Back in its day, the E65 BMW 7 Series was quite the controversial car. Its styling was far too progressive for the likes of journalists and enthusiasts, who felt that it had strayed too far from BMW’s traditional design language. It was also far too complex and unreliable for most customers. But, many years later, the E65’s design — as well as all Bangle era designs — is beginning to gain more appreciation and heavy value depreciation has caused enthusiasts to potentially reconsider it as a cheap luxury car. So, to get some perspective as to what the E65 is like compared to other cheap luxury cars in its price range, let’s take a look at how it compared against them back in its own day.

In this retro review from Car and Driver (you all know how much I love those), we get to travel back to 2003, when I was a freshman in high school. Back in December, 2003, the E65 BMW took on the Mercedes-Benz S430, Audi A8L, Lexus LS430, Jaguar XJ8, and the Volkswagen Phaeton (remember the Phaeton?!). So how did the controversial Bimmer do in that company?

E65 BMW 7 Series — “Bangle Butt”

Surprisingly, it did quite well. In fact, the comparison test never really mentions its “Bangle Butt” design, which was its biggest criticism at the time. C&D’s biggest complaint came with the E65’s overly complicated technology, which barely worked well anyway. Interestingly, the E65’s frustrating iDrive system, in its first generation, was the founding father of all infotainment systems we know today. So as annoying as it was, it led to technology that we cannot live without in modern cars anymore.

It handled well, too. It had good steering, a capable chassis, and an adaptive suspension that was able to tighten up in corners and slacken off on straights. Impressive tech back in 2003.

Check out this retro-review to see what was actually thought about the E65 BMW 7 Series back when it was new. Who knows, maybe it might convince you to get one now.

[Source: Car and Driver]