2016 BMW 7 Series

After all the other things happening in the last few weeks it has been easy to miss less notable news stories. Among them is the 2016 BMW 7 series has been unveiled (June 11, for goodness’ sake.).

2016 BMW 7 series: networm.org
2016 BMW 7 series in concept form: networm.org

Dimensionally the car is not much larger than the existing car so owners won’t have to build a new garage. It is a bit lighter (130kg) and a lot fussier. We are a long way from Ercole Spada’s interpretation which is virtually definitive or the Michelotti-influenced first version.

The changes are all at the detail level. There’s a piece of chrome surrounding what appears to be a vent behind the front wheel arch and a mirroring feature ahead of the rear wheel arch. The chrome frame for the side glass has gained heft and the highlights on the flanks swerve about from feature to feature.

It reminds one of the steps taken by Opel to distinguish the next from the current Corsa though it is a completely new car. Ford’s Mondeo is similarly a rejig of existing themes and it’s only a side by side comparison that shows how the old and new cars differ.

2012 BMW 7 series: BMW
2012 BMW 7 series: BMW

The previous car is on the bland side and now looks even blander in comparison. The signs are there that there’s not much incentive to do anything drastic in this class of car. Stagnation with decoration appears to the order of the day.

And that’s why I didn’t notice this bit of news until now. It used to be the arrival of a new 7 was quite an event. This time around as for last, it’s about as surprising as the arrival of the morning newspaper.

[This post was revised 13.29 July 1, 2015 to note that the car shown at the top is the “concept” version of the 2016 7 series with detail differences from the production model which has a modified rear side glass -RH]

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

24 thoughts on “2016 BMW 7 Series”

  1. Is that top image right? I was going to comment on the fact that they’d engineered the side window to wind down without needing a split. I couldn’t see how that would work. But this image lifted from TWBCM shows otherwise.

  2. Eyes like a hawk. The version you have shown is even less unlike the existing car. The lamps and front end are toned down quite considerably. My main point only gets stronger. Design is going sideways.

    1. It´s hard to tell how the surfacing is with the white car. I expect the “concept” and production car used the same CAD data. The paint is muddying the foggy waters.

  3. Yes, before I noticed the windows I was going to say that the ‘new 7 Series’ wasn’t that bad. Not as good as the original ‘Bangle’ version which SV Robinson and I share a minority admiration of, but interesting enough. But the actual new 7 Series is a poor thing indeed.

  4. That ominous concept is, if I’m not mistaken, a montage based on Pininfarina’s Gran Lusso concept car. And yes, it’s much nicer than the production car, with our without split rear side window.

    I have incidentally come across a parked engineering mule in Munich this week and can report that the car’s overall appearance is very very similar to the outgoing F01’s. If needs be, I’d hazard a guess that it’s a tiny whiff less bloated than the previous car, but the overall size, proportions and stance prohibit anything other than a whale-like image.
    The interior is full of metal buttons. Expect to see lots of metal buttons in executive saloons of different brands in the foreseeable future.

  5. This new 7 really is very poor. I think its predecessor is preferable. The Gran Lusso promised so much and this is, therefore, an even bigger disappointment than it would have been. It’s interesting that we are debating the new A4 and 7 Series at the same time and they both suffer from the same incrementalism. I’d venture that the XE and Giulia are little better in this regard. As Richard writes, we really do seem to be in an era of sideways, or arch-conservative design.

    The difference for me is that I liked the simple but elegant form of the previous A4, and so I am offended by the new car (although it appeals less than the smaller A3 saloon). I would be interested to read from Richard where he sees the areas of the new A4 that are retrograde in design (I’d better repeat that last bit on the A4 thread).

  6. In the Audi A4 thread, we ended up discussing the lacking appeal of today’s luxury cars. And it’s exactly that. I have never been a supercar fan (except as a boy maybe), but in the ’80s and early ’90s, I remember big Mercedes, BMWs and Audis as well as the first Lexus generated quite some interest for me, as they introduced interesting technologies and features as well as a comfort that could become interesting a few years later for everyday car drivers.

