Amid the blatant insecurity current betrayed by German car design, BMW dares to make a bold statement with the facelifted 7 series.
For quite some time, the German ‘premium’ car makers – and BMW in particular – have attracted criticism for brand dilution, creative brain drain and the overall loss of aesthetic values. One of the overriding points being made was a lack of bold, assured decision making – a lack of ‘vision’, if one chooses to describe it as such.
With the recent unveiling of the significantly overhauled BMW 7 series luxury saloon, the Bavarian brand now dramatically changes course, attacking the naysayers head-on. For what this Siebener unquestionably constitutes is a very bold statement indeed.
That statement isn’t one of indecision, as with so many recent BMW designs, but of clarity. For with this car, Bayerische Motoren Werke (sic) leaves the European – and part of the American – 7 series customer in no doubt regarding his or her value to the company. Europe officially plays no role in the luxury saloon game anymore. Europe can go to hell.
Such hyperbole may sound too dramatic and drastic at first, particularly in the context of a business determined not to alienate any kind of potential customer. Yet the facelifted Siebener’s obscene, monstrous snout obviously caters to certain (emerging) markets’ penchant for feudal aesthetics that literally are a very tough sell in Europe, certainly outside the domain of gangsta’ rap and its enthusiasts.
Having posted a photo of the 7’s frontal aspect on social media upon its official unveiling, I was astounded to see it reach an audience reaching thousands, rather than the hundreds such a note usually attracts. None of the comments left were complimentary.
Of course, social media is deservedly notorious for its bipolar nature. But in real life too, whether talking to dyed-in-the-wool enthusiasts of the marque or prospective buyers, the reaction to the Siebener’s new dress has been unanimous – ‘vile’ happens to be among the more measured adjectives thrown at it in that context.
To some extent, BMW oughtn’t be judged too harshly. After all, the luxury saloon sector is a shrinking one, particularly on the Old Continent. The decision makers of Munich Milbertshofen probably count on those repelled by the 7’s vulgarian snout to choose a sumptuously specified 5 series or the upcoming 8 series Gran Coupé saloon instead.
However, this 7’s drastic declaration of wilful ignorance will not remain contained. Bayerische Motoren Werke and even good old (mass-market but still abstractly exclusive) BMW will be associated with this show of disdain for a former core market.
Of course, having the mettle to risk alienating certain parts of the market by creating a truly distinctive product is a request that’s been made time and again on these pages and elsewhere.
BMW have just done that. In most unexpected a fashion.
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