The new BMW 7 Series reinforces BMW’s commitment to building the finest flagship model possible with a focus on sporting elegance, superb refinement and luxurious comfort combined with efficient yet high performance powertrains.
Small design enhancements, including new optional Adaptive LED headlights, accentuate the strong, powerful lines and balanced proportions inherent to the 7 Series. Inside and the pursuit of innovation is apparent with an enhanced control display and a new optional multi-function Instrument panel providing access to the latest in BMW’s ConnectedDrive technology. Additional in-car refinement measures and further optimisation of the 7 Series’ chassis have led to an even higher level of driving comfort for the occupants.
With a revised range of highly efficient engines, a standard eight-speed automatic gearbox and the full array of EfficientDynamics technologies, the new BMW 7 Series combines enhanced performance with significantly reduced emissions and fuel consumption. The latest BMW 7 Series is also the first to be offered in the UK as an ActiveHybrid in both standard and long-wheelbase guises courtesy of a 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine mated to a synchronous electric motor and lithium-ion high performance battery which will allow for solus electrically-powered driving at given times.
The new BMW 7 Series Exterior Design: a stylish presence from every angle
The new BMW 7 Series is the epitome of BMW’s approach to making advanced, elegant and luxurious vehicles; the brand flagship and hence, a car with genuine presence as well as an air of sporting luxury. The main exterior changes are to the front and rear of the car, but in addition, the 8mm drop in the overall height of the vehicle has further accentuated the sleek profile of this machine. From the front, the new 7 Series now presents the latest version of the famous BMW kidney grille which features a larger aperture but with nine instead of 13 slats for greater visual impact. In the lower section a full-width air intake is now split into three sections, defined by a pair of chrome bars on the outer edges and flanked by vertical air intakes that form part of the advanced aerodynamic package.
As an option, customers can now specify full Adaptive LED headlights, which with their crisp accent strip and familiar BMW corona rings not only supply excellent visibility at night, but further sharpen the frontal design of the new 7 Series. In profile, the sleek, hallmark BMW proportions give the new 7 Series the unmistakeable air of BMW’s ultimate saloon, and are further boosted by the integration of the turn indicator into the lower part of the wing mirrors. At the rear, the powerful, planted sense of the body design has been embellished by a deeper shade of red for the rear light units and the addition of chrome strips: one to link the light units, and another to link the rear reflectors (and a slim chrome bar between the four chromed tailpipes on the 760Li).
The new BMW 7 Series Interior: supreme luxury meets high technology
As befits a vehicle with the prestige of the new BMW 7 Series, the stylish cabin is a delightful place to spend time in, with its flowing forms and exquisite materials. With an interior trimmed in either Dakota or Exclusive Nappa leather, it is apparent that real craftsmanship has been employed in its creation and construction, executed with precise attention to detail. Additional soundproofing material has been incorporated in the B and C pillars, the sills and boot area, with careful sealing around the window frames and mirrors. New, variable-colour ambient lighting adds to the feeling of luxury. Despite the luxurious surroundings, BMW’s traditional ergonomic focus on the driver is apparent, with newly designed seats increasing the comfort and support for their occupants. Comfort seats are optionally available and can be ordered in combination with either folding tables or a new rear seat entertainment system that features 9.2-inch colour screens. These appear to be ‘floating’ thanks to their new slim design.
A further option is the individual rear Comfort seats, which features electrical adjustment for the seat back angle, seat position and head restraint. And for the ultimate in rear-seat comfort, BMW offers the long wheelbase version of the new 7 Series, with an extra 140mm in the wheelbase devoted to rear seat legroom and an extra 10mm of rear seat headroom as well. The quiet, peaceful surroundings of the new 7 Series interior are an ideal place in which to enjoy the output of the new optional Bang & Olufsen Advanced audio system. With 1,200w of power and 16 speakers – including an illuminated centre speaker that extends out of the instrument panel using Acoustic Lens Technology – the finest sonic experience is assured.
