Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Hofmeister kink

The Hofmeister kink (sometimes also translated Hofmeister kick, German: Hofmeister-Knick) is an automobile design feature seen on modern BMWs. It is a low forward bend in the C-pillar of the car, which is the piece of metal that separates the rear side windows from the rear glass. The kink formally debuted on the 1961 BMW 1500 at the 1961 Frankfurt Motor Show and was later named after then-BMW director of design, Wilhelm Hofmeister. In early models, the widened base of the C-pillar was sometimes adorned with the BMW roundel.

Apart from its pleasing effect, the Hofmeister kink is said by BMW to subtly highlight the fact that all BMW models have rear-wheel drive (or all-wheel drive biased to the rear).

Note that this design feature is not unique to BMW models. Similar C-pillar kinks have appeared on cars of other brands both before 1961 and since. For example, the 1951 Kaiser Deluxe Golden Dragon shows a considerable "Hofmeister kink" in its greenhouse design. However, the term "Hofmeister kink" is only used in reference to BMW automobiles, as it has become a distinctive styling cue used across all BMW model series.

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