If the new BMW 7 Series isn’t your idea of a Bavarian beauty, how about the E38? Rumour had it there were three proposals and the bigwigs chose the ‘safest’ one.
But it turned out perhaps ‘safe’ wasn’t safe after all: the 7 Series failed to beat the amazing A8 and more disappointingly the S-Class.
“The trouble with the 740i isn’t that it does anything badly, but that it fails in any significant measure to advance the luxury car art, as the S-Class did with its refinement,” we said. “Instead, it’s a natural but predictable progression of the E32 but less appealing visually, inside and out.”
“The 7 Series remains the driver’s choice just as clearly as its predecessor. But the A8 runs it closer than you would credit in these areas and in one crucial way leaves the BMW behind: it has genuine, unaffected elegance.
“But when it comes to what these cars must do above all – effortlessly transport people huge distances in peerless surroundings and comfort – the S-Class remains untouched.”
Ford’s plan to revitalise
Ford set itself up for the 21st century with a major ‘realignment’ strategy, merging its European and American divisions and harnessing economies of scale for ‘global Fords’ and a load of new models for its Aston Martin, Jaguar and Lincoln luxury brands. Did it work? No. It was more chaotic than efficient, and come 2000 Ford was in dire straits, losing money in both Europe and South America.