The interaction between car and driver can be enhanced with the optional new multi-functional instrument panel, a beautifully integrated, 10.25-inch screen featuring black panel technology taking the place of the standard four dials. The colour and information of this display varies on whether the driver has selected Comfort, Sport or ECO PRO mode with the Drive Performance Control button. In Comfort mode, the classic four dials layout is retained but in digital form, while in Sport or ECO PRO mode the dials open up to allow for additional information. In Sport, the graphics turn an orange hue and the speedometer is replaced by a digital speed readout, with the gear currently selected displayed inside the rev counter if the steering wheel paddles are used to change gear manually.
In ECO PRO mode, the instrumentation turns blue and the rev counter is replaced by an EfficientDynamics display that turns grey if the car is being driven in an inefficient manner. Additional features of this system include a speedometer zoom function that enlarges the part of the dial showing the current speed, and the ability to show useful further information depending on the current situation – such as navigational data. To complement the above, BMW has updated both the technical content and dashboard integration of the central control display. With improved graphics and contrast, deeper colours the control display also benefits from faster input reaction times and enhancements to the BMW Professional Navigation system.
Engines: fine tuned for perfection
The new BMW 7 Series is propelled by a range of petrol and diesel powerplants that utilise cutting-edge engine technology for a sensational mix of performance and economy. The true flagship of the range is the BMW 760Li, powered by a 12-cylinder engine with twin turbochargers. This all-aluminium, 5,972cc V12 features TwinPower turbo technology, direct fuel injection and Double-VANOS variable camshaft control to produce 544hp and 750Nm of torque from as low as 1,500rpm. Predictably, this gives the 760Li superb acceleration and speed (0-62mph takes just 4.6 seconds and the top speed is limited electronically to 155mph), all delivered with the silky refinement you would expect. However, more of surprise given the power and performance of the 760Li is the fuel consumption of 21.1mpg combined with C02 emissions of 314g/km.
The alternative flagship for the range given BMW’s long standing commitment to a sustainable future is the BMW ActiveHybrid7. The 320hp 2,979cc engine with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology is taken from the ‘standard’ 740i and then adapted with a 55hp synchronous motor, a hybrid specification eight-speed automatic transmission, a lithium-ion high performance battery all wrapped into an intelligent energy management package to provide the first 7 Series hybrid to be offered in the UK. Performance is brisk yet economical and with low CO2 emissions. With a max output of 354hp and 500 Nm of torque the ActiveHybrid7 can accelerate from zero to 62mph in 5.7 seconds and on to a top speed of 155mph. However, it is capable of this at the same time as achieving 41.5mpg and emissions of 158g/km.
The new BMW 750i features a revised version of the TwinPower turbo 4.4-litre V8, with optimised high pressure direct fuel injection and reduced charge cycle losses thanks to the clever integration of Valvetronic variable control of intake valve lift. The engine now delivers 10per cent more power at 449hp, and 8.5per cent more torque at a mighty 650Nm, developed over a broad rev band – enough for a 0-62mph sprint of 4.8 seconds and a top speed electronically limited to 155mph. Even more impressive is the 25 per cent improvement in efficiency: fuel consumption is now 32.8mpg and CO2 emissions are just 199g/km. The new BMW 740i is powered by the superb TwinPower turbo 3.0-litre straight-six, a pioneer of BMW’s integration of twin-scroll turbo technology with direct fuel injection, Double-VANOS and Valvetronic for maximum throttle response and power with highly efficient consumption. The engine has a peak power output of 320hp and a maximum torque of 450Nm, the latter developed from just 1,300rpm, giving this 7 Series the same performance as the outgoing 740i, but with fuel economy stands at 35.8mpg with CO2 emissions of 184g/km.
The choice of diesel powerplants in the new BMW 7 Series is headed by the powerful BMW 740d, a formidable exponent of BMW’s TwinPower turbo technology featuring two turbochargers for the familiar 3.0-litre straight-six. Thanks to minor detail improvements, this engine now produces slightly more power at 313hp and an extra 30Nm of torque to make a peak of 630Nm at just 1,500rpm. Performance, with the benefit of the standard new eight-speed automatic transmission, is dramatic, with 0-62mph achieved in only 5.5 seconds and a top speed electronically limited to 155mph. As ever, this performance is not at the expense of efficiency, with a frugal 49.6mpg recorded on the test cycle and CO2 emissions of just 149g/km. The new BMW 730d retains its enviable position as the world’s most efficient luxury limousine. The 3.0-litre TwinPower turbo straight-six now produces 258hp and 560Nm of torque – both increases on previous outputs – but couples those figures with a combined fuel consumption of 50.4mpg and outstandingly low CO2 emissions of just 148g/km, a reduction of 30g/km versus its predecessor. EU6 compliance is also available as an option with no impact to emissions or fuel economy. Maximising the efficiency of these engines is the new Eight-speed automatic gearbox, fitted as standard across the range, which helps the engine to work in its optimum rev band to the benefit of both performance and economy.
