7. Chris BangleBMW AG director of designStill steps ahead of the competition2008 Rank: 6
Why he's still our top-ranked designer: Last year showed the BMW Gina Light Visionary Concept, a fabric-skinned roadster.
What that's about: "The Gina philosophy in its short form? It's about being flexible," Bangle says. That describes his mindset as Bangle has withstood nasty criticism since the 2002 7 Series went on sale.
His reply to criticism: The 2009 7 Series, while the competition continues to copy that 2002 model, which became one of BMW's most successful sedans.
Best known for: "Surface excitement."
And he's part of the lexicon: "Bangle butt."
And there's the online petition: "Stop Chris Bangle" has 14,739 signatures.
Victim of the economy: The automaker has canceled plans to build the CS, perhaps the most handsome sedan to come from Bangle's studios.
He says: "A car designer is really a sculptor. Cars are the sculptures of our everyday lives."
We say: Like any good artist, Bangle's work is controversial.