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BMW Individual 7 Series by Esther Mahlangu.

South African artist designs unique interior of the BMW luxury saloon.

Sales and Marketing
Cultural Issues
7 Series
BMW Individual

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Esther Mahlangu, respected South African artist, has joined forces with BMW to transform a luxury BMW 7 Series. In collaboration with the BMW Individual Manufaktur, Mahlangu has turned the high-end sedan into a unique and dynamic work of art by painting her characteristic motifs on the real wood interior trims.  The one-of-a-kind automobile will be shown to the public for the first time at this year’s Frieze Art Fair (5- 9 October) in Regent’s Park, London. The vehicle will be sold through a silent auction, which opens online today and proceeds from the sale will be donated to The Art Room, a charity that supports the development of children through the arts

The specialists at BMW Individual Manufaktur oversaw the full manufacturing process. A specially crafted white-coloured fine-wood trim was developed for Esther to paint directly onto. These remarkable panels were then sealed to protect the craftsmanship before being installed within the equally remarkable vehicle.

This collaboration is the second project from the artist and BMW. 25 years ago Esther Mahlangu transformed a 525i Sedan, the first female artist to do so. Its bodywork was adorned with the bright colours and unique ornamental shapes, typical of Ndebele art, and joined BMW’s unique collection of Art Cars.

The 81-year-old artist said: “To paint is in my heart and it's in my blood. The way I paint was taught to me by my mother and my grandmother. The images and colours have changed and I have painted on many different surfaces and objects but I still love to paint. The patterns I have used on the BMW parts marry tradition to the essence of BMW. When BMW sent me the panels to paint, I could see the design in my head and I just wanted to get started! I start by painting the small ones first to get the feel of the surface and then it was easy as the design follows the lines of the panels.

My art has taken me all over the world and I have seen many places, I have painted many walls and objects and my work is in many museums but I am still Esther Mahlangu from Mpumalanga in South Africa. My heart was full of joy when BMW asked me again to paint for them.”

Dr Ian Robertson, Member of the Board of the BMW AG, explained: “Within the framework of the long-term partnership with Frieze and Frieze Masters, we are combining our cultural engagement with BMW Individual for the very first time. I am delighted that we have been able to work again with Esther Mahlangu, an exceptional artist and someone I remember well from my time in South Africa. Together with experts from BMW Individual Manufaktur and BMW Group Design, Esther has created a unique work of art – a BMW Individual 7 Series that forms an extraordinary relationship between craftsmanship and Ndebele art.”

The BMW Individual 7 Series by Esther Mahlangu is a right-hand drive vehicle, boasting an array of features from the comprehensive BMW Individual Collection to complement the completely unique design. The interior features BMW Individual full fine-grain Merino leather in Smoke White/Black, the highest quality leather available. Weave-look stitching and hand-woven piping provide the highest level of finish to complement the leather’s natural smoothness and structure. The full leather trim extends to the rear panelling of the seats, the upper and lower instrument panel as well as the door panels, including B pillars finished in fine-grain Merino leather. A BMW Individual leather steering wheel with applications in Piano finish Black and an Alcantara headliner in Smoke White, complete the exclusive ambience of the interior.

The 20-inch BMW Individual light alloy wheels in V-spoke styling 649 underscore the elegant appearance of the BMW 7 Series while the exterior bodywork is coated in BMW Individual Pure metal Silver.


The prestigious BMW 740Li is powered by a high-performing in-line six-cylinder petrol engine with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology, 326hp (combined fuel consumption: 41.5mpg; combined CO2 emissions: 159 g/km)* and a powerful maximum torque of 450Nm. The dynamic sedan sprints from 0 to 62mph in just 5.6 seconds; top speed is limited to 155mph. The BMW 740Li features an 8-speed Steptronic transmission and has the lowest vehicle weight in its segment. It is ECE registered and therefore unable to be registered in the United States.

