It is a saloon to chauffeur you around, but you would choose to drive it more often. A balance that the BMW 7-Series has pulled off really well, providing the best of luxury and handling in a plush ride for over five generations. But let’s face it, the outgoing 7er was getting old and the competition was getting better. So, the Bavarians made sure the world see’s the balancing act once again. Equally impatient as we were, BMW has officially revealed the sixth generation 7-Series saloon to the world ahead of its public debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September this year. With the newest update though, not only is the model all-new but gets loaded up on luxury and tech wizardry as well, which will put even the best of geek equipment look amateurish.
So what’s new? A hell load! BMW hasn’t tinkered too much with the aesthetics of the car and the design for what it is stands evolutionary over the outgoing model. The dimensions too are extremely close to the outgoing version. The styling is far more sharper than its predecessor as the front fascia gets the new and larger kidney grille that boldly stands out and also gets Active Aero function (active shutters) to aid in improved fuel economy. The nicely toned lines look good on the bulging hood, while the shoulder lines crease now continues from the headlight, receding towards the rear. Speaking of which, the sharply styled headlight cluster comes with a familiar LED eyebrow and features the new ‘Laserlight’ headlamps from the i8 (optional).
Move to the sides and you notice that the overall profile isn’t dramatically different from the current generation 7-Series, but you do get an abundant dose of chrome around the window line and those stellar looking alloy wheels, if you opt for the top-spec trim that is. The strong shoulder line moves to the rear and meets the very classy tail light cluster, a sharply sculpted boot-lid and a sporty looking bumper with twin rectangular exhausts. While the exterior speaks about class and stature, it’s grown more sophisticated underneath.
The 2016 7-Series is based on the completely new RWD CLAR (Cluster Architecture) modular platform and is first model to be spawned off the same. The new saloon has been built with an amalgamation of carbon fibre, steel, aluminium, magnesium and plastic, something BMW chooses to calling ‘Carbon Core’ structure. It also gets a badge on the B-pillar to denote the same. Essentially carbon fibre has been used in key areas to add strength while the plastics help save weight. And by the way, the new 7-Series is now 200 kg lighter over its predecessor unless you opt for the range-topping 750Li, which gets loaded with features and is only 130 kg lighter than the previous generation model.
Inside the cabin, the clutter-free design is a visual treat and the three-spoke steering with silver finish keeps things young. Massively loaded on tech, you see an upgraded 5.0-inch iDrive system with touchscreen and gesture control added for the first time. The now familar and easy to use control knob still remains though. The instrument console is all new and gets 3D graphics and a Heads-Up Display unit. The new centre console incorporates a smartphone holder, a nice touch actually. The new 7-Series also comes with wireless charging for those quickly draining smartphones.
At the rear, the chauffeur driven are pampered even more now with the new 7-inch tablet that allows the passenger to control several features of the car at a tap and then there the Ambient Air package which releases scents inside the cabin. The seats also get massage and ventilation function for enhanced cabin comfort, while the little things including heated doors, armrests and the best of the wood inlays and leather upholstered seats make sure you get your money’s worth and still some more. If you find harmony in symphony, then the 1400 Watt Bowers & Wilkins system with 16 speakers should suffice those needs.
It is all about the ride quality for the rear seat occupant and the Bavarians have made sure to spruce it up with the now standard new air suspension at the front and rear, in addition to electronically controlled dampers and optional active anti-roll bars. You can also raise the new 7-Series by 0.8 inches, whereas pushing the controls in Sport mode will automatically lower the saloon by 0.4 inches. There is also the new predictive adaptive suspension ‘Road Preview’ that uses cameras to scan the road surface and adjusts the suspension accordingly; very Magic Body Control-like available on the W222 Mercedes S-Class. Another very cool feature is the Remote Control Parking. Essentially automated parking, the system does not need someone behind the wheel. The other cool feature is the key fob that also gets a display screen.
The 2016 BMW 7-Series is now reduced to two core variants, the 740i and 750i. While power is sent to the rear wheels in standard guise, BMW will also be offer the saloon with xDrive that sends power to all four wheels. Under the hood, the 750i will get the 4.4-litre V8 TwinTurbo petrol engine that pushes out 445 HP, whereas the 740i will get a 3.0-litre 6-cylinder turbo petrol motor with 320 HP on tap. For the oil burning class using the 730d, diesel power will come from the 3.0-litre turbo in-line, six-cylinder engine with 265 PS. Transmission on all engines will be the standard 8-speed automatic. BMW has confirmed that there will be a Hybrid version called the 740e propelled by a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder petrol engine coupled with an electric motor. The Hybrid will be able to run up to 37 km on electric power alone with a top speed of 121 km/hr.
When does it come to India? Well, BMW will be bringing the sixth generation 7-Series to the country only by next year once the model goes on sale across Europe. While there are both short wheel drive (SWD) and long wheel drive (LWD) versions available, us folks will continue to get the LWD model for maximum comfort at the rear. The new 7-Series has an equally powerful competitor to live up to the Mercedes S-Class.