BMW's Return to The Big Grille Actually Dates Back to 1996 and This 7 Series Concept Proves It

This 1996 BMW ZBF Concept shows how the BMW E65 7 Series would have looked with a long kidney grille and a more retro-futuristic design

This is the 1996 ZBF 7 Series that eventually paved the way for the E65 7 Series. You can clearly see the 1930s inspired kidney grille design

It's designed by Joji Nagashima and all panels were hammered by hand by an Italian coachbuilder. Note the E9-inspired side gills

The ZBF is the first BMW concept to feature 20-inch wheels. They were developed by Dunlop and the treading was cut by hand

Inside, the similarities with t he E65 are jsut as obvious. Chris Bengal definitely got a few ideas from Nagashima

The 1996 ZBF even had iDrive before it became a thing on BMW production models

The board of directors loved Nagashima's concept, but for some reason we got the E65

The ZBF 7 Series was actually a fully-drivable concept car. In fact, one of the board directors wanted to drive it to an event

Swipe up to learn more about the ZBF 7er. Also, do you prefer its looks to those of the E65?

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