The latest BMW 7 Series is a handsome car from almost every angle - but its April Fool's joke of a snout has even the frequently divided world of automotive enthusiasts united in derision. The situation at launch wasn't too dissimilar from Chris Bangle's notorious rethink of the same model, which attracted comparable scorn in the early 2000s, albeit for the styling of the opposite end of the car.
Nowadays Bangle's design looks rather smart, likely falling into the 'ahead of its time' section of BMW's back catalogue - though if the same is to ever become true of the facelifted G11 iteration, I'm not sure that's a future I want to live in. Luckily today's Spotted is an antidote to all that; an example of the lineage which needs no equivocation.
With its smart, broad lines, bulging arches and upright stance, the E38 7 Series managed to look both dignified and sporty at the same time - comfortable yet purposeful, a thoroughbred saloon fit for A-roads and Autobahns alike.
Under the bonnet a range of engine provided the go to match the show. No, our hero may not boast the 5.4-litre V12 of the 750, with its 322hp, 361lb ft and ultimate bragging rights, but your wallet will likely thank you for that down the road. Instead we must make do with the 282hp and 325lb ft of our Spotted's 4.4-litre V8 - still a lot of engine, if not a prodigious output, nearly two decades on.
To sweeten the deal further, the 740i in question is a one-owner car. With just 43,000 miles on the clock (that's less than 2,400 miles a year) and a fastidious service history, it seems to be in excellent shape. Those multi-spoke radial wheels look to be in fantastic condition, their perfect ratio of rim to rubber filling the arches just so.
And being a 7-Series, many of the mod-cons you'd still pay extra for on a car today are present and correct - it was the first European model to be available with sat-nav, after all. There's heated front and rear seats, dual-zone climate control, power folding mirrors, rain sensing wipers, a multifunction sports steering wheel, it's even got an electric rear blind. The claimed sunroof does seem conspicuous in its absence, though...
Sure, some of those electrics may prove to be irksome during ownership, and if this particular car has been specced with the optional double-glazed windows then delamination may be a concern - but then again it may not. Either way you'll have one of the most handsome saloons ever made, powered by a silky smooth V8 to waft around in; a car that was fit for 007, no less. Okay, so Brosnan's Bond may have had the V12 (naturally) but who's really going to know? In an era when new cars really can navigate a car park with the touch of a phone, this old pretender is still where my money would go.
SPECIFICATION - BMW 740i (E38)
Engine: 4,398cc V8
Transmission: 5-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 282
Torque (lb ft): 325
First registered: 2001
Recorded mileage: 43,000
Price new: £45,000 (2001)
Yours for: £9,495