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.
Possibly 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.
However 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.