Chris Bangle was born in Ravenna, Ohio, USA in 1956. After attending the University of Wisconsin and graduating from Art Center College of Design (Pasadena, California), Bangle began his career at Opel in 1981. He then moved on to Fiat in 1985, where he designed the brazen Coupé Fiat. In 1992 he was named the first American Chief of Design at BMW, where he was responsible for bringing the designs of BMW, Mini, and Rolls Royce into the twenty-first century.
After resigning from BMW in 2009, he moved to Clavesana (near Turin, Italy), where he founded Chris Bangle Associates, a design consultancy and management company, together with his wife Catherine.