After a great deal of expectation, BMW has finally released the first official photos of the new 7-Series. The car's arrival has been eagerly awaited because everybody wanted to see how the Bangle design features would evolve into the fifth generation 7. And as you can see, the lines have been softened considerably, creating a more conservative exterior in comparison to when its predecessor was launched on an unprepared public.
The car claims to have the world's first night vision system with individual pedestrian recognition, the first production car with front side-view camera, the first BMW sedan with speed-related integral active steering and the first with lane change warning. It also has the ability to read road speed signs and warn a driver of a changing limit. This 7-Series will additionally feature EfficientDynamics for class-leading CO2 emissions and fuel consumption.
The launch of the fifth generation BMW 7-Series sets a new benchmark in automotive luxury, technical innovation and class-leading driving dynamics, combined with emissions reducing and fuel saving technology, according to BMW's press release. The flagship model range will debut later in the year with a host of world firsts and will initially be offered with a choice of three powerplants in europe, one diesel and two gasoline engines. There will also be a long-wheelbase body, too. All three engines produce more power yet use less fuel and produce lower emissions than the models they replace.
While a diesel-powered 7-Series has never before come to America, the current fuel crisis could lead to a rethink. Especially since the new BMW 730d sets a benchmark in terms of drivetrain performance. The new all-aluminum 3.0 liter straight-six diesel produces 245hp at 4000rpm. The 2993cc powerplant posts the lowest ever CO2 figure of any previous BMW 7-Series and it is also the most economical 7-Series ever. Its 192g/km emission figure is class-leading for conventionally powered luxury cars, while no other competitor comes close to its 39.2mpg combined consumption figure. Yet it can accelerate from 0-62mph in 7.2sec and has a 153mph top speed.
To put the 730d's competitive advantage into context, it records near identical consumption and CO2 emissions to the Mercedes C320CDi - a car that's two market segments below the 7-Series, and is both smaller and lighter than the BMW.
The impressive performance of the 730d is, in part, due to third-generation common-rail direct injection technology, incorporating piezo injectors, that operates at a peak pressure of 1800 bar. This system ensures a near perfect combustion process.
The BMW 750i and 750Li are the range flagships. The new 4395cc V8 engine from the recently launched X6, featuring twin-turbochargers and high-precision direct injection technology, produces 407hp from 5500rpm to 6400rpm. Such performance sees the 750i accelerate from 0-62mph in 5.2sec (5.3sec for the 750Li) before going on to an electronically-limited 155mph.
Consumption on the combined cycle is 24.8mpg, while CO2 emissions equate to 266g/km.The all-aluminum V8 engine features twin-turbochargers and catalysts that are placed within the vee of the engine block. This not only optimizes packaging, but the reduction in manifold length mean the engine breathes better for enhanced performance. Double-VANOS variable valve technology and high-precision direct injection further aid engine performance.
The BMW 740i and 740Li are also offered. Using a 2979cc powerplant, it musters 326hp for rapid performance. The twin-turbocharged engine from the 135i, 335i and 535i features high-precision direct injection and Double-VANOS variable valve technology to achieve optimum performance. The car accelerates from 0-62mph in 5.9sec (6.0sec for the 740Li) before going on to 155mph.
The BMW 740i and 740Li post combined fuel consumption figures of 28.5mpg and 28.2mpg respectively, while returning emissions figures of 232g/km and 235g/km.
All BMW 7-Series models come with a six-speed automatic transmission as standard. The launch of the 7-Series means the entire BMW range now comes equipped with EfficientDynamics technologies as standard. With its roof, doors, hood and side panels made from aluminum to dovetail with the principle of lightweight engineering, the 7-Series also has other innovative class-leading technology. Brake Energy Regeneration, not currently offered in the US, uses the engine's power on overrun, such as braking, to charge the battery for the car's electrical circuit. When the driver is accelerating, the alternator disengages so all of the engine's power is channeled toward the car's performance. Other ancillaries, such as the air-conditioning compressor, are also able to disengage to improve the performance of the car.
The 7-Series' drivetrain is reinforced with a plethora of automotive firsts. All models can be specified with the world's first Side View camera system. In addition to Park Distance Control, that aids slow speed maneuvering, the front side view camera provides another tier of driver awareness. With the touch of a button, two forward-facing cameras in the front bumper can show an overview on the iDrive display. This allows the driver to negotiate a partially obscured junction, leave a car park or drive through a narrow gate with absolute confidence.
The 7 can be specified with the world's most advanced Night Vision system. BMW was the first to fit Night Vision to a premium car and has now upgraded it to include a pedestrian recognition system. A control unit analyses video data of human behavior as part of the Night Vision camera's reach and can alert the driver if it detects somebody moving into the vehicle's path.
Building on the impressive list of innovations, the 7-Series is the first BMW to feature Lane Change Warning combined with Lane Departure Warning. The latter is a system that first appeared on 5- and 6-Series models and uses a camera to monitor road markings. Should the driver start to stray out of lane, a gentle vibration of the steering wheel provides an alert. However, courtesy of two radars located on either side of the rear bumper, Lane Change Warning adds another level of driver safety. The sensors scan the blind spot either side of the vehicle, up to a distance of 60 meters, and alert the driver to the presence of another vehicle with a triangular symbol in the door mirror housing. Cars that are specified with Head-up Display and Lane Departure Warning have the added benefit of a speed limit warning system, too. The camera used as part of the Lane Departure Warning system can now also scan oncoming road signs to alert the driver of any impending speed restriction. The current speed limit is then displayed in the Head-up Display. This is the first time a production car has been offered with a speed warning system that can read road signs.
Completing the host of innovations is speed-related Integral Active Steering. A car specified with this optional equipment allows the rear wheels to turn by up to 3. At slow speeds it is highly maneuverable, while at a faster pace it offers enhanced composure and driving dynamics.
The latest gen 7 is the first to have Drive Dynamic Control featuring Variable Damping Control as standard. Drive Dynamic Control is the umbrella function that allows a driver to customize the characteristics of the car. As part of this, the Variable Damping Control can bet set in comfort, normal, sport or sport + modes. For the first time, these settings are infinitely variable, depending on driving style and road conditions. The selected mode now alters the throttle response, gear change speed and steering feel.
To aid driving dynamics and comfort the 7-Series is the first BMW sedan to feature racecar-like double-wishbone front suspension. This arrangement allows the engineers to fine-tune the suspension for the best kinematic configuration. The rear suspension consists of a five-link arrangement made of aluminum, which can be further optimized with the inclusion of Adaptive Air Suspension. The new BMW 7-Series comes with one of the most luxurious interiors of any premium car. In addition to a new iDrive controller and larger 10.2" screen, owners will be able to program frequently selected radio stations or navigation destinations on favorite buttons located on the centre console. For the first time on a BMW, the instrument cluster comprises a high-resolution color display with Black Panel technology. This new style of display provides greater character clarity and, when not in use, forms a smooth, homogenous black surface that gives the interior an added level of elegance.
The 7 is the first BMW to enable a customer to upload their favorite music to the vehicle courtesy of an 8Gb hard drive. In excess of 100 albums can be saved in this way for the driver's enjoyment. Four-zone automatic air-conditioning is fitted as standard while, for the first time, the 7-Series can have a rear seat ventilation system combined with massage function. The air-conditioning system feeds cool air to the seat squab and backrest, while 12 massage bubbles gently knead the occupants' upper body.
So while the exterior of the new 7-Series may be more conservative that previous models, the car's level of innovation, sporting ability and leading technology mean it should remain a popular choice for buyer's in the premium
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