Three years after its debut, BMW's 7-Series gets several revisions to its lineup.
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 in the luxury sedan arena. 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.
Its diesel-fed 730d model benefits from an all-aluminum 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, power is increased by 12 percent to 228bhp and torque is increased by four percent higher to 520NMs.
The gasoline-powered 730i now features a new lightweight 3.0-liter magnesium aluminum composite engine recently unveiled in the British-based 630i and 330i. The new powerplant delivers 258 hp and 300NMs of torque. As a consequence, the new 730i offers the best power-to-weight ratio and highest output per liter of any car in its class.
This extra performance was not achieved at the expense of fuel consumption. The 730i delivers an impressive 28.0 mpg, a 4.7 percent improvement. 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. Starting first quarter 2005, Valvetronic will be featured on all 7-Series gas 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, currently the world's best selling 7-Series model, now becomes the BMW 750i, featuring an all-new 4.8-liter engine. Delivering 362bhp and 490NMs, its zero to 62mph sprint is dispatched in a sports car-like 5.9 seconds. Despite this power hike, the 750i is a gas-sipping 24.8 mpg.
The pinnacle of the current 7-Series will still be the 760i, with its 5.9-liter V12 engine delivering 445bhp and 600NMs of torque.
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-aluminum suspension has been updated and now benefits from a wider track (widened by 14 mm) to deliver even greater levels of stability. Alongside the standard suspension set up, customers can now specify two separate optional suspension choices (sport and adaptive drive), depending on their preference for ride comfort.
The sport option is for those who want the luxury offered by the 7-Series but would like a more sporting and agile drive. On the other hand, 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.
Enhancements to the 7 Series are not confined to engines and chassis: externally the revised 7-Series feature 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 emphasize the sportiness and dynamics of the car.
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 specifications of all 7-Series models have increased. All cars now feature xenon headlamps, a headlamp cleaning system and Brake Force Display. Brake Force Display (BMW's two-stage brake light system) alerts drivers traveling 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 pinpoint the car in case the 7-Series breaks down for any reason.