Dateline: San Antonio TEXAS

Deep in the heart of Texas lies the historic and quaint city of San Antonio. Just outside of San Antonio the landscape evolves rolling, terraced hills covered with Texas oaks, prickly pear and yucca. Small valleys scattered with farms and cattle are part of the picture. This sets the scene. Monday, January 21st - Take One. ACTION . . . A quiet storm sweeps through the Hill Country of Texas, whipping around ridges, thundering down into valleys, and ripping up the limestone hillsides People stop and stare. The Magnificent Seven has arrived - BMW's all new 7 series - and I'm behind the wheel.


The new 745i and a longer wheelbase 745Li , are the first wave of BMW's ground-breaking move into the future. The 7's styling, design, and engineering are clearly a break from the past and, given BMW's loyal following, have created quite a stir. On the plane traveling to San Antonio, I read every magazine article I could find on the new 7 series. The reviews are mixed and the arguments center on the looks. The exterior, due to its radically different shape, is quite controversial. At first glance, in photos, the car does appear unpleasantly plump. The 745i is truly not very photogenic. Fortunately, the photos are somewhat misleading. Personally, in the flesh, I found the car masculine and very handsome. One sad thing is that the familiar BMW grille did not seem as distinctive as I remember, but over a three day period, the new look grew on me and I became a fan. I spoke with Chris Bangle, director of design for BMW, who is both articulate and passionate in his loyalty to the car. His enthusiasm helped me to understand the "Form-Follows-Function" aspects the new design, and made me a "true believer." The new 7 simply works better than the old one, when it comes to packaging.