BMW details lighweight new 7 Series
After teasing us with the promise of a number of high-tech firsts, BMW has finally taken the wraps off its new flagship. The 7 Series will go into battle with Mercedes' and Audi's finest long-wheelbase warriors armed with a lightweight, supercar-inspired body and a gesture-controlled iDrive system.
In its quest for large car enlightenment, Bavaria's finest engineershave drawn on the lessons learned in producing the carbon-rich i3 and i8 totry and save weight in the 7 Series. Thenew car's Carbon Core body construction integrates carbon fiber with aluminumand high-tensile steel for greater structural rigidity – important structuralcomponents like the B-pillars are made from high tensile steel, while the car's trunk lid and doors are made up of aluminum.
These weight-saving measures, combined with lightweightcomponents in the wheels, suspension and brakes, contribute to weight loss of upto 130 kg (286 lb) over the old 7 Series, as well as a lower center of gravity and a 15percent reduction in unsprung mass.
While many owners may not even notice all the effort that's gone into savingweight in their 7 Series, they will definitely notice the improvements made tothe interior. Having introduced iDrivein the fourth generation 7 Series, BMW has used its new flagship to debutgesture control, which allows drivers to control infotainment functions likeaudio volume or phone calls with just a wave of their hand.
Gesture control is something that manufacturers likeVolkswagen have toyed with in their concepts, but BMW is one of the first tointegrate it into its production models.
BMW is also offering buyers a raft of high-endcustomization options. All of the buttons on the center console are framed byaluminum or wood, and particular attention has been paid to improving thequality of the driver's touchpoints.
Rear passengers have been well catered for in the new 7Series, too. An optional four-zone climate control system should eliminateany complaints from fussy rear-seat passengers, while the Executive Loungeoption is perfect for cashed-up buyers who prefer to be chauffeured everywhere.
The passengers in the back are treated to a folding table, footrest, massage seats with three levels of intensity and an animated in-seat training program. BMW has included a removable 7-inch TouchCommand tablet to control the functions and programs, which works inside and outside the car.
Fans of James Bond will be particularly excited to know thatthe new 7 Series can now be parked by remote control. Not content with auto-reverseparking or parking sensors, BMW's new 7 Series lets owners get out of theircars and press a button on their key, resulting in the car driving itself straight into (orreverse straight out of) the spot.
To stop the 7 Series being turned into agiant, expensive remote control car, BMW's system will only allow it to move afew meters out of the spot before the driver has to jump in and take control.
The new 7 Series is also loaded to thegills with features designed to make the driver's life safer and easier. BMW'soptional adaptive LED headlamps mold the beam around oncoming traffic, andworks in tandem with the Night Vision system to spotlight any objects that maybe hidden. Night Vision also shows an image of heat-radiating objects on anin-dash display. i8-like anti-dazzle laser lights are also available.
The 7 Series range kicks off with the all-wheel drive 730dxDrive, which produces 195 kW (265 hp) and 620 Nm (457 lb.ft) of torque – enough to propelthe 5.1-meter long (16.7 ft) luxury barge to 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 6.1 seconds. If youprefer your BMWs with a petrol engine, the range starts with the 740i, whichhits 100 km/h in 5.5 seconds thanks to its 240 kW (326 hp) and 450 Nm (332 lb.ft).
For those in search of a more economical option, BMW hascontinued the expansion of its hybrid range with the 740e plug-in hybrid. Despiteits impressive 240 kW (326 hp) of power, the 7 Series hybrid will return ascarcely believable 2.1 l/100km (135 mpg) on the combined cycle. With a claimedmaximum range of 40 km (25 miles) in pure electric mode, the 7 Series' range is 10 km (6 miles) morethan the Mercedes S500 Plug In hybrid.
The most powerful option in the 7 Series range will be theV8 750i, which is putting out 330 kW (450 hp) and 650 Nm (479 lb.ft).
All 7 Series' will be built at BMW's plant in Dingolfing. Each7 Series model is available in regular or, more expensive, long-wheelbaseversions. BMW is yet to release details about pricing.
You can see BMW's official launch film below.