Vellum Venom: 2012 BMW 750Li

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta
“I wish I came up with that.”

That’s a phrase I said many a morning when the studios at CCS woke up to a bumper crop of new student designs for the week. Just because you can visualize it doesn’t mean you can make it happen. Self pity/loathing aside, the 5th generation BMW 7-series is one of those visions in my head that I could never make. It’s not my cup of tea, and perhaps you don’t like it either. But the attention to detail (ATD) in this shockingly cohesive Luxury sedan implementation are not to be ignored.

Flow: the 7-er has so much flow that the sheet metal might as well be bursting at the seams with kinetic energy. Colors and lines literally dance off the light and shadows presented here, with surface tension so well executed I can’t find a line out-of-place. That said, I think the headlights could be a little higher (or the grille a little lower) to give the 7’s face a bit nicer posture, and the hood cut line should bend downward at the ends to accentuate the bulging hood.

But this nose is remarkably well designed. Imagine Lincoln’s bow wave grille on this canvas!

Surface tension. Kinetic energy. There’s something about this machine that pushes all the right buttons, especially when the lighting embellishes the bends and curves.

I tried not to like the BMW Z4-esque flat bumper treatment on the 7-series, but dammit, it looks stunning. It looks like a top dollar luxury car. And it literally takes the Z4’s façade to school.

While I constantly and consistently dislike the headlight eyebrows first seen on the E60 BMW 5-series, the frosted glass treatment here is more subtle; befitting a luxury car. What kills the mood are the marketing messages hidden under the plastic. Does anyone care about this technology enough to advertise? No, you don’t advertise at this price point. This is tacky.

Contrasting the flowing energy up top is a rather blocky lower valence with trapezoidal fog lights. Like a woman with the right proportion of muscle to fat, this totally works. You need static and dynamic elements together, otherwise any car’s surface is dull and/or out of proportion.

Once again, this one’s got nice curves. Unlike smaller BMWs, the 7’s prodigious nose helps these forms make complete sense.

Notice from this angle how the curves blend with hard bends and straight lines from the fender. Proportion Über Alles!

Chrome fender appliqués are bad enough these days, but BMW went and ruined the whole thing with a two piece affair that bleeds over to the door! The side marker light is necessary, so just frame it in chrome and be done with it.

While the chrome bit flows with the rest of the body, it’s more of a pimple on a rather perfect complexion. Even the yellow marker light is low and long: accentuating the visual presence of the 7-er.

And while tall cowls and pedestrian friendly noses have made the fender-to-greenhouse mating a little complicated, this looks far better than the 3-series we previously reviewed.

More to the point, imagine if the top edge of the hood matched the lower chrome molding on the door glass. Clean.

Much like the Z4-like front end, I really wanted to dislike these door pulls. But they are so well executed, right down to the subtle yet somehow flashy use of chrome! What you see here is a fine complement to the front end’s fantastic surface tension.

While the side view mirrors do try to do “soft and lean”, they are too big and blocky to speak to the rest of the 7-series. Some twisted part of me wants to see E36 M3 side view mirrors on this beastie. It’s probably the same part that wishes this body was actually for the next generation Lincoln Town Car. Panther Love comes in all shapes and sizes, son…

My goodness you have a long…door. Aside from the harsh “divot” in the door’s cut line (thanks to that hard bend), this shot embodies the Grace and Pace we expect from a top-tier luxury whip. Look out! Someone’s Rolls Royce influence might be showing!

A beautiful DLO (daylight opening) and even the gas door looks cool with the hard crease in it. My only beef? Add another curve starting at the base of the door cut line so it “dances” with the wheel well opening. That’s suitably luxurious.

Surface tension again: instead of a boring blob of a roof, there’s a gentle crease that adds a muscular tone to the package. Much like the calves of a beautiful woman (or man if the reader prefers, as I don’t discriminate like that), Bavaria got this one so right. I wish more design firms would remember this point…so to speak.

Finishing the long body side curves are a logical end: the tail light. Even better, the red thing’s inner curves dance delightfully well with the exterior metal.

Tall and very well organized. There’s no Cadillac CTS buffalo butt, nor is the Bangle Butt of the previous 7-series (plural) present. Curves and cut lines are quite harmonious.

Nary a Bangle to be seen! Also note the gentle and flowing tumblehome to the greenhouse, accentuated by the hard bends at the door handle. Muscle and curves in harmony. Lovely.

I could do without the chrome license plate mustache on so many vehicles, but I will say that the 7-er’s addition of chrome backup lights does help integrate the package. I’d put more chrome (or translucent stuff like the headlights) and ditch the stereotypical bit on the deck lid.

I know this car is very tall, just look at the space between the tailpipes and the Roundel emblem on the trunk! But still, again, the 7-series masks the bulk so darn well!

After enduring this car’s E65 forefather for far too many years, let’s enjoy this lightly Bangled section of surfacing.

Even the drip rail is a stunning piece of integration. Calculus books are jealous.

The third brake light (CHMSL) is eye-catching for all the right reasons. Then again, for the price, it should be swathed in Alcantara. That would be sweet.

The marker lights don’t quite line up with the tailpipes, but perhaps that’s one reason the rear end doesn’t look especially gigantic: it visually breaks up your sight lines. In a good way.

Thank you all for reading, have a great week.

Sajeev Mehta
Sajeev Mehta

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  • Dave M. Dave M. on Jun 30, 2012

    "Irrefutable proof that beauty (or lack thereof) is in the squinted, 20/400 eyes of the beholder." That is gold!

    • VQ37VHR VQ37VHR on Jul 19, 2012

      I too enjoyed that and will use it as my own.

  • Oldyak Oldyak on Jul 22, 2012

    I really enjoyed this! and would love a critique if an earlier..say 1997 740iL and your thoughts on it. Painful or not.

  • Scott Le Mans - Steve McQueen. It's an oldy and cult only but those who saw it know who's cars were featured.
  • Sobhuza Trooper Gas powered generators? The Wretched Past. UGH!!!! Battery powered generators? The Glorious FUTURE. YEA!!!!! Let California Californicate the World!!!!
  • Yuda Power grid is already failing with the few chargers there are This is just gonna make things worse for normal people
  • Yuda EVs in general are a scam LMAO I'm not surprised
  • Lou_BC "In 2007, 85% of Americans drove themselves to work and 6% rode with someone else. But by 2018, while the 6% of Americans who carpool has remained constant, there has been a decrease in the percentage of those who drive themselves to work, edging down to 77%." .................. If people can't recharge at home, it would be logical to set up charging infrastructure at workplace parking lots. That would cover 77% of the population. An 8 hour workday should be adequate to keep an EV charged.