    Today I think the industry has more and more trouble do differentiate their flagships from lesser cars that, also in lower classes, basically have everything one needs for comfortable and safe driving and entertainment. So they have to resort to inventing the 23rd way of seat adjustment to mark the difference. And they garnish everything with decadent trim of dubious taste. Without wanting to raise a sociological debate, I see parallels to how the class of owners these vehicles are aimed to become more and more remote from us ordinary people.

    1. The archetypal 7 series from the 80s and the concurrent S-class had something distinctive about them compared to other cars. Nowadays if you spec a Fiesta right or check all the boxes on a Mazda 6, Mondeo or Insignia you get a damn big car with bags of space. You don´t feel like you are in something that´s good but not stellar as they were in the 90s. The gap has indeed closed. I think they need to focus on making the exteriors distinctly more high quality than they do. I mean the prestige brands. In 1990 the difference in construction between an Fiesta and E-class could not be mistaken. These days the Mercedes seems to look as brittle and insubstantial/as good as a Fiesta, Just a lot bigger.

  7. Having seen this new Seven on the road a couple of times (albeit oh so occasionally, which doesn’t bode well for its sales performance on the German market), I can conclude that it’s an astonishingly poor effort, in aesthetic terms at least. How disappointing.

  8. The only 7 I’ve liked much is the E38, very much a Bavarian Jaguar, rather than an S-Class manqué.

    The new 7 was my pick for CoTY – not that anyone asked me – for the carbon fibre technology and general engineering sophistication, which is likely to filter down to more affordable cars.

    That’s one of the purposes of a flagship, but I wonder of the 7er makes BMW any money.

    1. It’s the E23 and E32 for me. The 23 is so baroque. The 32 excels technically but lacks warmth. It’s still a monument to Ulm-style design thinking.

    2. I too liked the E38, but probably for the very reasons that put many potential owners off – It underplayed its size and was discreet, though good looking.

      But, as I mentioned above somewhere, I’ve always been an admirer of Chris Bangle’s 7 Series.

    3. I consider the E32 a deeply desirable car. Its stance and detailing are the best interpretation of a ‘sporting grand saloon’ this side of a Jaguar XJ.4 – should I ever be in the position to start a car collection of my own, a dark coloured 750iL with those salad dish alloys would be but a guaranteed entry.

      The E38 is a bit too conservative a design to be as desirable as its predecessor to my eyes, bit time’s been kind to it: next to today’s bloated barges, it’s simply loveable for its restraint and delicacy. And its interior, albeit decidedly button-heavy, was always the cosiest of its kind a German manufacturer had ever come up with. In a nutshell: I wouldn’t mind owning a E38 at all, it’s just that I’m not actively lusting after one.

      The E65 will always remain a game changer, for better or worse. It’s still borderline absurd (in a Citroen Ami 6 kind of way) and its cabin has aged particularly disgracefully (was it really the same people who chose the materials used as with the E38?), but I’m somehow glad it exists.

      However, the F01 and this GWhatever can go to hell.

    4. I’ll second Kris on the E32. The 7-Series perfected in my view. Richard says; ” The 32 excels technically but lacks warmth.” But which of its rivals did? W126 Mercedes? Audi A8? Lexus LS400? I’m afraid if it’s warmth you’re after, there’s only the XJ40.

      But you’d expect me to say that wouldn’t you. (This may have to become a catchphase, I suspect.)

  9. This car is so meaningless, i’ve already forgotten that there was a DTW article about it.

    Now I’m wondering: have I really never seen it on the road? And this in a country where people do buy a lot of expensive cars. It seems that money is invested in height, not length nowadays.

    1. I actually followed one yesterday and thought I’d never noticed one before. It just seemed to have too much chrome. I hear Richard already asking what’s wrong with that. But it was in the wrong place.

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