Where Are We Now?

BMW’s reinvented flagship: Approach with care.

All images: Christopher Butt

It’s a noisy world out there. Making oneself heard amid all the sturm und drang has become increasingly problematic, especially when the message from the disruptors, the futurists is that you represent the old guard, offer yesterday’s solution. Back in your box, grandad.

What are commonly derided as legacy carmakers — or in other words, those who have been in business for longer than a half-century[1] are facing several crises at once — and while not yet existential, the crisis of relevance they are facing now is exercising the occupants of legacy boardrooms from Sochaux to Sindelfingen, from Michigan to Milbertshofen as much as anything more pressing. After all, how do you counter those voices that claim the future, when not only your product portfolio, but your entire business model is rooted in the past?

These are thorny issues, and for now, they are problems which no legacy carmaker has successfully addressed. But that does not mean that they are sitting on their hands. Hence today, we journey to Hamburg to take note of one such attempt — the current G70 generation 7 Series from BMW. This particular example was encountered by occasional DTW scribe and resident of Germany’s second largest city, Christopher Butt, who impervious to his own safety, bravely approached and photographed the slumbering beast for your edification.

Flowing lines and monolithic surfaces” is how BMW characterises the new Siebener’s exterior design, and while one can certainly discern the latter, the former is one which remains a somewhat more intractable matter to unpick. “The flowing lines transform the sheer size of the 7 Series into aesthetically proportioned spaciousness”, the Bavarian carmaker states[2] — although once more, they’re only half right. Observing the ‘The Seven’ parked in the street scene above, one is struck not only by how much physical (and metaphorical) space it occupies, but in addition, by its baleful presence, which the black paintwork can only accentuate. But despite its sober colour scheme, this car demands your attention, as indeed, we must assume by default, does its owner.

Our Hamburg observer, having carefully positioned himself within camera range was as much perplexed as repelled by what he discerned. “It’s such an odd car to look at. I don’t like it, and I find it difficult to get my head around in what sense it’s supposed to be a BMW”.

The background to the G70 design is interesting, perhaps more for the politics behind it as for the shape itself. Created under the initial supervision of former Volkswagen Group Chief Designer, Josef Kabaň, the design was completed under the purview of Domagoj Dukec following Kabaň’s sudden and precipitous reversal of fortune within the BMW group[3]. And while the finished product combines BMW’s current design ‘vocabulary’[4] with Dukec’s own inimitable blend of shock, awe and shouty graphic elements, the end result is a curious blend of sobriety and wild expression.

But issues with the G70 design seemingly go beyond straightforward matters of taste[5]. “Some of the details are clumsy: front and rear graphics, not to mention the most ungainly door handles in the industry. The proportions are very clumsy; look at that front overhang and the mass of metal over the front wheel. Dynamic looking it ‘ain’t. But I would posit that it looks compromised, rather than the rushed job most current BMW designs resemble”.

Full-sized luxury land yachts such as these (and there are comparatively few of them now) have become little more than vanity products for their makers anno-2023, the German luxury carmakers continuing with the format primarily for reasons of prestige. For as their sheer size and physical bulk grows ever more corpulent with each generation, the putative return upon their considerable investment diminishes in line with their sales figures. And while the economics of such development budgets must somehow be justified and amortised, nobody in today’s environment can simply put this down to the the costs of doing business. Something has to give and certainly at Sindelfingen, the S-Class’ diminished position at the pinnacle of excellence has become palpable.

What then of our Hamburg correspondent’s impression of the new generation Siebener’s perceived quality? “Some aspects I do find impressively executed, if misguided. The Chrome doesn’t look like it came from the same factory as a Kinder Surprise egg for one thing. The Interior, as far as I could tell, looked truly luxurious; too much bling definitely, but despite being in five hundred shades of black, there was little in evidence of the fake plastic Patek Phillippe watch flair which defines current Mercedes cabins”.

