You might not know it on first glance but this is the newly updated BMW 7 Series for the 2013 model year. And while the surface changes may appear minimal, there are some significant updates under the skin including the eight-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel drive available on the 740Li, as well as a new powertrain for the ActiveHybrid 7 and self-leveling rear suspension as standard.
The revised exterior features LED headlights, while the interior has a redesigned iDrive system, which makes it quicker and has a fresher look, while an optional Bang & Olufsen High-End Surround Sound system is also available.
The 6.0-liter Twin Turbo V12 remains in the 760Li, while the inline-6 cylinder 740i/Li and V8 750i/Li receive significant enhancements. These are designed to deliver better performance and efficiency, including the 8-speed Steptronic that offers reduced fuel consumption. Auto Start-Stop, Brake Energy Regeneration and second-generation Driving Dynamics Control with ECO PRO mode offer additional fuel-saving opportunities.
The 2013 BMW 740i/Li feature the latest high-output 3.0-liter TwinPower Turbo inline 6-cylinder (N55) engine, delivering 315hp and 330 lb-ft of torque, which is on par with the previous model. Mated to the 8-speed automatic, the performance of the previous model is maintained while efficiency is improved by about 20% according to the EU test cycle, although US EPA mileage estimates are not yet available.
The 2013 BMW 750i/Li also receive upgrades. The 4.4-liter TwinPower Turbo V8 has been updated with Valvetronic to deliver 445hp – a 45hp increase over its predecessor, –and 480 lb-ft of torque (an increase of 30 lb-ft).
With the 8-speed Steptronic, the combination produces a 0-60 time of 4.7 seconds (preliminary), while consuming less fuel. The EU test cycle has shown fuel consumption was reduced by 25%.
The second generation ActiveHybrid 7 takes a step forward for 2013 with lower consumption and emissions, as well as innovative auxiliary functions. This latest evolution uses the 315hp N55 3.0L turbo engine, replacing the V8 in the previous ActiveHybrid 7. Hybrid components include a 55hp synchronous electric motor plus a hybrid-spec 8-speed Steptronic. It also has a lithium-ion battery run by the intelligent energy management. The components create a balance of performance and efficiency, with a combined output of 349hp and 367 lb-ft. As such, it accelerates 0-60mph in about 5.5 seconds (preliminary). At the same time, it delivers improved fuel efficiency approximately 14% better than the previous ActiveHybrid 7.
All new BMW 7 Series models come equipped with Auto Start-Stop which can cut fuel consumption by up to 6% as well as Brake Energy Regeneration.
Additionally, the new 7 includes ECO PRO driving mode, which modifies the powertrain management as well as the programming of the heating and air conditioning, heated seats and exterior mirror heating for optimum efficiency. It also offers tips for an efficient driving style. Taken together, ECO PRO can reduce fuel consumption by as much as 20%.
ECO PRO is part of the new Driving Dynamics Control fitted as standard on 740i/Li and 750i/Li models. It allows the driver to tailor accelerator response, engine response, power steering, and Dynamic Stability Control thresholds.
Using a rocker switch on the center console, drivers can choose between ECO PRO, COMFORT+, COMFORT, SPORT and SPORT+ modes. Each activates different settings for the relevant powertrain and chassis components.
The new BMW 7 Series comes with Dynamic Damper Control making it the first car to feature an electronically controlled damping system whose shock absorbers are adjusted individually at each wheel based on the condition of the road surface and the driving style. Each wheel’s compression and rebound settings are adjusted continuously and independently from one another. For example, a stiff chassis setting can be combined with comfortable responses to unevenness in the road surface. The shock absorber settings can be preset by the driver using the Driving Dynamics Control switch.
Active Roll Stabilization (standard on the 760Li and optional on other models) further reduces body roll in high-speed corners and under sudden changes in direction. Sensors calculate the amount of body roll, which is counteracted by rotary actuators in the front and rear anti-roll bars.
Integral Active Steering is available for rear-wheel drive BMW 7 Series models, which combines the Active Steering system for the front wheels with rear wheel steering. The steering angle and power assistance are controlled at both the front and the rear with the help of electric motors. The optimized system control unit processes information on wheel rotation speeds, steering wheel movement, yaw rate and lateral acceleration to ensure optimum steering behavior for the driving situation at hand. Integral Active Steering also works with a variable steering ratio on the front wheels, which makes parking and maneuvering easier and enables impressive precision at higher speeds.
All BMW 7 Series models are now equipped with self-leveling rear air suspension, which keeps the car riding at a constant height no matter the driving conditions and regardless of loads. This was previously available only on long wheelbase models in the US.
