The battle in the luxury car segment kicks into high gear with the unveiling of the new G70 BMW 7 Series, which aims to take the fight to the latest W223 Mercedes-Benz S-Class. There’s that polarising new face that everyone’s talking about, but the car also gets several innovations that mark a significant generational leap for the nameplate, so let’s dive deep into them.

Long wheelbase only with controversial styling

First things first – the new 7 Series is only available in long-wheelbase form, as has almost always been the case in Malaysia. At 5,391 mm long, 1,950 mm wide and 1,544 mm tall, it’s 130 mm longer, 48 mm wider and 51 mm taller than the outgoing G12, although its 3,215 mm wheelbase is a scant five millimetres longer.

The new front fascia is the bit that everyone will be gravitating towards, simply because it’s so different from past models. The enormous double kidney grille is actually the less divisive part, as it was introduced halfway during its predecessor’s lifecycle. The split headlights, however, are very different, although they were introduced on the facelifted X7 that was revealed last week.

The slim upper units house the daytime running lights and indicators and form four inverted Ls, with Swarovski crystal versions available as an option. With the latter comes a unique approach and departure lighting sequence that illuminates the contours of the grille first, followed by the aforementioned DRLs and the standard-fit welcome light carpet. The light show continues on the inside as well.

The blacked-out lower lamps are set deep in the front apron and hide the low- and high-beam projectors until they are lit. Adaptive LED headlights with cornering lights and matrix high beam come as standard; there’s no Laserlight option this time around.

Along the side, the 7er‘s boxier silhouette is very apparent, with a flatter roofline and a more upright C-pillar helping to free up a “noticeable” amount of headroom in concert with the increased height. Like the G20 3 Series, the rear section of the G70’s chrome window strip is fixed to the C-pillars, highlighting the Hofmeister kink; the rear quarter light windows have also been generously blacked out to increase privacy.

The surfacing on the flanks has been simplified, with a single shoulder line stretching from the upper headlights to the taillights. There are also no more Air Breather vents aft of the front wheels and the associated hockey stick chrome graphic, just an upswept crease and a chrome strip on the side skirts. Flush door handles (taken from the electric iX SUV) further reduce visual clutter.

Moving to the rear, the G70 gets slim LED taillights with an integrated chrome strip, the latter forming the familiar L shape. The number plate has been moved from the boot lid to the bumper to create more interesting surfacing, BMW says. For the first time, the exhausts are hidden on most models, with only the 760i and M760e coming with integrated quad trapezoidal tailpipes.

As usual, there’s an M Sport package that adds a striking front bumper with a blacked-out V-shaped section, unique side skirts and rear bumper, black exterior highlights and 20-inch alloy wheels as standard. The M Sport Pro throws on 21-inch aerodynamic wheels, extended gloss black highlights (including the grille), a black rear spoiler, M Sport brakes with black callipers and M tricolour seat belts.

The colour palette includes ten standard paint options (nine of which are metallic) and four BMW Individual hues, along with five new two-tone finishes that split the colour way along the shoulder line – there are two colour options for the upper section and a separate coach line. While the wheel lineup ranges from 19 to 21 inches in diameter, buyers can specify massive 22-inch rollers from the M Performance catalogue.

Tech-laden interior with new BMW Operating System 8

The new 7 Series is as much of a departure on the inside as it is on the outside. Front and centre is the curved widescreen display panel with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 14.9-inch centre infotainment touchscreen, both taken from the iX. As with that car, the G70 runs on the new BMW Operating System 8 with large tiles, a customisable instrument layout and a new My Modes feature that controls not only the powertrain and chassis but also the display themes and several interior functions.

Among these is a Relax Mode that focuses on the wellbeing of the occupants and activates the seat massage function if fitted. The new Digital Art Mode, on the other hand, features art from Chinese artist Cao Fei; it will be offered starting from the spring of 2023.

The Intelligent Personal Assistant voice control now responds faster and can manipulate additional features, such as the driver assistance systems, the transparency of the optional Sky Lounge panoramic sunroof and the also-optional automatic powered doors. Rear occupants can also operate the system for the first time.

The operating system has several other new features, including faster and more accurate cloud-based BMW Maps navigation with augmented-reality directions, built-in YouTube functionality (for when the car is not being driven, of course), separate hands-free rear-seat telephony and 5G connectivity with a personal eSIM and dual-SIM functionality. The centre screen also integrates the functions for the standard four-zone automatic climate control, as is (unfortunately) the norm in more and more German cars.

Speaking of which, the air vents are now hidden, their usual space on the dashboard being taken up by a new Interaction Bar that spans around the entire front cabin. This multifaceted panel integrates the ambient lighting and touch controls for airflow, lights, powered doors and even the glovebox opening.

The redesigned flat-bottomed steering wheel (two-spoke for regular models, three-spoke with a hollowed-out third spoke for the M Sport models) was first seen in the new 2 Series Active Tourer, while the centre console with the transparent iDrive rotary controller (crystal version optional) and minimal gear selector toggle has been lifted from the iX. The central tunnel also houses twin cupholders, each with its own damped lid.

More luxurious rear seating, giant widescreen display

But the real magic happens at the back. The standard power-adjustable seats are wider than before and come with headrest speakers as standard, with the optional “multifunction” seats getting increased adjustment and ventilation and massage functions.

An Executive Lounge option adds up to 42.5 degrees of seat recline, a new gapless ottoman design, separate power adjustment for the neck cushions and a tilt-forward function for the front passenger seat. Also thrown in with the package is a large armrest with glass inserts and an integrated Qi wireless smartphone charger with cooling.

Screens galore in the back of the cabin, starting with a 5.5-inch control touchscreen housed in each door. But it’s the overhead display that grabs the headlines – a giant 31.3-inch 8K BMW Theatre Screen with integrated Amazon Fire TV, allowing a wide variety of streaming services to be accessed.

