Be indoors by nightfall…
In 1997, then Tory Party MP, Ann Widdecombe was asked whether she would endorse former Home Secretary, Michael Howard’s bid to become the leader of the UK Conservatives. She refused, stating in the House of Commons that there was “something of the night about him.”
It was a nice line in waspish put-downs and one which is believed to have scuppered Howard’s leadership ambitions, but given Ms. Widdecombe’s reactionary and somewhat unpleasant views on, well, just about everything really, there was a strong whiff of pot and kettle about it. In reality however, the phrase probably served both politicians’ purposes – Howard later going on to achieve the high office he sought and Widdecombe becoming a minor (heaven help us) celebrity following an appearance on a BBC ballroom dancing competition.
Meanwhile, this has been a week of nocturnal encounters for your correspondent: first we espied the new Mazda 3, and latterly, while innocently out for a late evening stroll, this appalling vision reared into view. And while the quality of the lead image can largely be ascribed to it being taken on my phone (which isn’t very good), it could equally, given the circumstances, be put down to fright.
The new BMW Siebener has been described upon these pages in sufficient detail to render any further explanation or exposition moot. Furthermore, we have also made our views about the Veirzylinder’s newfound ascendency in the German prestige grille wars clear as cristal. But having come face to face with the result of the 7er’s grilloplasty, is there enlightenment or edification, or even plain old simple clarification to be found?
One certainty is that in facelifted form, the G11 7-Series can no longer be ignored. This car has presence, in a manner that its immediate predecessors palpably did not. In this regard, it is perhaps more redolent of something from Detroit circa-1958 than Munich-Milbertshofen circa-2019. And if a visual receipt is what you require for the rather large sum of money you have lavished upon this symbol of earthly success, Dingolfing now provides it in abundance.
In many ways, the Siebener models we enthusiasts recall and revere were aberrances; the E32 and E38 being more sports saloons in the Jaguar idiom than the rather brutal E23 that preceded them, or indeed the lumpen E65 which came after. Therefore if anything, this surgically augmented G11 is more of a 7er than those more self-effacing outliers, for all of their Ultimate Driving Machine goodness.
But to my surprise, I found the facelifted Seven to be on one hand, as risibly offensive as I had envisaged, yet on the other, somewhat less so. Far from making sense, it made instead a for strangely coherent form of nonsense – and while it was tempting to simply give it both barrels and be done, I simply couldn’t summon the ire.
Because what we seem to have here (much akin to all current BMWs), is a collection of seemingly unrelated styling details in search of a cohesive theme; a car design which ultimately achieves little, and whose primary purpose is to preview the forthcoming-generation model.
With the winds from Munich-Milbertshofen blowing the way they are at the present moment, it appears that this car, due around 2022, will be offered in long-wheelbase form only and will if anything, offer an even greater sense of ‘arrival’ for those emerging market plutocrats who are likely to form the core of its customer base.
The fragrant Ms. Widdecombe’s barb struck home in 1997 largely because for most people, there was indeed something about the deeply unpopular Mr. Howard that lent the former Home Secretary a somewhat sinister mien. Whether there is also something of the night about Munich’s latest Siebener, I leave for you decide. Just be careful if you’re out after dark.