EfficientDynamics: a full suite of measures for the flagship
The BMW EfficientDynamics initiative encompasses every aspect of the vehicle, from the use of advanced and efficient engines, to lightweight body construction and innovative drivetrain electronics. In a first for the 7 Series it is now offered with BMW BluePerformance giving a car so equipped the ability to already surpass the forthcoming 2014 EU6 emissions criteria. Thanks to the use of an oxidising converter, a diesel particulate filter and a catalytic converter to all reduce the harmful emissions, including nitrogen oxide, that exit the exhaust. All new BMW 7 Series models (except 760Li) are equipped with an Auto Start-Stop function and Brake Energy Regeneration. Intelligent energy management is further enhanced by the ancillary units, which consume significantly less energy compared with conventional systems. Examples include the on-demand coolant pump, the electronically controlled oil pump and the new Electric Power Steering system, which offers potential savings of up to three per cent. The ECO PRO mode modifies the powertrain management and programming of the heating and air conditioning, heated seats and exterior mirror heating to operate at optimum efficiency. It also encourages an economical driving style. With the exception of the BMW 760Li, all engine variants feature a proactive driving assistant that can be switched on via the ECO PRO mode. Drawing on the latest navigation data, it recommends advance adjustment of the car’s speed with the aim of saving fuel.
A revised chassis for enhanced comfort BMW’s engineers have fine-tuned the chassis of the new 7 Series for even greater levels of driving comfort and agility. The aluminium front double wishbone and integral-V rear axle have been carefully developed, with modified rubber bearings, ball joints, stiffer dampers and retuned kinematics the result. The self-levelling air suspension on the rear axle, now standard across the range, provides a smooth ride with excellent insulation from the road surface. The BMW 7 Series features an electronically controlled damping system where each wheel can be adjusted individually according to the road surface and driving style, with compression and rebound settings varied independently of each other. The result is a superbly comfortable ride, with no loss in driver appeal when the car is driven in a sporting manner.
In addition all models, except 760Li, now feature electric power assistance for the steering, giving excellent steering precision with a reduction in fuel consumption thanks to the system only being operational on demand. Integral Active Steering is available as an option (standard on 760Li), which combines the Active Steering system with a rear axle that also plays its part: the steering angle and power assistance at the front and the rear is controlled with electric motors. The large but lightweight braking system provides superb braking capability, and is backed up by a number of advanced electronic safety systems that are integrated into the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) package. Using Drive Performance Control, the driver is able to alter the accelerator response characteristics, engine response, power steering characteristics and the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) thresholds. In addition, the Servotronic function, Integral Active Steering, the automatic transmission and Variable Damper Control are also integrated into this system. Drivers can choose between ECO PRO, Comfort, Sport and Sport+ modes. Each of these predefined set-ups activates different settings for the relevant powertrain and chassis components, with a greater variance amongst the settings for the new car.
Another button allows the driver to change the DSC settings. Selecting Traction mode, for example, makes it much easier to pull away on loose surfaces or in deep snow. In this mode, as well as in Sport+, the Dynamic Stability Control thresholds are raised and Dynamic Traction Control (DTC) is activated. The new ECO PRO mode, meanwhile, helps the BMW 7 Series driver to make progress in an efficient, and therefore economical, manner. It does this by changing the accelerator mapping so that the same pedal travel delivers less power than in the standard mode; the transmission control strategy for the automatic gearbox is modified to bring forward upshifts and delay downshifts, while intelligent energy and climate management reduces mechanical power consumption and also the energy consumption of electrical systems – such as heated mirrors and seats.