Now in the middle of its model life, the ever-controversial BMW 7 Series has received engine, suspension and specification updates, but more importantly, a fresh visage. Have the BMW flagship’s looks turned out better?
Now in the middle of its model life, the ever-controversial BMW 7-Series has received engine, suspension and specification updates, but more importantly, a fresh visage. Have the BMW flagship’s looks turned out better?
BMW Group design chief Chris Bangle faced waves of furious criticism when the current 7 Series was unveiled in 2001. After all, the Munich-based manufacturer’s grand saloons had always been on the understatedly sporty side of elegance – but the E65 was something out of this world, with its high, square bootline and Dame Edna-like front end.
However, it’s four years later and Bangle now heads up the entire BMW Group’s design division. His signature design has gone under the knife, and, following the trend set by the relatively-conservative new Three, the facelifted Seven is decidedly understated and simplifies the car’s design cues in many aspects. But does it seem a little underdone, compared with the current car’s looks and the major impact it made?
Apart from the muscular bulge in the new car’s bonnet, the Seven, due to arrive in South Africa later this year, has received revised headlights, front air dam and kidney grille. At the rear, body panels have “clearer contours” (BMW speak for less-severe flame surfacing and right-angled panels), a new chrome trim strip, modified rear lights, side-sills and rear airdam.
The interior of the car has received subtle updates and now offers a wider choice of materials and colours. The control elements take up the main lines of the instrument panel and the infamously-fiddly iDrive is said to have been refined (optimised menu guidance in the control display, upgraded presentation of menus, direct access to the various entertainment functions) to be more user-friendly.
In terms of specification, the xenon headlights, white direction indicators, a headlight cleaning system and BMW’s two-stage brake force display are standard. A DVB-T television set, which can receive digital and analog TV signals, is optional, but the BMW Assist telematics service and online internet portal come as standard on all models fitted with a car telephone and navigation system.
750i/Li. The 745i’s 4,4-litre V8 petrol engine with Valvetronic and double-VANOS has been stretched to a capacity of 4,8 litres. The new unit produces 270 kW at 6 300 r/min (10 per cent more than the 745i) and 490 N.m at 3 400 r/min (up nine per cent). The car is claimed to accelerate from zero to 100 km/h in 5,9 seconds compared with the 6,3 seconds of its predecessor. Top speed is 250 km/h.
740i/Li. The current 735i’s powerplant will be replaced by a four-litre V8 unit that reportedly produces 11 per cent more power (225 kW at 6 300 r/min), and 390 N.m at 3 500 r/min (eight per cent up on before). Zero to 100 km/h reportedly takes 6,8 seconds (compared to 7,5 sec previously). Top speed is 250 km/h.
The 730d is powered by a straight-six diesel engine with all-aluminium crankcase (weight down by 25 kg), piezo-injection technology and particle filter. The three-litre unit produces 10 kW and 20 N.m of torque more than before, resulting in slightly better acceleration and top speed. BMW claim the car will consume 8,2 litres per 100 km on the comibined EU cycle (about 3,5 per cent better).