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Work of art: the BMW 7 Series Individual by Esther Mahlangu

Esther Mahlangu designs the interior of a BMW 7 Series Individual. Which is very apt: just as the South African artist has always stayed true to her roots in her work, so too does BMW uphold the traditionally innovative spirit of the 7 Series in the latest generation of the model, with particular emphasis placed on the question of sustainable automotive luxury.

Words
Hendrik Lakeberg

The way in which the graphic structures in Esther Mahlangu’s paintings interweave with one another is symbolic of the close ties between BMW and the 81-year-old artist. Twenty-six years ago, she became the first woman to transform a BMW into an Art Car, and last October she teamed up with BMW Individual to present her unique take on the interior design of a BMW 7 Series at the Frieze London art fair. Mahlangu, whose work has been shown at museums and galleries all over the world since the late 1980s, including such prominent venues as the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the documenta exhibition in Kassel, is considered one of Africa’s foremost contemporary artists.

“The subjects, colors, surfaces and objects change – but my love of painting remains the same.”

Esther Mahlangu

The BMW Individual Pure Metal Silver paint job, which encases Mahlangu’s colorful interior, radiates elegance and sophistication.

As she emphasizes time and time again, both in interviews and in her work itself, Mahlangu has always stayed true to her roots. And these roots lie in a small village in the Mpumalanga Province in the northeast of South Africa, a two-hour drive from Johannesburg. She continues to work mainly with traditional colors, which she mixes with soil from her homeland. “For me, painting is an affair of the heart; it’s in my blood,” says Mahlangu. “My way of painting is something I learned from my mother and my grandmother. The subjects and colors may change, as do the surfaces and objects that I work with, but my love of painting has always remained the same.” In her latest work, she has created a one-of-a-kind piece together with the experts from BMW Individual Manufaktur and BMW Group Design: a BMW Individual 740i that fuses supreme craftsmanship with Mahlangu’s inimitable style.

As she emphasizes time and time again, both in interviews and in her work itself, Mahlangu has always stayed true to her roots. She continues to work mainly with traditional colors, which she mixes with soil from her homeland.

Mahlangu’s artistic embellishments accentuate the generous amount of space in the BMW 7 Series.

Mahlangu’s artistic embellishments accentuate the generous amount of space in the BMW 7 Series.

Mahlangu’s artistic embellishments accentuate particularly the generous amount of space in the BMW 7 Series – along with the myriad possibilities offered by BMW Individual Manufaktur. The BMW Individual collection offers a choice of exceptional customization options for the highly discerning customer, including exclusive paint finishes, high-end leather interiors and special interior trim strips. More fanciful requests can also be accommodated. The BMW Individual Manufaktur service fulfills such wishes with meticulous care, precision and masterful craftsmanship. The interior of the BMW Individual 7 Series by Esther Mahlangu offers a taste of what can be done. Soft-touch leather of the finest quality with quilting in a braided look and the Alcantara-trimmed headliner in Smoke White round out the interior’s supremely elegant ambience and provide the perfect setting for Esther Mahlangu’s beautifully painted enhancements.

Besides its exquisite tactile qualities, the new BMW 7 Series can be customized to appeal to the other senses, as well. Whether at the wheel or as a rear passenger in the Executive Lounge behind the front passenger seat, the owner can adjust the lighting to suit his or her mood, settle back in the elegant leather seat, activate the massage function, open the Alcantara headliner and gaze through the Panoramic Sky Lounge LED glass roof at the sky above. And just enjoy the ride.

European model shown

An artfully decorated BMW Individual interior trim strip of the finest wood: for her work on the BMW 7 Series, Esther Mahlangu drew her inspiration, as she always does, from the traditional colors and designs of her South African homeland.

Model facts

BMW 7 Series Sedan 740i

Engine - 3.0-liter TwinPower Turbo

Inline 6-cylinder

Displacement (cc)

2998

Output (hp@rpm)

320@5500-6500

Max Torque (lb-ft@rpm)

332@1380-5000

Acceleration 0-60 (sec)*

5.4

Top Speed (mph)**

155

*BMW AG test results. BMW urges you to obey local speed laws and always wear safety belts.
**Top speed electronically limited.

07/13/17