BMW's updated flagship, the 7 Series, has been launched in South Africa. Although it already has a seemingly-endless list of luxury items, the Munich-built behemoth will soon feature additional new safety technologies.

BMW's updated flagship, the 7 Series, has been launched in South Africa. Although it already has a seemingly-endless list of luxury items, the Munich-built behemoth will soon feature additional new safety technologies.

Chris Bangle's controversial flagship, which set the automotive world abuzz in 2001, has seen its once-alarming styling significantly toned down, though the list of standard and optional equipment on the luxury range has been expanded.

The range has also been earmarked for a range of new technologies, including "night vision" and "high-beam assist", which will both be available towards the end of the year.

Following the lead of the more conservative 3 Series launched earlier this year, the facelifted 7 Series has been extensively reworked for 2005. The kidney grille, headlights, and front airdam have been brushed up while, along the side, the vehicle now features softer curves and lines. The most striking change has been at the rear, where there are redesigned tail-lights, a new chrome strip and a fresh new airdam.

The plush interior has benefited from a wider range of finishes and colours. Entertainment and comfort requirements have been simplified with the refinement of BMW's often-troublesome iDrive system with a clearer guidance via the control display, an upgraded presentation of the menus and direct access to the entertainment functions.

A two-stage brake light system, white indicator signals, an MP3 compatible CD changer and xenon headlights are standard specification on all models. A DVD-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.

Other than the exterior changes, the most significant adjustments to the 7 Series range have been conducted beneath the engine cover.

To read more about the new BMW 7 Series and view the gallery click here.