Fresh flagship. It’s all sevens for BMW right now, with the seventh generation of the 7 Series making its debut, before arriving in UK showrooms in October. In addition to an uprated 261bhp 3.0-litre diesel engine, there’s the option of four-wheel-drive for the first time in the UK, as well as downsized 322bhp 2.0-litre plug-in hybrid 740e variants producing 49g/km of CO2. As before, there’s the choice of regular and long-wheelbase editions, with the new car marginally longer than its predecessor F01/F02.
Despite that, the new G11/G12 7 Series is up to 130 kilograms lighter than before thanks in part to carbon-fibre reinforced plastic utilised in its construction, as well as aluminium and steel. Boot space has been improved to 515 litres – 15 litres more than before – while hybrid editions now feature 420 litres, a best in class figure.
The powerplant in the diesel 730d has been given a power boost of 7bhp to 262bhp, with maximum torque now rated at 457lb ft. CO2 emissions have reduced to just 124g/km, with 127g/km claimed for long wheelbase editions. This represents a 24g/km improvement, boosting fuel economy on the combined cycle from 50.4 to 60.1mpg. For business users, this results in the benefit-in-kind taxation rate tumbling from 27 to 22 per cent. The efficiency enhancements have been achieved thanks to a weight loss programme, better thermodynamics for the variable geometry turbocharger, and piezo injectors that now operate at a maximum pressure of 2,500 bar. A new transmission control system links the eight-speed automatic gearbox to the satellite navigation for the first time, allowing the system to forecast which gear is required in advance. On sale later than the diesel versions, a 740e plug-in hybrid model joins the range, fitted with a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine that when combined with electric motors produces 322bhp. The result is a vehicle capable of travelling 25 miles on electricity alone, delivering 134.5mpg on the combined cycle when fully recharged, with CO2 emissions of just 49g/km. A four-wheel-drive 740Le xDrive model will also be available, with 122.8mpg and 53g/km, respectively.
The combination of variable damper control and double-axle selflevelling air suspension contributes to comfort, while a new addition is the Executive Drive Pro feature, which is designed to reduce roll movement at the front and rear axle. Active roll stabilisation is carried out electromechanically this time around, meaning that body roll forces are equalised more quickly when cornering at speed, while in a straight line, the suspension is given greater freedom of movement for additional comfort. An executive lounge seating pack will become available next summer and delivers extra comfort for a rear seat passenger sitting on the opposite side of the vehicle to the driver. The backrest can be reclined up to 42.5 degrees, and the front seat moved further forward, giving extra legroom, with an electrically operated footrest that folds out from the back of the front passenger seat. A removable seven-inch tablet can be utilised to adjust the music, air conditioning, interior lighting and seat adjustment, as well as the ability to be used as a games console or for using the internet.
BMW’s trademark iDrive system now features a touchscreen for the first time, with a new gesture control system available as an optional extra. Bluetooth mobile phone connectivity is standard, as you would expect, as is an inductive charging facility that is compatible with a wide range of different mobile phones. Other new technology includes the ability to manoeuvre the car in and out of a parking space without the driver being present in the car. It’s the first production car in the world to be able to do this, and is activated using the BMW display key, and then carried out semi-autonomously by the car. Another first is the option of laser headlights in this segment, which can double the range of light compared to the full-LED items that come fitted as standard on all version of the latest 7 Series.