BMW’s 7 Series saloon has always been the direct competitor for the likes of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and Audi A8, but the Bavarian marque looks set to blow the competition away from the top end of the market, endowing the fifth-generation 7 Series with Design-wise, the 7 Series’ exterior sports larger kidney grilles reminiscent of the front-end treatment of Maserati’s GranTurismo and the BMW CS concept shown last year. A wider, more muscular stance and silhouette not very unlike the lines of Lexus’ flagship LS460 round off the car’s styling. Additional body variants in the guise of the 750Li and 740Li, with wheelbase extended by 140 mm focus on extra comfort at the rear. The BMW EfficientDynamics concept has been put to good use in the 7’s construction, evident by the weight saved because of the use of aluminium doors, front fenders, roof and bonnet – while multi-phase and hot rolled steels have been employed in the body/chassis’ load-bearing structures.
There will be engine options on offer: a 3,0-litre tutbodiesel, a 4,0-litre straight-six, and the range-topping 4,4-litre bi-turbo V8. The all-new twin-turbo 4,4-litre V8 powerplant in the 750i produces 300 kW at 6 400 r/min and 600 N.m of torque from as low as 1 750 r/min. This propels the flagship model from 0-100m km/h in 5,2 seconds, and on to an electronically-lmited 250 km/h top speed. The twin-turbo 4,0-litre straight-six produces 240 kW and 450 N.m, taking the car 740i from 0-100 km/h in 5,9 seconds on the way to a 250 km/h top whack. The 730d is powered by a 3,0-litre common-rail diesel engine with variable-geometry turbocharger. This unit develops 180 kW and 540 N.m of torque, taking the 730i from zero to 100 km/h in 7,2 seconds, and a top speed of 245 km/h. According to BMW, the 730i uses 7,2-litres of fuel per 100 km and emits 192 g / km of CO2 per kilometre.
All of the engines are mated with a six-speed automatic transmission with an electronic gear selector
The new 7 Series also benefits from an entirely new suspension system, designed to provide both a dynamic and comfortable drive (Dynamic Damper Control allows for the driver to opt between four shock absorber firmness settings), with a multi-link double wishbone front suspension and Integral V rear suspension. Self-leveling air suspension is standard on the long wheelbase 750Li. A hydraulic pump delivers assistance to the rack-and-pinion steering with variable ratio, while the innovative Integral Active Steering adds speed-sensitive rear wheel steering to the Sport package as well.
As has always been the case with BMW’s range-topper, the luxurious cabin is bristling with innovative features and luxurious appointments. The new generation of iDrive makes it into the 7 Series, featuring more intuitive operation, eight programmable memory keys, a new controller and a larger (266 mm) colour display. Other niceties include a multifunction steering wheel, head-up display, “Back-up” cameras assistance during parking manouevres, iPod/USB ports, hard disc music storage and 6-disc DVD changer. Optional extras are headed up with amenities such as four-zone climate control, Active Comfort Massaging seats and Active seat ventilation.
Driver aids include Active Cruise Control with stop-and-go capability, Lane Departure Warning, Active Blind Spot Detection, High Beam Assistant and BMW Night Vision with Pedestrian Detection.