Cars, electric cars, high tech, new models

Sixth Seven: BMW launches a tech marvel in Europe

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SUPERB NEW LINES, ABSOLUTE TECH: BMW’s sixth-generation 7 Series is about to be launched in Europe and, later, South Africa. The cars are full of new features and technology not even in sci-fi movies when the first of the current series was launched in 1977. Images courtesy BMW/Newspress

MUNICH, Germany – The sixth generation of BMW’s 7 Series is a true flagship of the BMW range, blending comfort, style, dynamic ability and cutting edge technology in equal measure to create an inspiring mode of luxury transport.

Those are BMW’s words, taken directly from the media release sent to Carman’s Corner, and we’ve no reason to doubt them. The cars will reach South Africa in January 2016 – so read all about them here and get your orders in early…!

The performance automaker adds that the cars are stronger and as much as 130kg lighter – thanks to the use of multiple materials in the body’s construction, among them carbon-fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) for the “carbon core” – than the previous models.

bmw seven pos 2

There are nine variants, each powered by either a petrol or diesel straight-six engine, though each is holding to the long-standing ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ to an electronically limited top speed of 250km/h. What the tuning geniuses do later is no BMW’s business…

Prices for right-hand drive models in the UK have been announced as ranging (guide only, direct rand conversion, ignoring duty and taxes) from R1 290 600 to R1 526 400. (Prices for the hybrid models not yet available.)

bmw seven closeup pos 4

Here are the models available for now in Europe with power/torque, 0-100 times and claimed possible fuel consumption…

Petrol and diesel models
740Li 326kW/450Nm 5.6sec 6.81 litres/100km
750i 449kW/650Nm 4.7sec 8.0 litres/100km
730d 265kW/620Nm 6.1sec 7.56 litres/100km
730Ld 265kW/620Nm 6.2sec 4.7 litres/100km
730d xDrive 265kW/620Nm 5.8sec 5.0 litres/100km
740d xDrive 320kW/680Nm 5.2sec 5.1 litres/100km
740Ld 320kW/680Nm 5.3sec 5.2 litres/100km
Hybrid electric models
740e 326kW/500Nm 5.6sec 2.11 litres/100km
740Le xDrive 326kW/500Nm 5.5sec 2.3 litres/100km

Each engine is turbocharged and, as seen in the above data, claims to be seriously fuel-efficient. Despite the cars’ size and weight, their performance is more sports-car than luxury sedan.

The three-litre petrol and diesel units in the 730/740 models are only five kW more powerful than their predecessors. The two plug-in hybrids have a two-litre petrol engine in support of the battery power and use technology originating from the i3 and i8 battery cars.

With the MAX eDrive mode engaged, the BMW 740e can run purely on battery power at up to 130km/h for a claimed 40km, the 740Le xDrive a little less.

An eight-speed Steptronic transmission is standard; a Steptronic Sport transmission with shift paddles on the steering wheel is an option (thought standard on M Sport models) and has a launch control function.

bmw seven closeup pos 3

Brake energy regeneration, auto stop and a coasting function help to reduce fuel use, as does clever route forecasting function on the satnav which recommends the most efficient driving style.

Two non-metallic and nine metallic colour shades are available – special finishes can be specified along with either 18” or 19” alloy wheel rims. The accessories range allows 20 or 21” rims.

M Sport models include an aerodynamic body-styling package that includes model-specific front/rear aprons and side skirts, plus 19” M alloy rims in twin-spoke design, illuminated door sills bearing the M logo, and accents in either light or dark chrome.

SPECIAL SELF-LEVELLING SUSPENSION

M Sport cabins have anthracite BMW Individual headlining and black wood interior trim strips.

“With its double-joint front axle, five-link rear axle and electric power assistance for steering,” BMW says, “the new Sevens come with all the ingredients for precise, assured handling. The inclusion of a self-levelling air suspension system as standard contributes to superb ride comfort.”

The air control allows the car to be raised by two cm to navigate a poor or rough surface, but only up to 35km/h – at which point the system goes back to standard. Better watch your speed carefully, then to avoid ripping off the exhaust…

When Sport mode is activated ride height automatically drops by a centimetre. The driver also has a choice of shock-absorber settings should he/she care to move things along.

A new development, BMW says, is Executive Drive Pro (BMW’s caps) which works with the auto air suspension to reduce body roll – even anticipating changes from the satnav and a stereo front camera. In adaptive mode, the system can also match current driving style and changing route profile in, as BMW says, “an adaptive, clearly perceptible, fashion”.

FOUR-ZONE AUTO AIRCON

The iDrive system’s operating concept has been expanded to include the method now familiar from consumer electronics: when combined with the standard satnav, the 31cm iDrive screen becomes a touch display – or can be specified with “gesture control”. No, it doesn’t transmit a middle finger, rather hand movements are registered by a 3D scanner to, for instance, turn down the audio volume or accept/reject an incoming phone call.

A four-zone auto aircon is standard (in the UK) with touch-sensitive controls for temperature, airflow, seat and steering-wheel heating and air fragrance. The long-wheelbase models have extra rear vents in the headlining.

Eight programs exist in the available seat massagers; a “vitality programme” devised for the Sevens allows passengers to “engage in active training” to revitalise the body on a long drive: instructions are displayed on the rear entertainment screens. Much, we guess, like the instructions on the rear of aircraft seats to ward off heart-attacks.

An (optional) Bowers & Wilkins Diamond audio system brings a 10-channel amplifier with an output of 1400W and 16 partially illuminated speakers together to, BMW says, “produce an exceptionally precise and wonderfully rich sound”.

There’s a new-generation head-up display with a 75% larger projection and the Seven is the first production car that able to park itself in garage slots without the driver in the car; the car will also parallel self-park in a street space.

The new Seven is also the first car in its segment to come with the option of laser headlights which had their production-model world premiere in the BMW i8 and provide a high-beam range of 600m – double a normal range.

Find out more about BMW products in South Africa.

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