Revealed: new BMW 7-Series debuts with big tech, bigger nostrils
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The new benchmark in BMW's luxury line-up has been unveiled overnight in conjunction with the North American International Auto Show. Yep, it's the new 7-Series.
The new luxo-unit is longer than its predecessor, in both its standard format and in its long-wheelbase format. Each is 22mm longer than before, while width and height remain static. The German marque have tweaked the interior too in the pursuit of commuting that's somehow more comfortable than the current model — namely through improved sound deadening, the addition of their latest operating system (complete with their 'Hey BMW' Intelligent Personal Assistant), and the requisite suite of quilted Nappa leathers, metals, woods, and more.
In regards to that sound deadening refinement, BMW claim that most of this work has been done around the rear wheel-arches, seat-belt outlets, and B-pillars. The glass is also now thicker than before.
By now BMW have the 7-Series down to a fine science, where incremental improvements with the above and with safety tech are really all that's required to keep things compelling for those sniffing around the segment. However, arguably the biggest changes to the 7-Series don't really concern any of these things. Rather, they concern looks and engine packages.
Appearance has been the 7-Series' major talking point, following numerous photo leaks in the build up to last night's grand reveal.
The rear has been heavily revised over the current car, with a greater level of intent conveyed by the larger exhaust pipe housings, the sleeker taillights, and the full-width chrome detailings.
Side-profile appears more balanced than the last car, possibly thanks to that added increase in length mentioned previously and taller proportions at the head of the silhouette.
But, it's the front that has raised a bit of controversy. The nose is headed by the biggest twin-kidney grill in BMW history. They say it's 40 per cent larger than the previous model, and its size is put into perspective by slim-line headlights that have shrunken between generations.
The supporting BMW badge has also grown in size, while the secondary grills and air-curtains at the base of the front bar ironically look more subtle than before.
Having a large front grill obviously has its practical benefits, like allowing more cold air to feed into the engine-bay. But, there are subtle clues to BMW's other big motive for a big grill sprinkled through their press release, like the way the added size of the grill is cited in a percentage format.
Along with the potentially polarizing looks, the other significant change is engine range. The 7-Series gains the new 4.4-litre V8 from the 8-Series as an optional unit, developing 390kW and and 750Nm is available in some models. The range-topping M760Li xDrive on the other hand, at the top of the range, utilizes an updated 6.6-litre V12 that makes 430kW and 850Nm.
The remainder of the engine range contains a 290kW six-cylinder plug-in hybrid motor with a maximum electric range of 58km, and a pair of inline sixes — one fueled by petrol that produces 210kW/450Nm and the other by diesel, making 294kW and 760Nm. Both numbers are from their respective top trims.