3. ADRIAN VAN HOOYDONK (46, Dutch)
Design director, BMW Group
Key cars: 2004 BMW 6-series, X6, Vision EfficientDynamics
A BMW man through and through, van Hooydonk joined the company in 1992 and was thoroughly involved with Chris Bangle and his highly controversial, but also very influential, flame-surfacing design language. Busier and more complex exterior surfacing has cropped up across the car industry since their work first appeared and remains prevalent today. He followed in Bangle's footsteps to become BMW's design director in 2004 and became head of Group design, including Mini and Rolls-Royce, when his mentor stepped down in 2009. Beyond cars, van Hooydonk "gets" the bigger design picture -- he was director of BMW's product consultancy, DesignworksUSA in California, for three years. BMW's current mainstream car designs have been toned down under his watch, but this brand and designer have a very bright future and are still capable of producing stunning cars like the Z4 and the Vision EfficientDynamics concept.