Premiere at the Frieze Art Fair in London: The BMW Individual 7 Series by Esther Mahlangu will be unveiled at the BMW Lounge at Frieze in London, located directly next to the “Frieze Auditorium”. Further pieces of artwork by the South African artist will be on display.

The vehicle will be auctioned in a silent sale starting September 5th, where bidders can submit their bids online at Fair goers will also be able to register their bid at the BMW 7 Series Lounge once the car has been unveiled. After the fair has ended the highest bidder will become the owner of this completely unique vehicle, facilitated through BMW’s online retail website. Proceeds will go to the charitable art project, “The Art Room”, a cause jointly chosen by Frieze and BMW. Using art as a medium, “The Art Room” supports five to sixteen year old children and youths in their development. At an Art Talk event being held during Frieze week in London, Esther Mahlangu will speak on the topic of South African art together with Christopher Spring, curator of contemporary, Eastern and Southern Africa at the British Museum, and provide further insight into her creative work.

For Esther Mahlangu, art is created from tradition:
Esther Mahlangu was born a member of the Ndebele tribe in 1935 in Middelburg, a small town in the northeastern province of Mpumalanga. At the young age of 10, she began to paint under the guidance of her mother and grandmother. Traditionally, Ndebele women decorate the exterior walls of houses with elaborately painted patterns and graphic elements, to symbolise important events like weddings or other celebrations.  These walls are integral to a community’s way of life and act as form of communicative media. Esther Mahlangu has separated these decorations and patterns from her people‘s traditional art of painting. In the form of pictures, vessels or carpets, she has constantly brought it into new contexts, thereby combining her artwork with items used in everyday life.

Experience personal style with BMW Individual: Products from the BMW Individual Collection offer the customer the opportunity to select completely unique features. A selection of features that are perfectly aligned to each BMW model, including exclusive paint finishes (such as silky matt BMW Individual Frozen paint finishes), high quality leather, special interior trims and other equipment options, are available. If a customer should desire even greater individuality, the BMW Individual Manufaktur will find a solution and implement it with meticulousness, precision and masterful craftsmanship. The result is a one-of-a-kind vehicle, which uniquely reflects the owner’s unmistakable character. In order to achieve this, the BMW Individual Manufaktur offers a virtually inexhaustible spectrum of possibilities. These include more than 100 special paint finishes, including uni and metallic paint.

BMW Individual Manufaktur also enables customers to add a touch of personal flair to the interior of a car. Initials or logos on the interior trim, door sill finishers, headrests or sun protection blinds are just a few ways of personalising a vehicle. The BMW Individual Manufaktur is even able to incorporate a customer’s own materials into the design of the vehicle. Experts at the BMW Individual Manufaktur have both the experience and the know-how to implement virtually any desired equipment option. The vehicles created in this way are not simply unique, but also impressively demonstrate the outstanding craftsmanship and the nature of the BMW Individual Manufaktur – customer orientation of the highest degree.


The BMW Group
With its three brands BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce, the BMW Group is the world’s leading premium manufacturer of automobiles and motorcycles and also provides premium financial and mobility services. As a global company, the BMW Group operates 30 production and assembly facilities in 14 countries and has a global sales network in more than 140 countries.

In 2015, the BMW Group sold approximately 2.247 million cars and nearly 137,000 motorcycles worldwide. The profit before tax for the financial year 2015 was approximately € 9.22 billion on revenues amounting to € 92.18 billion. As of 31 December 2015, the BMW Group had a workforce of 122,244 employees.

The success of the BMW Group has always been based on long-term thinking and responsible action. The company has therefore established ecological and social sustainability throughout the value chain, comprehensive product responsibility and a clear commitment to conserving resources as an integral part of its strategy.







For further information please contact:

Lauren Prema BMW Media Relations Executive
Tel: 07815 370746
Email: Lauren.

Gavin Ward BMW Media Relations Manager
Tel: 07815 371512

Piers Scott General Manager, Product and Internal Communications
Tel: 07815 378190

Graham Biggs Corporate Communications Director
Tel: 07815 376867

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