do to its one-take design. And the stupid idea of changing the kidney grills by adding eye-lids... another major design/brand hit to BMW IMO. It took a lot of time and a lot of money for BMW to correct these flaws across the line, but eventually, some of them worked out. But this shouldn't have been the case to begin with, BMW shouldn't have had to work anything out to those extremes, accept for some light design-que updates here and there. I will give credit though to one design I think Chris Bangle hit out of the park, which is the e60.
Now, for BMWs new gen cars... I just don't know what to say. They're terribly boring, no different than a Toyota. I don't think they have a design philosophy anymore, it's about margin and how well their cars will do in the emerging markets. That's where the dough and longevity numbers are for BMW. They don't care if they appeal to EU and the North American market. But they're making a major mistake IMO... and these new lackluster and Toyota-minded designs will eventually affect the brand, regardless of how rich they may become in Asia and elsewhere. Eventually, that bubble will burst, and when it does, it's going to be quite the collapse.
Interestingly enough though, if you take Mercedes for instance, who are also aiming for riches from the emerging markets, have kept true to their design philosophies and IMO, are out designing BMW ten-fold. I thought I would never say that, but I feel this can be a true statement. Are Mercs better than BMW when it comes to build quality and reliability? Probably not... Are they more appealing? Yes, absolutely. Do they look bad-ass when you see them coming down the highway? Hell... yes. How about the new 5-series? I yawn actually, as well as almost mistaken it for another dime-a-dozen Toyota.
It's a shame BMW has lost its way... and further yet, diluted their brand with too many choices... and too many models... Just think of how little time they have to spend on "each" one of these new models now... to refine and produce the most outstanding product. They don't anymore... Teams were able to spend a majority of their time designing from the ground up a handful of models, now they have to do the same, in the same amount of time, for well over a dozen, with the same labor-force. This spells half-baked designs, cheaper quality, poor forward thinking, and lessor engineering and more dependence on correcting these flaws with operating systems.