From the front, the hood of the new 7 Series has stronger contour lines that draw the eye to the upright kidney grille, which is extended forward. The chrome surround is now larger and has nine slats instead of the previous 12.
A full-width intake dominates the revised front apron. It is split into three sections, with a pair of chrome bars marking its outer sections. Included is BMW’s “air curtain” technology, which lowers fuel consumption at higher speeds by forcing air to flow more aerodynamically around the front wheels.
The rear has more horizontal lines and subdivision to visually lowers the car. The design of the L-shaped tail lights, linked by a chrome strip, remains unchanged.
A second chrome strip connects the two slim reflectors in the rear apron. Another slim chrome bar between the four chromed tailpipes is a distinguishing feature of the V12 760Li.
The new BMW 740i/Li and 750i/Li are equipped with standard Adaptive Xenon headlights. Adaptive LED Headlights are optional here but standard on the 760Li. In both cases, the Corona rings and daytime running lights also featuring LEDs. In addition, LEDs also generate the low beam and high beam from the two light rings.
The new 7 has more slender front seats, offering lateral support and long-distance comfort. Dakota- and Nappa leather can now be ordered in Ivory White or Veneto Beige upholstery. Multifunction seats are also available in place of the standard seats.
The optional Rear Seat Entertainment Package now includes an iDrive controller and two 9.2” screens which, instead of being integrated into the front seats, appear to be “floating” on them.
A new Bang & Olufsen Surround Sound System was specially designed for the car with 16 speakers around the cabin. It is a fully active, featuring digital signal processing, which means the two bass speakers, seven mid-range and seven tweeters all have individual amplifiers. This enables any sound reflections to be modified inside the vehicle. The Bang & Olufsen System uses Dirac Dimensions technology to recreate a reference listening room, so all occupants enjoy the same sound stage wherever they are sitting.
The form and color of the aluminum speaker grilles have been tailored precisely to the interior of the new 7. The perforation pattern on the grilles was created using a sophisticated drilling technique and the grille mounts are not visible.
The B&O Acoustic Lens Technology element in the center of the dashboard adds a visual feature as well as an acoustic one. As soon as the audio system is activated, the central element containing the integrated mid-range speaker pops up with the tweeter lens. The tweeter lens distributes its signals evenly at 180 degrees throughout the interior. This horizontal dispersion is achieved through the design of the lens, which minimizes unwanted vertical sound dispersion.
The latest-generation navigation system features a revised design and honed operating system. The user interface includes revised graphics and 3D elements, while the architecture of the individual menus is presented in virtual, 3D spaces. Its 1.3GHz processor and dedicated 3D graphics card bring new levels of animation and dynamic transitions.
Along with the menu presentation, the navigation displays have been revised and enhanced. The map displays and guidance information are depicted with greater sharpness than before. Additional function bars allow the map view to be customized quickly without having to leave the map. The new function bars are superimposed as an extension of the original map bar. This allows Real Time Traffic Information (RTTI) or weather updates to be superimposed, points-of-interest to be displayed, or the map to be quickly switched from top view to perspective.
The interactive map view also comes with the option of selecting special functions from the map. Using the iDrive Controller, the driver can mark a spot in the interactive map to open the Pie menu. This radial menu offers quick access to a host of options. Depending on the information stored, the driver can have points-of-interest flagged, read any stored details, start navigation to any of the points-of-interest, alter the map view and have the current location or destination displayed. If further information on a point-of-interest – such as the telephone number – is also stored, the driver can access it and make a call.
The new 3D city model offers another view of select cities to aid navigation. If the 3D representation is available, a realistic depiction of the surrounding streets and buildings makes it easier for the driver to find their way around.
The latest-generation navigation system features a full speech recognition function and optimized voice control system to complete the portfolio of office functions offered by BMW ConnectedDrive. The speech recognition system now includes the dictation function which gives drivers the opportunity to dictate text freely and compose short text-based messages simply by saying what they wish to write. Drivers also have a number of speech-based editing tools to put the final touches to emails and SMS messages. The multilingual system can recognize six languages including English and Spanish.
An additional speech-based option to enhance office functionality is voice memos, which can be sent directly by email. The advantage to the driver is the ability to quickly store ideas or to-do items and send them to the relevant addressee(s) – without being distracted. The recorded memos can be stored on a USB stick for use outside the car.
The BMW 7 Series now boasts Active Protection safety thanks to the addition of the Attention Assistant. The system’s electronics analyze driving behavior on the basis of various signals such as steering angle, road speed and engine parameters. If the system increasingly detects telltale signs of fatigue, the central Control Display encourages the driver to take a break by displaying a coffee cup symbol.