This is a matter which has been endorsed by the motor press, who have lavished praise on the G70’s cabin as offering a truly luxurious environment, combined with a genuinely cossetting driving experience. Less the Ultimate Driving Machine the marque once laid claim to perhaps, more Ultimate Riding Machine? With the seventh Seven, the nameplate has completed the transition to sybaritic ultra-luxury. And with no ‘short’ wheelbase on offer, BMW has eschewed any pretence at offering a sport sedan, as our Hanseatic man-on-the-spot observes. “Boy is it huge. It truly dwarves a Silver Spirit/ Seraph or W140 even. In a sense, it’s an illuminating example of the legacy brands’ struggle to adapt to the brave new world – a desire to be everything to everyone, at once[6].

And a new world it most certainly is. Saloons, even top of the line models like these are in sharp decline; it not being entirely beyond conception that this generation S-Class and 7 Series could be their respective carmakers’ last — in this format at least. A lot hinges upon how these carmakers’ electrified offers play out in the market[7] and whether high-end customers will still favour relatively low riding saloons over high-riding crossover SUVs, or the more overtly rakish Taycans and Teslas of this world.

Meanwhile, having successfully reinvented The Seven to become at least as definitive a statement of plutocratic arrival as anyone’s Sonderklasse[8], where does it leave BMW, or indeed the German top tier carmakers? Our German correspondent offered his thoughts: “I find it fascinating that after almost two decades of utter indistinction, the scope of the (electric) German luxury saloon has suddenly been broadened to such an extent. Neither is a visual success, but the differences in style and design are more fundamental than they’ve been in a lifetime. It’s just a shame neither is in any way aesthetically pleasing”.

Increasingly unmoored from its heritage, and having seemingly gone all-in on the visuals, it is difficult to see how BMW can reverse direction (even if they wanted to and evidence suggests they don’t)[8]. The legacy carmakers have entered new territory, but whether BMW and their Swabian counterparts can navigate this alien landscape without losing themselves entirely will be the most difficult balancing act of all.

[1] Basically anyone with a background in combustion engines is viewed as a legacy carmaker nowadays. 

[2] A sentence which, like the G70 itself is something of a masterclass in incoherence.

[3] Kabaň, having been responsible for overseeing (amongst other designs), the current generation Skoda Superb was unlikely to have proposed something as visually divisive as the completed G70. Following the internal putsch which saw him side-lined, he departed Milbershofen for Wolfsburg, following an even shorter stint at Goodwood. 

[4] ‘Vocabulary’ is perhaps dignifying matters somewhat. Most of Dukec’s current output doesn’t so much speak as swear.

[5] Highlights include an illuminated “Iconic Glow” grille and a massive panoramic 31.3″ TV screen which pivots from the roof panel in the rear compartment. Because they can. 

[6] “It’s claimed to be a future proof gargantuan ultimate driving machine that’s also an office/ cinema/ gaming room on wheels”. Christopher Butt. 

[7] Unlike the S-Class, the G70 Siebener is offered in pure EV form. Mercedes-Benz’s EV pathfinder in this sector (and newfound centre of product gravity) is of course the EQS, which apparently has not met with wholehearted approval in the vitally important Chinese market. “That MB didn’t take that market’s rear accommodations focus into account is a peculiar oversight – and one that the Bavarian competition clearly avoided”. Christopher Butt. 

[8] BMW CEO, Oliver Zipse told journalists at the Seven’s launch, “There is no such thing as a future-oriented design without controversy. We want to spark discussion about what we’re doing. I want controversy. If we don’t have it, then you already know it’s too easy. Then, out of the controversy you get engagement. Digitalise it, electrify it, make it a bit bigger. That’s the answer.” No recantation there.

Grateful thanks to Christopher Butt for insight and images.

Author: Eóin Doyle

Co-Founder. Editor. Content Provider.

57 thoughts on “Where Are We Now?”

  1. What a hideous beast.
    From the beavertooth grille with its slitty-eyed headlights, through its deep slabby sides to its overstyled rear, there is not one panel or detail that pleases. Not all the marketing psychobabble in the world could make this thing appealing. What a shame we lost Glas and not BMW, before it came to this. How are the mighty fallen…..

