Automotive design isn’t an easy game to get into and it’s an even harder game to win. Just ask Chris Bangle, the man responsible for the design direction of just about every early to mid-2000s BMW. His most famous, or should we say infamous creation, is the E65 7-Series and now, some two decades after its release, we wonder what you all think of it now.
To be very clear, Bangle himself didn’t put the pen to paper with regard to the E65 7-Series. That job was done by the man who ultimately succeeded Bangle as the head of design at BMW, Adrian van Hooydonk. Despite that, as the man who ultimately signed off on that design, the car’s rear end was dubbed the Bangle-Butt to the point that even today, many automotive enthusiasts are familiar with the phrase.
In fact, some people still hate it so much that they go to extreme lengths, like grafting the tail lights from a Lancia Delta onto it in place of the originals. Despite that, we get the feeling that many fans might have started to come around to the design.
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It’s quite clear that BMW as a brand had no problem with the somewhat shocking break from convention that Chris Bangle introduced to the lineup. It wasn’t long ago that critics were calling the brand out for its excessively large vertical kidney grilles. On top of that, the new XM line takes things to a different level of extreme.
Perhaps Bangle and van Hooydonk were ahead of their time. To my eyes, the E65 serves as a somewhat fitting transitionary stage between the very conservative yet extremely handsome BMWs that came before it and the raucous almost garish ones that have arrived since. There’s a charming quality about it that is hard to find in BMW’s current lineup.
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The new M4 CSL, for example, is about as conservative as the Lamborghini Egoista single-seater concept car. The new 2023 M2 that debuted this week seems as confused as any BMW has ever been with regard to how it should be styled. Of course, we might find ourselves back here in a couple of decades wondering if those giant kidney grilles weren’t really all that bad.
What do you think of the E65 7-Series today? Have your say in the comments below.