Theme : Facelifts – Second Coming

Or should that read Coming Second?


In the repository of automotive facelifts, this example is something of an aberrant one. BMW’s E65 7-Series is commonly and perhaps justifiably regarded as BMW’s ‘they’ve gone stark raving bonkers’ moment. Adrian Van Hoydoonk’s styling was on one hand a genuine breath of fresh air, yet at the same time, a visual challenge of epic proportions.

BMW7Series-E65-rearPossibly the most divisive slice of mainstream automotive surfacing so far this century, the E65 polarised all who came within a 500-yard radius. So when BMW refreshed the styling in 2005, the overall reaction was generally one of intense relief. Changes were largely confined to the grille, headlight units and tail lamps; each of which were re-profiled or enlarged and taken as a whole, the E65 was the better for it.

BMW7Series-faceliftrearHowever some suggested BMW bottled it and it did appear to be a climbdown; an admission perhaps they had overreached themselves. While to these eyes at least, the modified E65 is a less eye-watering sight to behold, I secretly admire the original more – replete with its ‘up yours Sonny-Jim’ visual mentality.


So, why aberrant you might ask? Simply this: the E65 facelift successfully improved upon the original, yet in so doing, Van Hoydoonk, Chris Bangle and BMW themselves conclusively lost the argument.

Author: Eóin Doyle

Co-Founder. Editor. Content Provider.

2 thoughts on “Theme : Facelifts – Second Coming”

  1. Eoin. I agree entirely. Or I agree even more in that I think this comes a close second to the Multipla in great automotive step-downs. Of course it wasn’t even necessary, since Mercedes were launching an S Class designed in a quasi Bangle manner (or DB’s muddle headed idea of it) that showed the original E65 as the fully coherent thing it is.

  2. Tough one.

    Despite being a believer in Bangle, the original E65’s… awkwardness doesn’t abate. To the contrary, in fact: the more time passes, the weirder it appears to my eyes. Until a few years ago, a very early E65 – yellow indicator lenses, matte “wood” et al – could be seen near my home on a regular basis, and boy was it ungainly! Yes, the original E65 possesses a certain charm simply due to the enormous chuzpe it represents, but that doesn’t make it any more palatable – says someone who always had more of a problem with its front than the lambasted rear end.

    To this set of eyes, the E65 facelift is an entirely successful one: gone is the awkward headlights-grille combination (which was plain wrong in terms of both shape and positioning), as is the strange light strip across the boot lid (which always appeared like a very late afterthought, even though van Hooydonk’s early sketches did actually include it). And the slightly widened rear track width significantly helped improving the E65’s stance. The still ungainly C-pillar is, in fact, the only serious stylistic issue I have with the facelifted car. But overall, I really rather like it: one still wouldn’t mistake it with anything else, yet it avoids the cheap detailing of the W221 S-class and is dramatically more distinctive than its pompous-yet-mistakable successor, the utterly uninspiring F01.

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