  2. Parental advice: looking at this terminally ugly contraption without protective eye glasses might cause eye cancer.

  3. When you are condemned to present every so often something new for new’s sake, in order to grow and survive, then statistically you will often fall into the trap of offering aesthetically offencive rubbish. Unless of course, your scope is to impose the aesthetically offensive rubbish.
    I am fully aware that my view doesn’t weigh too much, as i will never be in the market for a product that belongs in this sector, but i could live happily for life with a good example of an E32.

  4. This is one of the cars that look even worse in real life compared to the photos.
    The proportions are all messed up, and the brightwork and detailing just accentuates it, instead of trying to hide it.
    Hopefully the creation of this car shows up in someones memoirs one day, so we can figure out how it ended up like this.

    1. Anyone else remember when BMW advertised their cars as ‘The Ultimate Driving Machine’? I think they need a new adjective. Hmm…let me think.

    2. Good afternoon, Rodney and welcome to Driven To Write. You kindly left that abomination hidden behind an innocent looking URL. I am not so kind…

      Oh, my God!

      Did someone say “lipstick on a pig…”

    3. Good afternoon to you Daniel, and thanks for your kind welcome!

      Regarding the abomination that is the XM Red Label, who knew that there were fans of the A-Team’s van working in BMW’s design department..?

    4. The XM Label Red (*) looks like those bachelor party inflatable dolls, with their exaggerated red mouths in the shape of the “O” expression. Not that I’ve been anywhere near such dolls or anything.

      I’ll do the decent thing and not post a pic of what I’m talking about. The XM Label Red is enough crudeness for a day.

      (*): Yes, it’s “Label Red” instead of “Red Label”, which is fortunate as it does not stain the image of Johnnie Walker’s 8 year old blended brew.

    5. It´s hard to say which is worse. JW Red Label is memorably the worst blended whiskey I have tried. Grouse and Teacher´s are quite unpalatable and then rest of them have been nice (Vat 69 and Ballantine´s) to delightful Dewar´s White, Back Tee and Black Bottle. The Label Red car? My, oh my – and yes, the facial expression has regrettable associations.

    6. Bentley can’t be all that happy – they had Green, Black and Red Label versions.

    7. Re. Richard Herriott: I agree Red Label is not the best blended – a certain Sir Churchill notwithstanding – but it’s not too bad either, at least for me. I’m more for Black Label or Buchanan’s, though 🙂

      Anything to erase the mental image of that BMW abomination, really…

  5. It really doesn’t get any better with familiarity, does it? It looks like It was specifically designed to be intimidating, which makes it especially loathsome in my view.

    At least, in black, most of the clumsy detailing is obscured, although the ugly ‘black hole’ door handles and toilet seat bonnet shutline (which is badly misaligned on this example) still offend, as does the fussy garbage on the lower rear valance.

    I don’t know whether this will cheer readers up, or merely depress them by reminding them just how BMW has fallen in terms of design, but here’s a couple of images of the Siebener from a time when it was elegant, lithe and athletic looking:

    1. Thank you for the aesthetic relief, Daniel. My eyes needed that. At least I’m never likely to see the new one in my town.

    2. Oh, the E38! Fond memories! During my years in Cincinnati, USA, BMW North America had something called “Drive for the Cure” in which they toured the US with the entire BMW range and if they came to your town, you could sign up and drive the cars as many times as you wanted on a set route, by yourself, that is, with no one from BMW in the passenger seat, just a piece of paper with navigation instructions (no GPS). Each mile driven was $1 donated to cancer research.

      I signed up for this event several times in the late 90s and early 2000s and it was wonderful. The setting was a beautiful park in a lovely suburban/rural part of Cincinnati, surrounded by nice, twisty roads with little traffic and suspiciously little police presence (wink, wink…). Long story short, I tried the entire range, but I always went back to the E38 in all the variants present at any given year (740i, 740i Sport Pack, 740iL, 760iL). I’d settle into the driver’s seat, dial the local classical music radio station and just waft along those country roads, sometimes quite spiritedly, but always in a state of joy; what a sublime experience it was, every time!

      I wonder if today’s BMW would have the same enthusiast mindset to do that.

  6. Hideous comes to mind and those stylised exhaust ports smacks of bending over while dropping ones pants!

  7. thoroughly enjoyed this one. Rear view is a shocker which only highlights how *right *E38 seems in retrospect.

