BMW has taken the wraps off its facelifted 7 Series sedan, which gains a new – considerably larger – interpretation of the Munich-based firm’s signature kidney grille. Indeed, the firm says the surface area of the flagship saloon’s grille has grown by some 40 percent.
Interestingly, that front end rises 50 mm higher at its foremost point, while the bonnet boasts sharper lines and a larger BMW roundel. And on either side of the reworked grille you’ll find slimmer headlamps. The outer air intakes in the lower section of the front apron, meanwhile, are now overlaid with large air deflectors, which BMW says guide air "efficiently" to the brake ducts.
Round back, you’ll notice an updated rear apron with integrated tailpipes (now boasting broader chrome surrounds) and “three-dimensional” taillamps that are "around 35 mm" slimmer than before. Another new feature is the slim light strip positioned below the chrome bar, which extends across the width of the tailgate and connects the rear lights.
Globally (but not in South Africa; more on that below), the 7 Series will again be offered in two body variants, the longer of which gains an extra 140 mm between its axles. The standard 7 Series (5 120 mm) and its long-wheelbase sibling (5 260 mm) are both 22 mm longer than their respective predecessors, while the new model’s width at 1 902 mm and height (1 467 mm for the standard model and 1 479 mm for the longer version) remain unchanged.
However, BMW Group South Africa tells us it will from now on offer only the long-wheelbase derivatives (and thus no longer the standard-wheelbase models), mirroring the approach taken by Mercedes-Benz South Africa with its S-Class.
And the engine line-up? Well, that has also been updated and includes a new eight-cylinder engine, a six-cylinder inline unit and plug-in hybrid systems offering “extended electric range”.
Topping the range is the familiar 6,6-litre V12 engine that powers the M760Li xDrive, which produces 430 kW and now comes with a gasoline particulate filter to “minimise emissions”. The 750Li xDrive, meanwhile, features a newly developed 4,4-litre V8 engine boasting 390 kW.
The 745Le xDrive plug-in hybrid model now employs a specially adapted six-cylinder inline petrol engine and a “more advanced” high-voltage battery. As a result, the system can churn out 290 kW in its sportiest setting.
There are also three six-cylinder inline diesel engines in the global line-up, each with 3,0-litre displacement (and up to four turbochargers). First is the 294 kW 750d xDrive and 750Ld xDrive, while the 740d xDrive and 740Ld xDrive develop 235 kW. The 730d, 730Ld, 730d xDrive and 730Ld xDrive, meanwhile, each make 195 kW.
In the second quarter of 2019, the following derivatives (again, all long-wheelbase) will be launched in South Africa: 745Le xDrive, 750Li xDrive, M760Li xDrive and 730Ld.
BMW claims to have made “carefully executed refinements” around the rear wheel arches, B-pillars and seatbelt outlet covers in the rear to “enhance on-board comfort over long distances”. In addition, the side windows and rear window boast thicker glass than before.
You’ll also notice the newly designed leather steering wheel with its modified arrangement of multifunction buttons, while the standard wireless charging tray is now located just ahead of the cupholders.
The facelifted 7 Series ships standard with the BMW Live Cockpit Professional system, comprising a navigation and multimedia system, together with a fully digital, high-resolution instrument cluster with a screen diagonal of 12,3 inches, plus a control display measuring 10,25 inches across.
The brand’s so-called “Intelligent Personal Assistant” is another element of the newly included BMW Operating System 7.0 system.