She decides how your BMW smells

Lionel Kong

annabelle kanzow coffinet bmw

BMW has only one fragrance designer on its staff. And she has the power to alter your mood

SINGAPORE — One of the more interesting features in the new BMW 7 Series is a fragrance delivery system called Ambient Air Package. It’s similar to a cartridge-based system that Mercedes-Benz uses, but offers two scents that drivers can switch between on the go.

The scents are designed to either relax or invigorate passengers. Eight of them are available, with names like “Blue Suite” (scents “full of purity and freshness”) and “Golden Suite” (exuding “sensuality and aromatic warmth”), delivered through the a/c vents.

Buy a 740Li in Singapore and you get four free cartridges to start with. Each replacement costs $64.25.

bmw ambient air

But who came up with these smells in the first place?

They’re actually the work of a charming Frenchwoman. Annabelle Kanzow-Coffinet is BMW’s sole fragrance designer. She joined the company three years ago from, she says, a “famous perfume brand” and now spends her days indulging her passion of creating new fragrances — and answering questions from pesky journalists.

Here’s a few from us.

CarBuyer: How do you even start designing a smell for a car?
Annanelle Kanzow-Coffinet: Our starting point was that we wanted to customise the atmosphere of the car, so that the customer can have the possibility to adapt it to his mood by changing the fragrances.

CB: What do the different scents express?
AK: You have two big categories. The first one is more refreshing. The scents are more revitalising. The second category is more relaxed, more warm. In this category you have more woody notes and leathery aspects.

annabelle kanzow coffinet bmw.jpg

CB: Surely a car like this should smell like money?
AK: Yeah, of course we use very luxurious raw materials and the best quality of them to enhance the luxury mindset.

CB: Do you expect Asian customers to have a different scent preference from the American or European ones?
AK: Well, we developed a large palette of fragrances, from the global world of perfume, except for floral. We think that BMW customers are more attracted to refreshing or calming notes, but not floral.

BMW 740Li review — the first local test drive 

BMW 750Li xDrive — what the ultimate 7 Series is like


7 Series 740Li S-Class

About the Author

Lionel Kong

An old hand from the bad old days of crazy COEs, the straight-shooting, ex-CarBuyer editor is back in the four-wheeled world. Rumours that he went to another country to start a Judas Priest tribute band are unfounded.

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