Say goodbye to flame surfacing — and hello to layered surfacing. Since the X Coupé concept car in 2001, BMW design has been dictated by the flame surfacing theme introduced under Chris Bangle.

Now there’s a successor - layered surfacing - initiated under new group design boss Adrian van Hooydonk. While emphasising that flame surfacing is not consigning to the history books, BMW says, “It has been developed to enhance its effect further.”

The idea is to smooth the shutlines and joints within the body for what van Hooydonk describes as “a more cohesive and harmonious appearance”.

Body surfaces are layered on top of each other in a move that is also claimed to improve aerodynamic efficiency without the requirement for any additional body elements.

“By using the structure of the surface without adding any appendages, we’re able to optimise the airflow,” says van Hooydonk.

The prime examples on his super-coupe concept, he says, are the A-pillars, which channel the airflow at the front in the same way as the wing-profile rear lights.