    Comment about the rear leg room is interesting and I have to agree. You said ‘focus’: I was expecting ‘fixation’. EQS seems to have an echo in Ioniq6, again not a great compliment to Sindelfingen

  8. I think there is some corollary between a particular type of car, its owner and the way it is parked. Surely with all that tech it should be possible to do better than that. The joke ‘it’s alright, I can walk to the kerb’ comes to mind. And for all the quality detailing, the M badging on the boot looks as if it’s an add-on from Ebay.

    1. I saw one of these in an ikea car park; blurgh was my only response. What an ugly ugly car. Hyundai and Genesis’s offerings atm (even if they’re only concepts) are *so* much better looking. Genuinely pretty machines, not a pile of bricks on wheels.

  9. I think it is a shame most of these sold will be specced in M Package trim because to my eyes the ‘base’ g70 is more coherent and calm. Just as with all new BMWs at the moment.

    It is a major step up from the previous generations in terms of presence. This is a 2.5-7ton sedan and it is not pretending to be something that it isn’t. Looking at it from that point of view I believe the design team have done a good job. It is a car you cannot miss or mistake for something else.
    Apart from the shouty front end the rest is quite clean and regal.

    1. Yes, it seems to look better in a lighter colour; ‘blocky’ designs often do.

      That XM Label Red thing posted by Rodney, above, really is awful but the purpose of all of these vehicles is to be controversial and be discussed, as Herr Zipse said. Unfortunately for that strategy, there comes a point where the shock factor wears off and they will have to do something else.

      On a different topic, that street looks nice. I guess the houses won’t have garages, though, as they’ll be too old to have them. If ‘mobility solutions’ catch on and car ownership decreases, it could clear the streets of cars, so that’s something to look forward to, possibly. There must have been stables down this street, somewhere, so perhaps we’ll need something similar in future years in each neighbourhood where we can park self-driving cars.

  10. Although it definitely looks better in base trim, it’s still an incoherent and basically ugly design. I keep wondering whether minds will adapt to it in the way that they did – to an extent – with the infamous ‘Bangle-Seven’, a car I now admire and which still has a freshness to it (in my eyes, I know – for example – Dave will never agree, but that’s cool).

    Moreover, when one also takes in the BMW XM, iX (although that looks tame these days), one sees that BMW is designing itself into an extreme corner, from which it might be hard, in terms of corporate pride, to return.

    And, BMW’s sales are still strong, aren’t they?

    1. S.V. – yes, according to Automotive News Europe, they’re doing okay.

      Sales are a bit down in China and Europe, but are up in the US and they’re making progress with EVs.

      I don’t like a lot of what they do (although I think I like it better than many people) but they’ve really kept their profile high in turbulent times and against stiff competition, so there’s clearly method to their madness. In a funny sort of way, their almost abstract design matches the unsettling times we live in.

      Concepts like the i Vision Dee also show that they know how to do attractive design and offer hope for the future.


    2. In general, BMW sales are okay, but the New 7 is already sales flop. In Europe, their sales even far fewer then Merc EQS which is already not succesful product

  11. “Most of Dukec’s current output doesn’t so much speak as swear.”

    That’s very good. And like swearing, the offence originates from the mouth. Take away the face of the car and you’re left with a reasonably inoffensive lump unless you get out a tape measure. Although maybe the rear isn’t that great by the time you’ve got half way down the bootlid, so another human emanation comparison is due there.

    50 years ago, poor little BMW were chastised for emblazoning the front of their 2002 with a reverse TURBO. Looking at it now it seems quite innocent and understated compared with the great FU that the 7 Series offers your rearview mirror.

  12. The panel gaps are not that well handled. One would never draw a three way split the way it is handled on the wing/bumper junction. The brightwork at rear window is unsettling. And the varyint breadth of the DLO chrome is emphasis without meaning. I see too many horizontal lines on the back. Luckily I will probably rarely ever see one.

