I remember first seeing the movie “The Transporter”, starring Jason Statham, just a little over ten years ago. I was around 14 when I first saw it and I loved it, I loved the action, I thought Jason Statham was the toughest guy on the planet, but most of all I loved the car. I used to daydream about ripping through the street and slicing through traffic in a black on black E38 BMW 735i with a 6-speed manual (even though the car used in the movie was a 750iL).
Every time I saw an E38 7 Series on the streets it would evoke visions of being Frank Martin, driving through France, banging off red-line upshifts while simultaneously punching baddies in the face. That car is what made me fall in love with the brand and inspired me to make my first car purchase, a 1996 328i sedan (I couldn’t afford a 7).
After the E38, BMW seemed to have lost its way, with the ever-so-ugly E65. Calling it ugly may come at an odd time, as Chris Harris just recently proclaimed Chris Bangle, the E65’s designer, a prophet and that the E65 wasn’t ugly but ahead of its time.
I must disagree with Mr. Harris, as I find the E65 to be shocking, not even just in its looks but as a car in general. Whereas the E38 was graceful, understated yet still athletic, the E65 was techno-filled, outrageous and a bit vulgar. It was also too heavy and never had the handling chops the E38 had. It completely turned me off from the 7 Series line thereafter. It wasn’t just me either, even Frank Martin switched to Audi after the E65 debuted. Its F01 successor didn’t do much to help either, growing in both size and weight while not gaining much in the performance department.
The 7 Series has yet to retain its glory since its E38 iteration.
However, BMW seems poised to bounce back from its days of “Bangle-Butt” and “Flame Surfacing”. The upcoming G11 7 Series shows promise, in its spy shots and early renderings. It looks low-slung and lithe, aggressive yet sophisticated. The same qualities I so admired in Frank Martin’s transport machine. It looks like it can properly handle, too. That steeply-raked roofline and C pillar give it an athletic look its past two predecessors didn’t have.
The interior seems to be simplified as well, which is a good thing, seeing as the past two generations have just been massive techno-fests. While the G11 will most definitely have all of BMW’s latest technology, and probably some new tech-tricks up its sleeve, it seems to mask it all pretty well.
From what I’ve seen, albeit there hasn’t been much leaked so far, I have high hopes for the G11 7 Series. It could just be wishful thinking, this new G11 could turn out to be another E65-type monstrosity, but I have a feeling that this new car will bring back many of the things I loved about the E38. Just maybe, hopefully, the new G11 7 Series will be good enough that Frank Martin would buy one again.
Twitter handle: @EngineBayBlog