Knowing they had to up their game to compete with the Mercedes S-Class, Audi A8 and the recently revealed Cadillac CT6, BMW took the camouflage off its redesigned flagship full-size sedan yesterday in Munich and shared all the details about its design, construction and power with the world.
Here are a few highlights:
At the heart of the new 7 Series is its Carbon Core. Using technology developed for the i8, BMW combines Carbon Reinforced Plastic with aluminum and steel to increase structural rigidity while reducing weight by nearly 300 pounds. While not as exciting as some of the innovative luxury features you’ll find on the car, this new lighter package is what makes it all happen.
The body is classic BMW with its long, low shape, flowing lines and signature kidney grill. Headlamps are full LED, and in Europe BMW’s innovative selective beam Laserlight system is also available. We’re hoping the US approves this technology soon as it greatly enhances nighttime visibility.
Underneath the hood you have a choice of four powerplants, the aforementioned hybrid, which combines a 3.0L six cylinder engine with electric motors to create a powerful and efficient package. It makes a total of 326 horsepower while significantly improving fuel economy. There’s also a 3.0L diesel engine, and two gas options: a brand new 3.0L twinpower turbo straight six that delivers 326HP and at the top of the range a redesigned 4.4L 450HP turbocharged V8. All variations use the steptronic 8-speed automatic transmission to drive either the rear wheels or all four if you opt for xDrive.
Inside the 7-series is more luxurious than ever even in base trim. For the first time BMW is offering what they’re calling an Executive Lounge option that includes a whole slew of upgrades for the rear seat passengers: 4-zone climate control, electrically adjustable seats with massage function, active seat ventilation, rear console with a full entertainment suite including a detachable tablet. The seats recline into a near vertical position and a foot rest extends to allow for even greater relaxation.
In its long wheelbase configuration, the BMW 7 Series offers an optional Sky Lounge Panorama glass roof. At night, side mounted LED lights focused on the glass hit imprinted graphics, creating a starry night effect on the ceiling.
Two of the features that seem to have people most excited are hand gesture control for the infotainment system and remote control parking. Both are industry first and should attract a lot of attention to the car. Gesture control allows you to control audio volume, accept or reject incoming calls, navigation commands, display view and many other functions without touching the screen or any other controls.
Offering technology that seems to come right out of Q’s workshop in a James Bond movie, you can move the 7 Series in and out of a garage or front-in parking spaces without having to get inside the vehicle. The new display key makes it possible to move the car up to 1.5 times its length just by touching the key and can be stopped at any time if necessary.
For those who like their luxury sedans to perform at even higher levels, BMW offers an M Sport version of the 7 Series. The aerodynamic package includes front and rear aprons and side skirts. It also has exclusive 19-inch light-alloy wheels with a sporty twin spoke design. Inside, the M Sport package offers Dakota leather seats special piping, a dead pedal for the driver’s left foot and black wood interior trim.
While it looks great in pictures and on paper, BMW will not make the 7 Series available for drives until late August. We’ll wait to pass final judgement on this flagship sedan after we’ve spent some time behind the wheel and in the back seat Executive Lounge. Stay tuned for a first-hand review around the first of September.