  13. I kind of agree with John
    It is a good design in as much it achieves the brief given to the designers: to show extreme agressivness.
    BMW had elegant agressivness in it’s bones since at least the Neue Klasse, but we do not live in elegant times.
    BMW certainly found that it’s target costumer has a desire for full-blown agressivness.
    Most DTW readers don’t like it, I guess. Neither me or you, Daniel.
    But we are not Bmw’s target audience, so we don’t matter to them.
    Let’s not forget the ‘ugly’, the ‘gongoric’ etc. are also aesthetical categories, along with the ‘elegant’ and the ‘beautiful’.
    I may love the gothic and hate the barroque, but that is a matter of personal values and aesthetical inclination, not a matter of design ‘value’.
    The design ‘value’ resides in it’s coherence and fitness for purpose, and I will call the first BMW X6 to illustrate my point: I hated it the first time I saw it. A bunch of friends (mostly women) with zero knowledge or interest in cars (and unable to identify a car aside it’s color) felt assaulted each time they saw one. Car magazine reported no one gave them the way on junctions or roundabouts.
    That’s why I consider said X6 a great design, completely logic and fit for purpose, saying as loud as possible ‘get out of my way, little man!’
    They sold it a lot, and the rest of us hated it a lot – so, mission acomplished.

    The reasons why those who have the money to buy them new feel the need to identify themselves with such set of values is another story…

    1. It’s a fair point Gustavo that most of DTW’s time is spent commenting on what people should like, whereas designers try to pander to what they do like. Or to what they think people like. And I guess we’ve become conditioned to the idea that the target demographic for such vehicles is no longer some mythical refined Western aesthete, but an arguably equally mythical self-aggrandising, semi-feudal Far Eastern industrialist.

      This is a war of escalation and, looking back, who can we blame for starting it? BMW with the E60 (which personally I had no problem with) and the X6? Audi with their oversized (well they seemed so at the time) grilles and the (then huge) first Q7? Mercedes, with the many crimes carried out in the name of Sensual Purity?

    2. European automotive design has largely parted company from mainstream taste. I have no problem with most designed things (buildings excepted). I wonder how the buying public feel – do they really like this or is that they just uninterested?
      Is this BMW good design? No, not even in terms of pandering. It doesn´t pander well and those aspects that are pure professionalism are neglected. Look at those horrible panel gaps.r

    3. BMW still field a contender for best luxury car in the world, however it’s badged as a Rolls-Royce.

    4. Good morning Lazlo

      Please allow me to reply
      First, let me say I apreciate your point of view. But…

      1- As Goodog wrote above, BMW also designs the rolls-royce, which doesn’t follow the same route and don’t receive the same comments. The management is the same, and one wonders if the design teams are completely separated from each other.

      2- If it is dificult for you to believe BMW ‘uglifyes’ their products on purpose, it is harder for me to believe Tom V achieved, above, a better result than the BMW design team.

      3- having nothing to do with automobile design and knowing nothing about the industry, as an architect I too design objects. And I can not imagine how anyone can achieve such a complex and convulated ‘face’ (I look and look and I can’t understand it) ‘jumping’ above better, more ‘natural’ solutions (like Tom V did) and not seeing them…

  14. BMW seems currently to be with a range of vastly different iterations of the classic ‘kidneys’ grille. Here’s the latest M2’s version:

    Did they subcontract the front end to Lego, by any chance? It looks like a knock-off Dodge.

  15. I was driving quietly home the other day when one of them approached me with the grill illuminated. I started laughing so hard, because it caught me completely off-guard. It looked like the wet dream of a bumper car champion. Or as if my 10 year old neighbour was allowed to decorate the car with his LED fairy lights. Like adding whipped cream to your cappucino. Vulgar.

  16. The X6 has to be the worst looking BMW ever with the other cars mentioned here running it close. The purpose of any product is to sell. If you told BMW they would’nt sell any 7 series they wouldn’t make them. We in Europe maybe appalled by the 7 but perhaps we are no longer the primary market and that other market may like it. I’ve not seen any 7’s here in France but there are many giant SUV’s presumably purchased by wealthy individuals who respond to theses horrors. Even now I feel that it is a shame when I see huge, aggressive and irrelevant pumped up hatch backs (SUV’s) crawling around the streets of my city when only a few years ago most french people would have chosen a small personal car, so much more appropriate to its location. What I’m saying here is that these things seem, ‘unfrench’.

