Next-Gen BMW 7 Series’ Styling Seems Very Different From the Norm and It’s Weird

2023 BMW 7 Series rendering 11 photos
Photo: Reichel Car Design
2023 BMW 7 Series rendering2023 BMW 7 Series prototype2023 BMW 7 Series prototype2023 BMW 7 Series prototype2023 BMW 7 Series prototype2023 BMW 7 Series prototypeE65 BMW 7 SeriesF01 BMW 7 SeriesG11 BMW 7 Series2023 BMW 7 Series rendering
The Chris Bangle era BMW 7 Series, also known as the E65, was the first-ever modern-day flagship BMW sedan to feature what you might call controversial styling. Four years later, an updated version would arrive, with an entirely different look for both the front and rear fascia.
What came next were two entirely different 7 Series cars. The F01 and the G11 featured what you might call a much prettier aesthetic. Nobody took any major chances and they probably didn’t need to. Up next, however, is a brand new 7er, and judging by all the spy images we’ve sampled, its styling will be quite different from what we’re used to seeing from BMW.

There’s something happening with BMW now, and it’s hard for me to put my finger on it. On the one hand, they want us to accept their immense grille designs, only to then look forward to yet another major front-end styling change. We're likely dealing with a brand-new design language, possibly rushed into existence due to the carmaker’s push towards electrification, which itself feels rushed—as in, they really couldn’t come up with a better-looking electric SUV than the iX? Give me a break.

From what I can gather, the upcoming all-new 7 Series will share its exterior design with the fully electric i7, and that's a bit of a red flag. It’s hard to say which strategy is best, but Mercedes obviously decided to separate its regular lineup from its fully electric one (EQ range), which is why the EQS looks nothing like the latest S-Class. Audi is doing the same with its e-tron range, by the way.

BMW, on the other hand, might not be willing to go that far. Sure, the iX is pretty much alone on an island, but the i4 and the upcoming i7 will likely mirror their internal combustion engine counterparts in appearance.

2023 BMW 7 Series rendering
Photo: Reichel Car Design
So therein lies the problem. Looking at this digital render of a next-generation 7 Series by Bernhard Reichel, it feels worryingly accurate compared to all the spy images we’ve already showed you of the upcoming 7er. The front end appears to be surprisingly boxy, as is the overall profile of the luxury sedan. And what’s up with those headlights? They seem perfectly level with the grille, which reminds me of the E31 8-Series, except that one had a tiny grille, so its design actually worked.

Personally, I’m worried that the same person who signed off on the quirky iX SUV also signed off on the i7 and, in turn, the all-new 7 Series. If true, this means we might have to go back to the day of the F01 to come across a non-controversial 7 Series.

Unlike the E65 and even the G11 with its bulbous headlights, weird hockey stick insert and, subsequently, the gigantic grille, the F01 took all the revisions that went into making the E65 more pretty come LCI time and blew everything up.

F01 BMW 7 Series
Photo: BMW
Penned by Lebanese designer Karim Habib (who also worked on the 6 Series Gran Coupe and the original X6), the F01 is arguably the prettiest 7 Series model ever built. Back when it came out, I remember thinking how much it reminds me of that era’s Lexus LS, which looking back, was somewhat of a compliment.

The next-generation 7 Series might not remind us of anything at all, unfortunately. It might just be the first of its kind: a luxury sedan designed by people who believe electric cars need to look aggressively quirky regardless of which segment they belong to.

I hope I’m wrong and that somehow, it’s not going to look weird at all. But at this point, and judging by everything I’ve seen, the next-gen 7 Series not looking weird is a bit of a long shot. Fingers crossed, though.
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About the author: Sergiu Tudose
Sergiu Tudose profile photo

Sergiu got to experience both American and European car "scenes" at an early age (his father drove a Ford Fiesta XR2 supermini in the 80s). After spending over 15 years at local and international auto publications, he's starting to appreciate comfort behind the wheel more than raw power and acceleration.
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