The deployment of the screen is accompanied by a startup sound created by renown Hollywood composer Hans Zimmer, who also designed the IconicSounds Electric for BMW’s zero-emission models. The blinds for the sunroof, side windows and rear windscreen are also deployed for the best viewing experience. A panoramic sunroof and an 18-speaker, 655-watt Bowers & Wilkins sound system come as standard.

Options include an even more advanced 36-speaker B&W Diamond Surround Sound system with a 1,965-watt output and exciters built into the front and rear seat backrests, plus heated armrest surfaces. The Sky Lounge panoramic sunroof mentioned earlier also gets new LED light strips imprinted in the glass.

As you’d expect from a range-topping premium product, the new 7 Series comes with a wide range of upscale appointments, including standard (and terribly named) Veganza upholstery, a form of high-end faux leather. You can, of course, still get the car with real extended Merino leather trim, including two-tone versions for the first time; there’s even a cashmere wool option, paired with part-leather surfaces. Open-pore wood trim options and standard stainless steel speaker covers are also offered.

As with other new BMW models, the 7 Series is available with the BMW Digital Key that enables Apple CarKey using ultra-wide-band (UWB) radio connectivity, allowing users to unlock and start the car with an iPhone in their pocket. The upgraded Plus version in the G70 provides additional functions, such as opening and closing the auto doors and partially activating the alarm system, via the MyBMW smartphone app.

Widespread electrification with mild and plug-in hybrids, plus full electric models

Munich is making a definitive statement in electrification by offering the all-electric i7 (which we’ve detailed in a separate article) at launch – the only variant available globally for now. In the US and China, the car will also come as a 740i with a 380 PS/520 Nm B58 3.0 litre turbocharged straight-six, although the Middle Kingdom and certain other markets also get a 286 PS/435 Nm version called the 735i.

There will also be a 760i xDrive with the M division’s new S68 4.4 litre twin-turbo V8, which made its debut in the facelifted X7 M60i; it pushes out 544 PS and 750 Nm of torque. All engines are mated to a new eight-speed automatic gearbox with an integrated electric motor, turning them into mild hybrids. It delivers 10 kW (14 PS) and 200 Nm of additional power, boosting overall torque figures by up to 20 Nm under hard acceleration and even driving the car briefly on its own at low speeds.

Initially getting only the i7, European markets will later receive the 740d xDrive with a 300 PS/650 Nm B57 3.0 litre turbo six-pot. Two plug-in hybrid models will also be offered worldwide next year – the 750e xDrive and M760e xDrive, the latter billed as the first M car based on the 7 Series. They use the 740i’s engine (downgraded to 310 PS on the 750e), pairing it with a 145 kW (200 PS) electric motor to deliver outputs of 490 PS/700 Nm and 571 PS/800 Nm respectively.

Meanwhile, the lithium-ion battery capacity has been increased by more than 50% to 18.7 kWh, allowing an all-electric range of 80 km. It now also supports up to 7.4 kW of AC charging, enabling charge times of less than three hours (nine hours using a domestic socket).

The battery is now located under the floor of the car, minimising luggage space intrusion; the boot of the plug-in hybrids is now 105 litres larger than that of the outgoing 740e/745e at 525 litres. As for the standard 7 Series, cargo space has increased by 25 litres to 540 litres, despite the 48-volt lithium-ion battery for the mild hybrid system now located under the boot floor.

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Greater rigidity, up-to-date suspension and chassis tech

The 7 Series continues to ride on the Cluster Architecture (CLAR) platform from the previous generation, with suspension consisting of redesigned double wishbones at the front and multilinks at the rear. Air springs, adaptive dampers come as standard, as are new rear hydro mounts for improved comfort; in particular, the new rod eye for the rear dampers help absorb small bumps and ridges. The Executive Drive Pro option adds active roll stabilisation, now a 48-volt system, with the M models getting specific tuning.

Increased track widths – up 47 mm at the front and four millimetres at the back – work with the more rigid structure (aided by the front aluminium shear panel on xDrive all-wheel-drive models) for improved agility. Variable-ratio steering now comes as standard (with a new elastic steering gear mount for less noise), with rear-wheel steering available as an option with up to 3.5 degrees of steering angle. Brake-by-wire and an integrated traction control system have also been added.

Full range of driver assists at launch, Level 3 autonomy later on

Safety-wise, the new 7 Series comes as standard with autonomous emergency braking, now with oncoming traffic, pedestrian and cyclist detection. Stepping up to the Driving Assistant package adds blind spot monitoring and collision prevention, reverse AEB and rear cross traffic alert with auto brake, plus a door opening warning that lights up the Interaction Bar and prevents the doors from opening.

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Driving Assistant Plus throws in adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go and lane centring assist, functioning at speeds of up to 180 km/h. The Professional variant bumps this up to 250 km/h and enables traffic light detection (in Germany), emergency lane assistant and lane change assist.

In North America, the Driving Assistant Professional package also allows for hands-free driving on highways up to 130 km/h, with automatic lane changes up to the highway exit when navigation is active, just like Tesla’s Navigate on Autopilot. It’s not a Level 3 semi-autonomous driving system, however, as the driver still needs to keep their eyes on the road and be ready to take over at any time, although Level 3 functionality is built into the car’s architecture and will arrive later on.

Elsewhere, the Parking Assistant Professional option can now use road lines and kerbs to designate a parking space and allow users to store up to ten unique parking locations and manoeuvres. Remote parking functionality via the MyBMW app will be added in the spring of 2023.




GALLERY: G70 BMW 760i xDrive
GALLERY: G70 BMW M760e xDrive
GALLERY: G70 BMW 7 Series sketches