Fiuggi, Italy - The new 7-series is a huge gamble for BMW. The company has launched a car that completely defies conventional thinking on interior and exterior design into one of the most conventional segments of the market. Predictably, BMW disagrees about whether the Seven is a risk. Burkhard Gschel, the board of management member in charge of research, engineering, and purchasing, says that widespread acceptance of the new 7-series and its high technologies will be only a matter of time: "If you want to set new standards, you must be prepared to break new ground. We felt that a radically different shape and a radically different ergonomic concept were compulsory to leapfrog the competition. It may take a little time to get used to the iDrive system's one-knob-does-it-all approach, but once you get the hang of it, the system is more rewarding than a zillion buttons."
BMW gave its outspoken chief designer, Chris Bangle, carte blanche with the new 7-series, and the results are mixed. The exterior styling is let down by a nondescript grille and strange, teardrop-shaped headlamps, as well as a series of odd curves and cutlines at the rear and a coffin-style lid for the trunk. There is nothing wrong with developing a new design language, but we wonder: Does it really have to be this controversial... Read full article