It's been thirty years since BMW introduced the first incarnation of its flagship luxury sedan. The original 7-Series (codenamed E23) made its market debut in 1977 to replace the four-door version of the smaller 6-Series and to compete with offerings from competitors, chief among them Mercedes-Benz.

Since then, the 7-Series has become a staple of the high-end luxury car market, doing battle with such models as the Mercedes S-Class, Audi A8 and Lexus LS. It is now in its fourth incarnation (not counting facelifts and cosmetic tweaks along the way), and has come a long way in the past 30 years. With the "controversial" styling, insanely complex iDrive system and worldwide portfolio of a dozen different variants, it's doubtful a buyer of the original 7 would even recognize its successor today.

From all of us at Autoblog, we wish the ultimate Ultimate Driving Machine a happy birthday. We look forward to a return to the simpler luxury sports sedan that we'd come to know.

[Source: Motor Authority]