The new BMW X3 made its world premiere at the 2010 Paris Motor Show. To create a highly competitive Sports Utility Vehicle that can beat the competitors, BMW did redefined the exterior of the X3 and totally redesigned the interior cabin. A lot has improved in terms of material quality and available controls. The successful redesign of the BMW X3 interior is attributed to its young designer, Ulrich Strohle. This interview by BMW Blog reveals the concept beneath the design:
BMWBLOG: How would you describe in a few words the new BMW X3?
Ulrich Ströhle: It’s a car that fits perfectly for active people, family people.
BMWBLOG: The previous X3 received a lot of criticism for its interior design, quality of the materials. Some people felt that the parts were taken from other cars. What have you improved the most?
Ulrich Ströhle: We really wanted to do a nice job with this one, a nice car with emotional surfacing like organic shaping. Very-high quality materials were used and we tried to handle the materials as they wanted to be. For example, we used the wood as it is. The wood, leather and armrest stand for themselves, so we tried to have authentic materials.
BMWBLOG: Driver orientation is back. Is this something that BMW will try to push forward for interior designs?
Ulrich Ströhle: I hope that we have never lost driver orientation. Driver orientation is our history, it’s where we come from, and for BMW it is so typical to have driver orientation. In this car, it’s geometrically emphasized, and for me the car should be oriented to the driver, and this can be designed in many ways. With the new X3, this is the way to go.
BMWBLOG: In designing the interior of the X3, what steps did you take to maximize interior capacity, while retaining comfort?
Ulrich Ströhle: Well, the car has more space, that’s physics. What we did in design is that we tried to use the angles and the lines running around, to get a visual feeling of having more space. For example, the line running through the dashboard, the horizontal line, also the wrap around theme, the command position interior panel, which has an angle the way you look at it, all these parts open the view of the interior to the outside and create a larger space. Again, a design theme to create as much space possible for your feet , for your arms, and then really tried to have the nice, organic design while creating a lot of space.
BMWBLOG: What functionality were meant to be a key point in this car?
Ulrich Ströhle: I think functionality itself. This was one of the key points for me. As long as it’s a BMW, I think form is important. Emotional design is important. But as long as it’s an X car, I think functionality is just as equally important, and I think the combination is a perfect match. In general, it’s pleasant to have a design with the maximum functionality.
BMWBLOG: Are there any specific materials that were used ? Anything that was particular to this model?
Ulrich Ströhle: What we used here is this new layered veneer , which is cut the other way so we can get the layered veneer feeling. Therefore, the wood itself needs special handling. I think it’s kind of a premiere in an X car. Another specific material used in the new X3 is the fabric on the seats.
BMWBLOG: The display is 8.8 inches, so the screen is smaller than in an X5. This is a smaller car from the basics, and so a lot of details need to be scaled down, because the car is not a 5 Series or an X5. As a designer, how do you implement such things?
Ulrich Ströhle: We have to put this car in the line-up between X1 and X5. The components used fit really well in the car. For example, we have same sized instruments as in a 5 Series or 7 Series. Each of the X cars has its own particular materials used. X1 is a little bit fresher, even sportier than this one, while the X5 has an almost 7-Series luxurious look. And this one stands for flexibility, for activity. As I said, great car for active people, for family people. So the “ingredients”, as I call them, have to fit together in the car.
BMWBLOG: Can you summarize for us what is new and improved with the X3?
Ulrich Ströhle: What is new is the 8-speed automatic gearbox, the 8.8 inch display which increased a lot in size and has a high resolution. I think it’s one of the highest resolutions in the whole car line-up. Also, the EfficientDynamics system with automatic Start-Stop. In this one, it is a premiere to have altogether a Start-Stop and the automatically gearshift. Everything that you might want from other BMWs, we put it together in this one so it fits nicely in the line-up.
Source: BMW Blog