Exterior car design is a tricky balancing act of beauty, safety, and aerodynamics. Although attractiveness is in the eye of the beholder, there are extreme examples of car designs that are universally loved or hated. To analyse the design of the latest 2023 BMW 7 Series, and see where it falls in design excellence, we have Frank Stephenson, a former BMW designer who has a unique perspective on the design of iconic BMWs.
If you’re not familiar, Frank Stephenson is an experienced car designer with an impressive resume that includes supercars like the Maserati MC12, Ferrari F430, and every single modern McLaren from the 12C up until the 720S. Besides supercars, Stephenson’s design work includes the BMW Mini Cooper, Fiat 500, and the BMW X5. Stephenson’s design career gives him a unique perspective on the design of the polarising 2023 BMW 7 Series and allows him to judge the exterior with an expert’s eye.
The 2023 G70 BMW 7 Series debuted earlier this spring as the latest instalment of BMW’s flagship saloon. BMW plans to offer four versions of the G70 7 Series that include a base inline-6 powered 740i, a V8 powered 760i, and a plug-in hybrid 750e. BMW is also planning to offer an EV version of the G70 7 Series called the i7.
Stephenson’s initial analysis of the G70 BMW 7 Series was much more positive than his reactions to other recent BMW designs. The design langue of this BMW includes grilles that Stephenson feels are too large for the 7 Series, but continue to define modern BMW exteriors. It’s clear to Stephenson that BMW took a much safer approach when designing the G70 BMW 7 Series, when compared to other BMWs, and even simplified some of the design cues compared to the previous generation car.
So, what would Stephenson change on the exterior of the G70 BMW 7 Series? Well, for starters a smaller grille is a must to offer a more proportional design. Next, Stephenson suggests incorporating the running lamps into the lower headlamps to give the G70 BMW 7 Series a unique look reminiscent of the days of pop-up headlamps.
From a side profile, Stephenson has a great deal of positive feedback. For starters, the controversial chrome hockey stick embellishment from the previous 7 Series is gone. There's a clear crease that goes across the entire car from the front headlamp to the rear taillight which is a highlight for Stephenson.