BMW's all-new 7 Series will arrive in South Africa in February, 2009.
First we brought you some pictures of the next-generation BMW 7 Series that had been leaked on the internet. BMW squawked and promptly released official details of its new flagship sedan, and things are looking good.
It doesn't look too different from the current model, but don't be fooled - the sheetmetal masks an all-new car with the exterior styling showing off some striking cues forecast on the CS Concept shown at last year's Shanghai motor show, and its New York counterpart earlier this year.
In its fifth generation, the 7 Series will enter the market with three engine options: the diesel 730d, the 740i and the flagship 750i, powered by the same potent twin-turbo V8 that debuted recently on the X6 Sports Activity Coupe.
The grand daddy 750i is fitted with a 4 4-litre V8 with twin turboes and direct fuel injection.
This produces 300 kW from 5 500 to 6 400 r/min and massive torque of 600 Nm from a low 1 750 r/min. This makes the 750i capable of reaching 100 km/h from standstill in jaw-dropping 5.2 seconds before propelling it to a top speed limited to 250 km/h. All this returns an average fuel consumption of 11.4 l/100 km.
The 740i also makes do with twin turboes, but this time on the 3.0-litre straight six motor. Maximum output is 240 kW at 5 800 km/h with peak torque of 450 Nm on tap from 1 500 to 4 500 r/min. Top speed here, too, is 250 km/h, although the 740i takes 5.9 seconds to do the 0-100 km/h sprint.
The sole turbodiesel is a common-rail direct injection unit that uses a 3.0-litre straight six diesel engine with a variable turbine geometry turbocharger. Peak power is 180 kW at 4 000 r/min and torque is 540 Nm between 1 750 and 3 000 r/min. Top speed on this unit is 245 km/h and the fuel consumption, according to BMW is 7.2 l/100 km.
Apart from supplying the requisite firepower to the new model, the range of all-new engines will also ensure BMW's green Efficient Dynamics policy doesn’t falter.
Aiding this, BMW has also kept the weight on the new model as low as possible using multi-phase steel in the body construction and aluminium for a host of components and body panels.
Suspension is all-new, too, and mostly aluminium. This car is the first BMW sedan to sport a double-arm front axle, and it uses a V rear axle. Air suspension is available on the two long-wheelbase models (740iL and 750iL).
Steering is by a hydraulic rack-and-pinion system and the optional Integral Active Steering makes its debut on a production car. This new system uses active steering on the front axle and marries it with speed-related rear-wheel steering.
Dynamic Damper Control with Dynamic Driving Control is standard on the new 7 Series. They allow the dampers, gearshifts, dynamics, and even throttle and steering to be altered by punching the DDC button on the centre console.
Further driver assistance options are cruise control with stop and go, lane departure and lane changing warnings, heads-up display and a night view camera that, for the first time, also detects individuals.
Despite all these modcons, passive safety remains important, and the new range-topping sedan has the full complement of airbags, three-point seat belts and all it entails, but also crash activated headrests for the front passengers.
For the driver, the gear selector is on the centre console, as well as the steering wheel where it was before. A new six-speed automatic transmission is standard on all models with gearshift dynamics for quicker, smoother shifts and better fuel consumption.
iDrive's numerous "fans" may also be pleased to note that the latest version of this system makes its first appearance on new 7 Series.
Apart from its 10.2-inch display with new high-resolution graphics, iDrive will for the first time offer "favourites" buttons for even more individualised options. ConnectedDrive always-on internet access through the car's iDrive display is optional on new 7 Series.