When BMW designer Chris Bangle first unleashed his version of venerable 7-Series in '02, the oddly angular "flame-surfacing" inflicted upon the plutocrats pride and joy was roundly criticized for not being round enough. At the same time, the overly-complex iDrive mouse controller iDrove customers nuts. Although Bimmer's brand cachet helped maintain the 7-Series' showroom momentum, the new, "refreshed" 7-Series was designed to right those wrongs and restore the natural order.
And so the Seven's sheet metal has returned to slab-sided safety. Gone too are the peculiar Dame Edna wraparound headlights and the gi-normous, protruding back end bustle. The hood has been re-sculpted as well, giving the car's nose a somewhat flatter, more balanced appearance. Otherwise, Bangle's art school over-indulgence has been replaced by, of all things, blingery. Xzibit A, B and C: the larger kidney grill at the front, the concave seven-spoke wheels and the more tightly gathered rear bumper (designed to show off the 7's wider rear track). The overall effect is extremely color-sensitive and a bit schizo: Bad Boyz meets Bavarian burghers.