The 24-year-old attacking midfielder made just five senior starts in a previous spell at Chelsea before being allowed to leave by Jose Mourinho a little over 18 months ago.
The reputation he built as a youngster at Genk did not lead to initial success in England, but a loan to Werder Bremen was a success and De Bruyne has been a revelation at Wolfsburg, who reluctantly accepted the departure of their star man to City on Sunday.
It is understood City have paid a club-record fee of around £54million for the Belgian, who in July was named Germany’s footballer of the year after scoring 10 times and adding 20 assists during Wolfsburg’s run to second place in the Bundesliga.
Days before De Bruyne decamped to Germany in January 2014, Mourinho said: “We know that Kevin didn’t adapt very well to the difficult life a Chelsea player has.”
But De Bruyne now has the chance to show his former employers what they missed out on by driving fast-starting City to the Premier League title.
“I just want to win,” said De Bruyne after finalising his move. “I won two cups at Wolfsburg and I just want to keep on winning, and I think here’s a good chance to win some titles with a team who have a lot of quality players.”
He will compete with the likes of David Silva, Raheem Sterling and Samir Nasri for the role he relishes, tucked in behind master finisher Sergio Aguero.
“I want to reach the highest level possible,” De Bruyne told City’s website.
“The most important thing is at the end of the season we can be happy and maybe have some titles.”
De Bruyne has signed a six-year contract and City manager Manuel Pellegrini said: “It takes a special footballer to improve our squad and I have no doubt that Kevin is certainly one of those – he has all of the mental, physical, tactical and technical attributes required to fit straight in.”
His debut could come at Crystal Palace on September 12, when City return to Premier League action after the international break.
Last season’s champions Chelsea are already eight points behind City this season, after just four rounds of games.
“It’s the perfect start,” De Bruyne said.
De Bruyne joins Belgium national team colleague Vincent Kompany at the Etihad Stadium.
City skipper Kompany said of his new club-mate: “He is a tremendous talent. He has just got so many assists and goals in him.
“It doesn’t really matter how the game goes for him, he is always making decisive plays. Over the course of a season that is ultimately what you pay for – more goals, more assists. He has just got something special.”