Three years after its debut BMW has announced the first details of a mid-life revision of the 7 Series, due for launch in spring 2005. Receiving a range of new engines, interior fine-tuning, dynamic developments and exterior styling enhancements, the new 7 Series promises to build on the global success of the car that broke the mould and set a new agenda in the luxury sector.
BMW Great Britain’s Managing Director, Jim O’Donnell, commented, 'At its UK launch in 2002, the 7 Series marked a radical departure from traditional, conservative luxury car design. While some in the media questioned the styling, customers were clearly attracted to its uniqueness and driving dynamics and the car has become the best-selling 7 Series ever. I am confident that the new engine range and subtle refinements will ensure the new 7 Series continues this success in the years to come.'
The new 7 Series offers customers the widest model range of any luxury car manufacturer, all of which (excluding the 760i) have new engines, updated to deliver more power and flexibility without compromising fuel economy.
In the UK, the biggest seller in the range is the 730d that accounts for 56 per cent of total 7 Series sales. To maintain its popularity, the 730d engine has been extensively revised and it now benefits from an all-aluminium cylinder block that reduces the weight of the engine by 25kg. As a result of this weight reduction and BMW’s new third-generation common rail diesel technology (that includes piezo-injectors, a faster and more efficient form of injection), power is increased by 12 per cent to 228bhp at 4,000rpm while torque is four per cent higher at 520Nm, developed between 2,000 and 2,750rpm.
The 730i now features the new lightweight 3.0-litre magnesium aluminium composite engine recently unveiled in the 630i and 330i. The new powerplant delivers 258bhp at 6,600rpm, up 12 per cent compared with its predecessor, and 300Nm of torque at 2,500 – 4,000rpm. As a consequence, the new 730i offers the best power-to-weight ratio and highest output per litre of any car in its class.
This extra performance was not achieved at the expense of fuel consumption. The 730i delivers an impressive 28.0mpg, a 4.7 per cent improvement over the outgoing car. The improvements in power and economy come primarily as a result of VALVETRONIC, BMW’s patented technology that regulates the volume of induction air without the need for a throttle butterfly. VALVETRONIC now features on all 7 Series petrol engines.
The new BMW 740i replaces the previous 735i with a 4,000cc V8 engine developing 302bhp at 6,300rpm and 390Nm of torque at 3,500rpm. This represents an output increase of 13 and eight per cent respectively over the 735i but, with a combined consumption of 25.2, the new 740i still benefits from a 0.9 per cent improvement in economy.
The 745i is currently the world’s best selling 7 Series model. This model now becomes the BMW 750i, featuring an all-new 4,799cc engine. Delivering 362bhp at 6,300rpm and 490Nm at 3,400, the zero to 62mph sprint is dispatched in a sports car-like 5.9 seconds. Despite this power hike, the 750i achieves 24.8mpg on the combined cycle.
The pinnacle of the 7 Series range continues to be the 760i, with its 5,972cc V12 engine delivering 445bhp at 6,000rpm and 600Nm of torque at 3,950rpm. This ensures that the car achieves a zero to 62mph time of 5.5 seconds - only 0.3 seconds longer than the high-performance M3 Coupé, a car that weighs 595kg less.
The enhancements to the new BMW 7 Series don’t stop with engine technology. The car’s chassis has also been updated to manage the additional performance with changes to ensure the new car offers improved steering precision, agility and ride quality. The all-aluminium suspension has been updated and now benefits from a 14mm wider track to deliver even greater levels of stability. Alongside the standard suspension set up, customers can now specify two separate optional suspension choices, depending on their preference for ride comfort.
The Sport model is for those who want the luxury offered by the 7 Series but also appreciate a more sporting and agile drive. The Adaptive Drive package combines BMW’s Dynamic Drive active anti-roll bar and Electronic Damper Control (EDC) system. Dynamic Drive converts body roll during cornering into hydraulic pressure to deliver a near-flat cornering experience. EDC offers three separate ride settings – Comfort, Normal and Sport.
Enhancements to the 7 Series are not confined to engines and chassis: externally, too, it features a number of refinements. From the front, there is a new headlamp and bumper design, changes to the kidney grilles and the enhancement of the power dome on the bonnet all give the car a more powerful face. The rear of the car has also been revised with modified tail lamps, bumper and a chrome strip running the width of the boot lid. These changes have the effect of narrowing the car from the rear view and ensure it looks planted firmly on the road. Finally in profile, bolder side sills emphasise the sportiness and dynamics of the car.
Complementing the design enhancements are four new exterior paint colours – Monaco Blue, Michigan Blue, Deep Green and Barbera Red, three leather upholstery finishes – Cream Beige, Lava Blue and Nature Brown alongside a range of new 18 and 19-inch alloy wheels.
Inside, BMW’s iDrive system has been subtly revised to make it more user friendly and to assist navigation with improved menu guidance to move between the eight areas of the Control Display.
In addition, the standard specification of all 7 Series models has increased. All cars now feature xenon headlamps and a headlamp cleaning system and, additionally, all models benefit from Brake Force Display, BMW’s two-stage brake light system, now standard across the BMW range, that alerts drivers travelling behind that the 7 Series is undertaking an emergency stop. Also, all cars specified with the navigation system and a car telephone come as standard with BMW Assist, the emergency service that uses the navigation system to pin-point the car (SE models feature navigation as standard).
Since its global launch in 2001, the 7 Series has experienced steady sales growth. With sales of almost 160,000 worldwide, the fourth generation is the most successful BMW luxury car to date. In the German market, the 7 Series is the market leader in the luxury segment and the car has also shown significant growth in the developing sales markets of Asia, Middle East, Eastern Europe, Oceania and Africa. It truly is a global car.