With the current generation of the 7-Series, which made its debut in 2009, BMW has found a way to satisfy its loyal followers, as well as present a design that stands out in its class. While the previous-generation 7-Series had a tiered decklid (Bangle butt) that had trouble finding friends, along with some seemingly overwrought details, the current 7-Series sedans are knockouts, with more exciting proportions and a relaxed silhouette that stretches 5.5 extra inches on long-wheelbase cars.
The details work, inside and out, down to the wide air intake across the 7er's front end. The trunk is smoother, the shoulders fit better, the taillights look more integrated with the whole. The 7er's twin-kidney grille looks pleased, sitting atop a deep air dam, split into a wide grin. Sublime touches of BMW's sport-sedan heritage come at the kink in the rear roofline. Long-wheelbase cars don't stretch the shape out of balance -they just add more glass in the rear doors.
The dash flows in a serene way across the cockpit. Details like the iDrive joystick don't stick out in the blend of formal and cutting-edge shapes. Designers have tried to minimize the chaotic mix of screens, buttons, and knobs where possible, regrouping them into more logical groups. The dash itself has been streamlined for a cleaner appearance. The driver can black out the instruments entirely. They otherwise glimmer softly among ceramic-finished knobs, dense-grain wood trim,and the controllers that control its driving dynamics and transmission, as well as iDrive.