The new BMW 7 Series has been officially launched in Malaysia. Munich’s limo and flagship saloon, now in its sixth generation (check out this nice through the generations video), will provide competition to the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Audi A8, Jaguar XJ and Lexus LS. The G11 (we only get the long-wheelbase variant, so it’s G12 technically) is available here in 730Li and 740Li forms.
The long-wheelbase 7 Series has a larger footrpint than before, at 5,238 mm long (+19 mm), 1,902 mm wide (unchanged) and 1,479 mm tall, with a 3,210 mm wheelbase (also unchanged). To compare, the LWB W222 S-Class is 5,246 mm long and 1,899 mm wide, with a 3,165 mm wheelbase. So, the BMW is 8 mm shorter overall, but has a 45 mm longer wheelbase than the Merc.
While it might not look worlds apart from its predecessor, the new 7 Series is all-new and high-tech underneath. BMW’s Carbon Core construction – with tech gleaned from BMW i car development – utilises a combination of carbon-fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP), magnesium, aluminium and steel, resulting in increased strength and rigidity of the passenger cell and weight savings of up to 130 kg compared to the F01.
Core aside, the use of aluminium for the doors and (for the first time) the bootlid also contributed to the weight loss. BMW says that unsprung mass has been cut by 15%, centre of gravity made lower and 50:50 weight distribution maintained.
The 740Li is powered by a 3.0 litre inline-six engine with 326 hp from 5,500 to 6,500 rpm; and 450 Nm of torque from 1,380 to 5,000 rpm. The B58 twin-scroll turbo unit is from a new engine family and its crankcase, cylinder head and oil sump are all made from aluminium. The turbo features an indirect system of charge air cooling that is incorporated into the intake manifold, and this water-to-air intercooler provides a shorter route for the air. BMW claims better efficiency and response than the old N55 motor, which has 320 hp/450 Nm.
Paired to a ZF eight-speed torque converter automatic transmission with Steptronic, the 740Li is capable of 0-100 km/h in a swift 5.6 seconds, on to a limited top speed of 250 km/h. Claimed combined fuel consumption is 6.6 litres per 100 km.
The 730Li is powered by a hero of a downsized motor, a 2.0 litre turbocharged four-cylinder tasked to haul a big limo. This entry-level petrol engine for the 7 Series puts out 258 hp from 5,000 to 6,500 rpm; and 400 Nm of torque from 1,550 to 4,400 rpm. The B48 is a relatively new engine and has been seen in the Mini Cooper S and JCW, BMW 2AT/2GT sisters and facelifted 3 Series, but we’re seeing the most powerful version of it in the G11.
Using an eight-speed auto, performance is far from shabby, with the benchmark 0-100 km/h sprint taking just 6.3 seconds. Top speed is at the regular 250 km/h mark, while fuel consumption is rated at 5.8 litres per 100 km, 0.8 l/100 km better than the 740Li. Not sold here, the 740e plug-in hybrid also uses this engine, but with an electric motor and lithium-ion battery in the mix.
Jaguar’s XJ also has a 2.0L turbo option, but the big cat’s 240 PS, 340 Nm and 7.5 seconds pale in comparison. Also weaker is the outgoing 730Li – powered by a NA 3.0 litre six-pot, it does 258 hp, 310 Nm and 7.5 seconds. No reason to fear downsizing, then.
Both variants ride on air suspension (both axles) and 19-inch alloys (different styles) with 245/45 front tyres and fatter 275/40 rear ones. There’s also Dynamic Damper Control, and the 740Li adds on a new Executive Drive Pro “active chassis” system with electromechanical active roll stabilisation.
The fancy BMW Display Key with LCD colour display and touch control panel (one can turn on the lights, open/close the windows, check fuel level and schedule the climate control, among other things, Remote Control Parking not available here) is standard across the board, as is the Design Pure Excellence package, which is basically an exterior chrome trim pack.
Also standard are a four-zone auto air con, head-up display, Surround View, Welcome Light Carpet, BMW ConnectedDrive services (Intelligent Emergency Call, Teleservices, Concierge Services and Remote Services), BMW Gesture Control for the infotainment system, Navigation System Professional with 10.25-inch touch display and HDD, plus a rear seat entertainment system with two 10-inch screens. The latter is controlled via the BMW Touch Command seven-inch tablet housed in the rear centre console. The removable tablet is made by Samsung.
Speaking of rear seats, the big shots at the back can enjoy eight massage programmes including the Vitality programme, which allows one to engage in active physical exercise for recuperation purposes. Comfort seats at the back for 730Li, front and back for 740Li. Note that right-hand drive cars do not get the Executive Lounge Seating option featured in our G11 vs W222 “Battle of the lounge seats” story until the second half of 2016.
Both variants get a panorama glass roof, but only 740Li occupants get to enjoy the “Sky Lounge”. When it gets dark, the light emitted from side-mounted LED modules is directed evenly onto the glass surface, where it hits an imprinted graphic for a starry sky effect.
Also exclusive to the 740Li is a 600w Harman Kardon sound system with nine channels with 16 speakers. The 730Li comes with a 205w “HiFi” system with 12 speakers. Not available here is the 7er range topping 1400w Bowers & Wilkins Diamond audio with 10-channel amp and 16 speakers.
The 740Li also gets BMW Laserlight headlamps, which can be identified by a central blue-tinted horizontal bar. These top shelf items have a range of 600 metres in high-beam mode – twice the range of the LED headlights of the 730Li.
The 730Li receives BMW Driving Assistant, a safety pack that includes Approach Control and Person Warning with light city braking, rear collision prevention, lane change and lane departure warning and rear cross traffic warning.
BMW Driving Assistant Plus on the 740Li adds on stereo cameras and a radar for steering and lane control assist, lane keeping assistant with active side collision protection, traffic jam assistant for semi-autonomous driving, front/rear rear cross traffic assist, and Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go. Eight airbags are standard.
Trim wise, the 740Li is lined with Nappa leather with diamond-pattern stitching and Poplar Grain Grey wood trim, with real leather dash top wrap, while the 730Li makes do with Dakota leather and Fineline wood. Both leather types can be had in Black, Canberra Beige or Cognac.
We finally come to the price, which starts from RM598,800 OTR without insurance for the 730Li and RM788,800 for the 740Li. Decent pricing by BMW Group Malaysia for CBU imports (the RM598,888 Mercedes-Benz S400h benefits from CKD hybrid tax exemptions), but the figures quoted are “exclusive prices” in conjunction with BMW’s 100-year anniversary, valid until further notice or while stocks last. Add RM100k to both numbers for the regular RRP (RM698,888 and RM888,800 respectively).
VIDEO: BMW 7 Series Malaysian walk-around tour
GALLERY: BMW 730Li
GALLERY: BMW 740Li