Police prevented an attempt to kidnap her and her mother Johanna Quandt in 1978.
Klatten was born in Bad Homburg, Germany. After gaining a degree in Business Finance, she worked for the advertising agency Young & Rubicam in Frankfurt from 1981 to 1983. This was followed by a course in marketing and management at the University of Buckingham, and an MBA from IMD in Lausanne specialising in advertising.
Susanne met Jan Klatten while she was doing an internship with BMW in Regensburg, where he worked as an Engineer. It is reported that during this time she called herself Kant and did not tell him who she was until they were sure about each other, but Klatten herself denies the story. They married in 1990 in Kitzbühel and live in Munich. They have three children. She plays golf and skis in Austria. She has been a member of the University Council of the Technical University of Munich since 2005. In 2007 she was awarded the Bayerischer Verdienstorden, the Bavarian Order of Merit. She is one of the biggest donors of the centre-right political party, the Christian Democratic Union.
Her Father also left her a 12.50% stake in BMW. She was appointed to the supervisory board of BMW with her brother Stefan Quandt in 1997.
On her father's death she inherited his 50.1% stake in pharmaceutical and chemicals manufacturer Altana. She sits on Altana's supervisory board and helped transform it into a world-class corporation in the German DAX list of 30 top companies. In 2006 Altana AG sold its pharmaceutical activities to Nycomed for €4.5 billion, leaving only its speciality chemicals Business. The €4.5 billion was distributed to shareholders as a dividend. Altana maintained its stock exchange listing and Klatten remained its majority shareholder. In 2009, she bought almost all shares she did not already own in Altana.
In 2007 Klatten was blackmailed by Helg "Russak" Sgarbi, a 44-year-old Swiss national who threatened to release materials depicting the two having an affair. Sgarbi, who was charged with similar blackmail schemes against multiple women, was arrested in January 2009 and brought to court in Germany, where he was sentenced to six years in jail. His accomplice, the Italian hotel owner Ernano Barretta who allegedly filmed Sgarbi and Klatten with hidden cameras, was also arrested and was sentenced in 2012 to seven years in prison.
German graphite maker SGL Carbon said on 16 March 2009 that Klatten owns options to raise her stake in SGL from 8% to almost a quarter of the shares but no more than that.