Here it is, ladies and gentlemen: the new G11/G12 BMW 7 Series. Munich’s luxury limousine is back with less weight, an avalanche of new tech and a new 740e plug-in hybrid variant to renew the fight against the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Audi A8 and Jaguar XJ.
It may not look worlds apart from its predecessor, but the more-evolutionary-than-revolutionary styling belies the substance beneath. For instance, a ‘Carbon Core’ structure sees major use of carbon-fibre reinforced plastic, magnesium, aluminium and steel to yield weight savings of up to 130 kg.
As before, standard- (G11) and long-wheelbase (G12) versions are available. The stretched one is 5,238 mm long (+140 mm), 1,902 mm wide (unchanged) and 1,479 mm tall, with a 3,210 mm wheelbase (unchanged), while the standard version is 140 mm shorter, 12 mm lower and sits on a 3,070 mm wheelbase. Boot capacity is 515 litres (420 litres on 740e), and of course, foot-activated boot operation and auto soft-close boot are available as options.
Regarding lighting, LED head and fog lamps are standard; Laserlight with Selective Beam optional (range doubled to 600 metres). You’ll also find L-shaped LED tail lamps and wheels ranging from 17- to 21-inches. There are Air Curtains and Air Breathers, and the Active Kidney Grille actually features additional retractable slats to complement the lower intake flaps.
A two-axle self-levelling air suspension with Dynamic Damper Control is standard; options include Integral Active Steering (four-wheel steering, for xDrive only) and Executive Drive Pro (reduces body roll through electromechanical anti-roll bars, while adjusting dampers for road irregularities). The Driving Experience Control packs a new Adaptive mode – this adapts the car according to the driving style and the road.
Step inside to a familiar, but different office, featuring wood, leather and quite a lot of metallic surfaces. You name it, it’s got it – a new touch-screen iDrive 5.0 with gesture control, Bowers & Wilkins Diamond surround sound, a Sky Lounge panoramic roof (for LWB only, with six light colours), Welcome Light Carpet (projects a light ‘carpet’ under the open doors) and ambient air (eight fragrances).
Despite the new car not being much bigger than its predecessor, BMW claims class-leading rear legroom at over 1,120 mm. The front passenger seat can be slid and folded forwards, and specify the Executive Lounge package (for LWB only) for real back-seat luxury – you get a pop-up footrest and optional 42.5-degree recline, auto quad-zone climate control and ventilated massage seats.
The package also gives you a rear console with a retractable table and a removable seven-inch Touch Command tablet. Other enhancements/additions include a head-up display that projects a 75% bigger image, wireless phone charging and a new Surround View with parallel Top View, 3D View and Panorama Side View (monitor the car’s front and rear sides).
There’s a really cool optional key fob with a digital display called Display Key, through which Remote Control Parking can be activated. That’s right, you can get out of the car and manoeuvre it into a tight spot.
Now for the nitty-gritty. 730d, 740i, 750i and 740e variants are available at launch – all can be had in L long-wheelbase format, with xDrive available on all but the 740i. M Sport, Design Pure Excellence and bespoke Individual Design Composition trims are offered at launch. M Sport gives you a big-intaked bodykit, accents, callipers and wood trim in black, 19-inch alloys and anthracite headlining.
The 730d gets a 3.0 litre turbo straight-six diesel with 265 PS and 620 Nm of torque; the 740i a 3.0 litre turbo straight-six petrol with 326 PS and 450 Nm of torque. The 750i is powered by a 4.4 litre turbo V8 that develops 450 PS and 650 Nm of torque, pushing it to 100 km/h in 4.4 seconds and onwards to a limited 250 km/h top speed. All engines are mated to an eight-speed auto.
Finally, the new 740e plug-in hybrid. This brings together a 2.0 litre turbo four-cylinder petrol, a 95 PS electric motor and a lithium-ion battery for a 326 PS total, a 5.5 second century sprint time and a top speed in excess of 240 km/h. The 740e claims to be capable of 2.1 litres per 100 km and a 40 km electric-only range. Electric-only driving is possible up to 120 km/h.
BMW 7 Series
BMW 7 Series M Sport
BMW 740e plug-in hybrid