    1. About high-ridind SUV’s and CUV’s and such, I may contribute with an explanation as bad as anyone’s: after the 9/11 and the random terrorist actions that followed, people’s sense of unsafeness grew. Some people felt they would be safer in a bigger, Higher riding car (an inofensivo Cahsqai Will do). After that, other people followed the same router, if only to be able to see the road ahead among all those trucks.

      Only the stupid ones like me run against the tide and choose to use a Smart Roadster as a daily drive (not just a middle age crisis, Gentlemen. Also a political statement)

  17. Thank you Bristowfuller

    I believe aesthetical tendencies are very much the product of a given society set of values on a given period.

    So, my questions are: what happened in our societies that transformed the mytical refined Western aesthete (and/or industrialist) into someone in Hamburg who bought today’s subject of conversation?

    Imagining said person’s father bought the E38 and said person’s grandfather bought an E3, why did him just bought a G70?

    I believe the answer is outside design or designers. They work following a brief, and their employer’s never had so much information (data, metadata, etc) about their potential customers as they do now.

    So ‘who’ is the culprit?
    Is it the war? was it the covid-19? Was it the 2007 finantial crash? The 9-11? The fall of the Eastern block? The polution and ecological evergrowing issues since the 70’s

    Is it the Western de-industrialization? The Global Agreement for Tarifs and Trade? The evergrowing concentation of resources in the hands of fewer and fewer individuals?

    Each one will have his opinion

    1. I’ll give you my mother’s. Of course she exhibits bias given her history as descendent of Chiang Kai Shek’s political circle, but her supposition is that as a result of the rampant destruction of historic art and culture under Mao’s ‘Revolution’ that the newly wealthy middle class in ‘the mainland’ have no concept of what constitutes sophistication and elegance, rather they simply want the largest, shiniest, and shoutiest thing imaginable. Whether or not that theory holds any water and whether or not that has influenced Munich’s design decisions in this case is up to the reader to decide.

  18. Ugh.

    I take Gustavo’s point that the design is probably fit for purpose, which is possibly why so many of us have such a visceral reaction: it represents values we don’t share. That panel gap is inexcusable, though. There is, however another part of that same equation: designers (and marques as a whole) aren’t automatons who simply output a car given a certain input. They are supposed to be human beings capable of making their own choices. Like Gustavo wondering about the mental state of the customer who chooses such a product (and for a customer, a level of disinterest can be an extenuating circumstance), I wonder about the mental state of those who produce a design like this.

    Zipse’s dictum “any attention is good attention” is something you say when you are panicking and no longer capable of contemplation and the resulting nuance that is the essence of good judgement. It’s comfortingly black and white when you’re in fight or flight mode, but it is not the sign of a sound mind. Not to imply a disorder or a mental illness, just the extremes of “normal” human psychology.

    I do find Christopher’s assertion that this car is something of a compromise between two design philosophies interesting. If I squint, I can see a car of reasonable proportions lurking under all the gaff (and even a Hofmeister kink). For an earlier DTW post about the 7, I had a crack at removing some of the gaff:

    1. We are on the same page Tom, aside your writing adding further depth to the matter.

      Regarding your 7, you prove that G70 is not essentially an unelegant design (since the side view and general proportions bear no fundamental errors). It was determined at management level it should be uglyfied (front, rear and detailing sufices) in order to get closer to customers desires.

      Congratulations Tom.
      Another ride on Imgur and most DTW writers and readers will ‘buy’ your cleaned up 7

    2. Much of the offensiveness is in the grille and how it seems to be bulging out of the front volume. The more I look at the panel gap joining the wing to the front bumper, the more unpleasant I find it. It´s like something Chrysler would do in 1998.

    3. Thanks Gustavo, now for payment details… 😁

      Richard: the way they did the panel gaps at the front makes it look like the Iranian-made distant cousin of the “proper” 7 series after the fifth facelift in twenty years. It seems deliberately amateurish.

