2009 BMW 7 Series Long Term Road Test


2009 BMW 750i: Returning to its Spiritual Home

October 08, 2009

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The Art Center College of Design in Pasadena is arguably the world's leading automotive design school. So when I was invited to participate in a class, the first consideration was not what am I going to wear, but what am I going to drive? After all, I'm going to be talking with tomorrow's design leaders.

Of all the cars in the Inside Line fleet, the 2009 BMW 750i seemed the most logical, given that the last two BMW design chiefs were Art Center graduates: Chris Bangle ('81) and current head of design Adrian van Hooydonk ('92). (Maybe this was why there was a reserved, curbside parking spot for me when I arrived?)

While BMW was not the focus of the outside class, the Bimmer's stance gradually sucked in the attention of the designers-in-waiting. They walked around, peered inside the cabin and one gently traced the lines of the hood with his finger, for added sensory training. Either that or it was a not-so-subtle reminder to head to the car wash next.

Class instructor David O'Connell, former head of Mitsubishi Motors Design, abandoned his lesson plan and joined his students, as did Stewart Reed, the school's chair of transportation design, for an impromptu walk-around.

Nearly two hours passed while the car was inspected from headlamps to lip spoiler. Finally, it was time to say good bye. Pulling out of the tree-lined hillside campus, I couldn't help but sense that Art Center is the 750i's spiritual home.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @18,669 miles

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