The E65/E66 automobile platform is the basis for the 2002 through present BMW 7-series. It replaced the BMW E38 in 2002. E65 is the designation of the short wheel base version of the automobile, and E66 is the designation of the long wheel base version.
The arrival of this model heralded a new styling era for BMW, the work of chief designer Chris Bangle, with bold visual cues that did not premier on the scene without noted controversy from E38 community. The E65/E66 seems to be gaining favor after its colorful arrival, and it appears to be the gatekeeper for styling cues of future BMW models yet to come. The "Bangle-butt" rear styling has been especially controversial, and was toned down in a 2005 restyling.
The most important innovation contained in the 7 is also the most controversial one: the iDrive system. While able to manage a lot of functions -- on-board telematics, including GPS navigation, Internet access and the new BMW Assist system (for emergencies), as well as climate and stereo functions -- iDrive has a steep learning curve. Basic adjustments can be made rather easily.