    1. The BMW’s front-end resemblance to the Hongqi, which was launched in 2020, is very striking. I know, given the lead times for the designs, that BMW couldn’t have copied Hongqi, but both cars are clearly designed to appeal to similar tastes, and those are not European.

    2. I agree. The Hongqi’s front end is somehow more coherent and the flanks cleaner than those of the BMW.The fastback rear end and, in particular, the rounded rear quarter-window, looks strangely at odds with the angular styling elsewhere, however.

    3. As I say, not horrible. I see a BMW trope, the chrome hockey stick made it to China. The three light side glass is an interesting throwback. At least it´s interesting to look at rather than unsettling. It makes me think of the Jaguar XJ-S, being an amalgamation of several not-entirely-consistent designs.

  19. Please post here the first picture.

    The engine bonnet at the driver side is lower and higher at the fromt passenger side. There is an obvious and assimetrical gap: The bonnet is not horizontal. There are two explanations: The car had a crash and was not repaired properly (highly unlikely) or -more likely- the assembly of this car has been made by 1980s Zastava Yugo standars.

    My 2004 Toyota Avensis after 19 years of use does not show this kind of sloppy workmanship.

    Somewhere I read that ultra-expensive cars are not really industrial products, but handcrafted, i.e., WORSE than cars produced in great quantity.

    In my mind I call the BMX X6 “the pregnant Whale”. The first time I saw one I could not believe they designed, built and sold such a monstrosity.

  20. I would like to believe in the theory that BMW is uglifying their cars on purpose after carefully studying customer data, but I can’t. In fact I fear something worse: these companies are in an automotive design crisis.
    It is known for years that automotive designers are kind of underappreciated, especially in mechanical engineering-focused environments like German corporations, where they are viewed as sort of car-stylists and are looked down upon by the typical Dr. of Engineering managers that rule the German car manufacturing world. Of course industrial design in general is a strugglesome career in any business – be it healthcare, architecture or consumer goods. But what if BMW & co. can no longer hire the best people in the industry or the organization puts their work to such a low priority that they are no longer motivated to perform their role flawlessly? Naturally I do not mean lead designers like Josef Kabaň – he proved that he has a sense of aesthetics, but I see this trend when looking at car interiors (a typical junior designer task) that although all of them are made of cheap materials, some are just more coherently arranged, while others cannot really hide the mentioned fake Patek Philippe flair. The VW Golf Mk7 vs Mk8 to me is an example of such a design de-evolution, but the BMW 7-series not just a small step backward, but they must be experiencing like a total collapse of the design department.
    But that’s just another theory to this mystery as I refuse to believe that motivated people who studied design in the best universities of the world to fulfil their dream career of working for a premium car brand come up with something like this. Only burnt-out, uninspired corporate staff can put out such monstrosities. Or maybe BMW is already using AI to generate new cars and the 7-series is the product of such an algorithm.

    1. Good morning Lazlo

      Please allow me to reply
      First, let me say I apreciate your point of view. But…

      1- As Goodog wrote above, BMW also designs the rolls-royce, which doesn’t follow the same route and don’t receive the same comments. The management is the same, and one wonders if the design teams are completely separated from each other.

      2- If it is dificult for you to believe BMW ‘uglifyes’ their products on purpose, it is harder for me to believe Tom V achieved, above, a better result than the BMW design team.

      3- having nothing to do with automobile design and knowing nothing about the industry, as an architect I too design objects. And I can not imagine how anyone can achieve such a complex and convulated ‘face’ (I look and look and I can’t understand it) ‘jumping’ above better, more ‘natural’ solutions (like Tom V did) and not seeing them…

  21. I don’t dislike it. It’s brutal and has presence.
    The criticism of the grill seems unnecessary bearing in mind all cars from the 1920 -1940s had huge flamboyant grills. The 1970s Pontiac GTO ‘judge’ and Firebirds had the polyurethane nosecones that look similar and are much appreciated.

  22. As ugly as this car might be, there is still a lot to comment on and discuss. For example I find the BMW circular badge to be very unpleasing inside the narrow bonnet groove defined by the kidneys.

    Look at the latest from BMW – the I Vision Dee – you wonder if the subject is the car at all.

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