Hyundai gets BMW’s Christopher Chapman as chief designer

Article by Anita Panait, on December 23, 2011

Christopher Chapman is now Hyundai Design Center’s chief designer, leaving his job as BMW’s director of the Transportation Design Department. Chapman is now responsible for designing Hyundai’s new vehicles and concepts. He moved to BMW DesignworksUSA in 1994, where he designed the bodies of the X5 Sport Activity Vehicle and X Coupe concept car. He also designed the CS1 concept and the production 1 series Coupe.

Chapman started his career at the Isuzu Technical Center of America in 1989, and designed the Isuzu XU-1 concept car, which won him the Best Concept at the 1993 Tokyo Motor Show. He moved to BMW DesignworksUSA in 1994, where he designed the bodies of the X5 Sport Activity Vehicle and X Coupe concept car. He also designed the CS1 concept and the production 1 series Coupe.

Chapman became BMW’s Director of Automotive Design in 2002, and was involved in the design of the X5, X3, Z4, and 1-series E87. He was BMW’s Transportation Design Department since 2008. SukGeun Oh, Head of Design and Senior Executive Vice President at Hyundai Design Center, said that Chapman’s 22 years of experience as designer of “esteemed automotive brands” will help further the company’s design portfolio.

The 2011 BMW X5 has a strong and agile presence, thanks to a body design that is characterized by perfectly balanced proportions. It has a long wheelbase, large light-alloy wheels, and short body overhangs at the front and rear, all giving the car an excellent visual balance.

Moreover, the BMW X5 has square-shaped flared wheel arches that hint at its all-wheel drive traction, as well as its other-roads capability. Its body lines also sweep upwards from its front and rear wheels, and this conveys the 50-50 front-to-rear weight distribution and balance, which is essential to the car's well-known driving dynamic.

Character lines of the BMW X5 that you will surely find impressive include the strong and elegantly stretched horizontal lines on the sides, the hood surface that smoothly flows into the waistline, and the door handle level’s prominent and gently inclined contour line that extends from the front to rear wheel arches. These character lines lend a powerful and stable personality to the car.

Aside from these, the BMW X5 has a strong and expressive front end with its large kidney grille, its dual round headlights, and, as mentioned, a distinctively contoured hood. Leading the new interpretation of the X5's look is the redesign of its front fascia and the position of its standard foglamps.

Additionally, the front end appears lower due to more body elements. At the same time, boosted engine output is hinted by the increased sized of the outer and the central air intakes. And extending across the width of this central air intake is a matte silver protection plate, which emphasizes the SAV’s muscular features and accentuates the character of the new BMW X5. Meanwhile, the black trim found at the body’s bottom edge is considerably narrower.

The car’s dual round-shaped Xenon Adaptive headlights as well as its foglamps are also placed higher and can be found closer to the kidney grille. These new headlight fixtures convey high quality as well as sporting intentions. The signature corona rings of the BMW also serve as daytime driving lights and position lights.

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Topics: hyundai, bmw, design

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