Confused? All at sixes and sevens? I sometimes think that the automotive industry has lost its way too. But, like lots of other things in life, motoring is a purely subjective matter. However, I still feel as though the industry does occasionally produce some rather odd and seemingly pointless creations from time to time.

Amidst the pointless, the sublime, and the ridiculous lies the drop-top Range Rover Evoque for instance. I mean, WHY? What were Land Rover even thinking? Perhaps it's a contraption designed for Cheshire farmers to whistle at their sheepdogs from imperious and cosseting leather seats: ”Come on Chardonnay! Come-about. That's a good lass!” When I see folk go by in one of those things with the top down, they remind me of The Hair Bear Bunch! A drop-head 4x4 comes in at about Number 5 in the 101 all-time best ways to look absolutely ridiculous in a car. Just, WHY?

Oh! And don't get me started on car names! Such as a pickup truck called the Mitsubishi Titan Dump. Or the Nissan Naked. Yes, honestly - a car called “a Naked!” We can stay ‘naked’ with another Mazda clanger, the Laputa which, in Spanish, means “lady of the night”. O-Kaaayy!? Fine! Let's remain within the realms of the risqué with the Ford Probe or perhaps a Mazda Minica Winky! Yes. A WINKY! Can you just imagine telling all your friends that you've got a lovely little Winky or perhaps letting the mechanic know that your Winky’s gone all wonky! No!! Pl-eeezz! Give me a Jaguar any day!

Crikey. Bring back the Zephyr, the Zodiac, the iconic Capri or Vauxhall’s wonderfully aptly named executive cruiser, the Senator. Wow! A Senator, that’s a pyramid of Ferrero Roche on wheels. It just exudes style, refinement and class. And the Vauxhall Senator had all of the above. On the other side of the coin, thinking about it, the good old “Escort” does come a little bit close to the Laputa. We’ll leave that one there!

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Creative juices

There’s one car that was never-ever pointless and it never needed to test the creative juices of those Bavarian boffins when it comes to dreaming up interesting new names. That's because it's always been called the 7 Series. It's never been a BMW Planet Zapper nor has the latest electric version hit the market as a BMW Soy Boy. It's always been a 7! Pure and simple. A magnificent 7 at that.

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Rather than segregate its latest luxury EV limo in the same way as Porsche have done with their Taycan, or Mercedes have done with their EQS, the BMW i7 saw the light of day at the exact same time as the rest of the latest 7 Series range. BMW insists that the i7 is a bonafide 7 Series quite regardless of drivetrain. Indeed, for UK customers, the i7 arrived on our shores well before the petrols and the hybrids. For the easily confused (such as myself) there is a bewildering array of powertrain options but it boils down to this: Petrol/PHEV variants or a full-on EV. It's like a good Chinese menu, there's something there for everyone.

Funnily enough, the very latest iteration is actually the seventh generation of the company’s range-topping 7 Series. The SEVENS keep on coming because the first model debuted in 1977 offering a better driver experience, greater dynamism and more by way of poise than Mercedes’ consummately respectable and upstanding S-Class. The big Beemer was certainly a lot more modernistic than Jaguar’s ‘Cognac and cigars’ XJ gentleman's club on wheels. Just like the Mercedes S-Class, the 7 Series has been all about innovation, with each new model bringing a host of cutting-edge goodies to the table.

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Talking about innovations, I very well recall test driving the fourth generation 7 Series. A car from the pen of BMW/Mini/Rolls-Royce designer Christopher Bangle. This model premiered the ‘Marmite’ BMW iDrive system which, for an old technophobe like me, I got on with perfectly well.

Despite such noteworthy BMW innovations as the iDrive system, the general consensus has always been that Mercedes’ S-Class is universally proclaimed as being the “best car in the world”. This is probably something of a deep annoyance to those Bavarian automotive boffins because there’s an underlying sense that BMW has always thrown all its experience and expertise into each new 7 Series model. But it's been something of a forlorn exercise. They've never quite managed to finally get one over their great rivals at Stuttgart. The old foe, with its famous three-pointed star, always seems to be just that weeny bit ahead of the game.

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However, like most aspects of the modern motoring world, things ARE changing. The all-electric i7 is moving BMW into the center stage. I'm not sure if this brave new motoring world is one that I can particularly embrace personally because the likes of BMW concentrates the “luxury” experience around something called “on-board well-being”. In other words, it’s all about a top-drawer digital experience delivered by its new OS8 software. OK, hands up, I literally have no idea what any of that means but I'm hoping it makes me come over all clever and with-it. No?

Anyway, I can reveal that there is an absolutely enormous 30 inch panoramic television ‘theater’ screen, which somehow emerges out of the roof lining for 7 Series rear-seat passengers. I mean, what's wrong with looking out of the windows? Isn't that what going out in a car is all about? Surely, you can watch The Lion King anytime, when you're at home?

Design philosophy

With this latest 7 Series, BMW have committed themselves to a brand new design philosophy. Some pundits think that the new 7 Series is proof enough that those brave Bavarians have actually lost the plot a bit. However, out on the open road, it works. The design is ultra-modern and really very different from all that went before. If you are of the opinion that all new cars look alike? Look again!

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At night, the enormous grille illuminates with the uppermost lights being a focal point with massive adaptive LEDs that come as standard. Although the latest 7 Series is a huge slab-sided affair, it still manages to be aerodynamically efficient. In the world of EVs, aerodynamics means efficiency. In the 1980’s, “aerodynamic” became an automotive buzzword. Well, it’s back, and it’s once again having a significant influence on motor car designs.

The latest package brings the world a whole new 7 Series that simply exudes character. BMWs have always relied on great engines for that “Ultimate Driving Machine” experience that we all adore, but the new 7 Series has much more to offer. Whilst the external apparition may be a tad "marmite" the interior is probably amidst the finest in the automotive world.

In a nutshell, whatever drivetrain you happen to choose, count on having a sublimely smooth, easy-to-drive and very rapid motor car that will also be incredibly efficient, considering its big luxury barge status. The new Magnificent 7 is the brainchild of many ingenious and exceptionally talented people. The result absolutely speaks for itself.


Douglas Hughes is a UK-based writer producing general interest articles ranging from travel pieces to classic motoring. 

Douglas Hughes