The previous 7 Series was controversial for all sorts of reasons but none more so than for its styling. This was the first production BMW to feature what BMW’s then chief designer, Chris Bangle, described as flame surfacing – and it kicked off a fiery debate that lasted for years.
Now, though, the all-new 7 Series has calmed down in its appearance and seems almost plain, which proves how easily we get used to things if we’re subjected to them for long enough.
The big difference between new and old Sevens visually is around the higher, more vertical nose, which thrusts its way out of the bonnet with even more authority than before. But if you look closely the whole shape has been subtly reworked to be softer and better looking, even if the profile still seems strongly familiar.
It’s not a gorgeous-looking car, but neither is it one that makes you recoil in shock as the previous version did when launched. Beneath the skin it makes several strides forward and, as ever, is a showcase for BMW’s various new technologies. The platform may well be brand new but the basic features are familiar: strut suspension at the front and multi-link at the rear, with power going to the rear wheels via a six-speed automatic ’box.