The Best of the Best 2003: Aftermarket - AI Design BMW 745 Li

<< Back to Robb Report, June 2003
  • Fluto Shinzawa

The openings in the Washington lawyer’s appointment book were becoming increasingly scarce. Meetings piled up, cases kept coming, and the workdays stretched into the evenings. Realizing that to keep pace with his business, he needed to become productive while being shuttled to and from meetings, the lawyer decided to purchase an executive sedan—and have it transformed into a mobile office.

He discovered AI Design, a Tuckahoe, N.Y., company that installs mobile offices, redesigns interiors, increases the performance of stock cars, and specializes in upgrading SUVs. After consulting with AI, the lawyer settled on a BMW 745Li to serve as his four-wheeled office. The lawyer liked the sedan’s styling, and he recognized that its backseat offered an additional three inches of shoulder room and legroom compared with the Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

However, Matt Figliola, owner of AI Design, had heard horror stories about the tech-heavy 7 Series. Batteries had died. Computers had failed. The iDrive displays blanked out. “Look at this,” says Figliola, pulling out a phone book–thick technical manual for the car. “I can read this and understand this, but some of this stuff is crazy.”


Nevertheless, AI Design took on the $50,000 project. AI’s technicians dismantled the 745Li’s interior to access the diagnostics and electronic systems. Then they installed a docking station where the owner could plug in his laptop, and a 15-inch monitor that drops from the cabin’s ceiling. AI built a center console to house a DVD player, a satellite navigation system, an XM satellite radio, and a phone. After installing all of the components, AI upgraded the interior with custom leathers and woods that were sculpted on site at its facility.

At every step of each project, AI tracks its progress on a schematic diagram. Taped to the side of the car, the display includes detailed notes on every addition and alteration. This proved especially helpful with the 745Li, given the technological complexity of the stock model. “If a car has problems and you’re in Kansas,” says Figliola, “we can troubleshoot over the phone with your mechanic by looking at the schematic.”

The 745Li project was completed in six weeks. Last October, the lawyer took delivery of his new sedan, and has since been riding in the back every day, hustling to meetings and staying on top of his work. “The mobile office phenomenon,” predicts Figliola, “will continue to grow.” 

AI Design, 914.779.9000, www.aidesign.com

From Around the Web...
The premier tire manufacturer unveils a $10 million display of supercars…
 Photo by Darin Schnabel ©RM Sotheby's
A 1939 Alfa Romeo Touring Spider and a 1956 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta are priced in the millions…
Jaguar joins the luxury crossover frenzy with the all-new 2017 F-Pace, and we take it for a spin…
Independent designer Paul Breshke reveals his vision for the marque’s next star vehicle…
A 600 hp river monster, the latest themed SUV from Bentley is no fish story…
Photo by Jun Song
The luxury marque and hotel brand team up to offer exclusive driving experiences around the world…
The $244,500 SUV displays design elements inspired by the British gun maker's bespoke firearms...
Collectively, these cars comprise the legacy and legend of the master marque…
Able to travel 19 mph, the cutting-edge cart features touchscreen controls and a refrigerator…
The meticulously maintained roadster is one of only 25 released that year...