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2009 BMW 7 Series, Details - (UK)

November 15th, 2008
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The launch of the fifth generation BMW 7 Series marks a new in-class benchmark in automotive luxury, technical innovation and driving dynamics, combined with emissions-reducing and fuel-saving technology. The flagship of the BMW model range debuts on 15 November with a host of world firsts and will initially be offered with a choice of three powerplants, one diesel and two petrol engines. The two petrol-powered cars will be offered with a long-wheelbase body. All three engines produce more power, yet use less fuel and produce fewer emissions than the models they replace.

Klaus Kibsgaard, Managing Director of BMW (UK) Ltd, said: “The BMW 7 Series is BMW personified: a luxurious, sporting premium car that is ideal for the businessman who enjoys driving. EfficientDynamics technologies offer low cost of ownership benefits at a time of financial uncertainty. The car introduces a number of intelligent design and engineering enhancements that make it a truly class-leading product.”

Drivetrain

The BMW 730d is powered by a new, all-aluminum engine that produces 245hp and 540Nm of torque. Capable of propelling the vehicle from zero to 62mph in 7.2 seconds before going on to a top speed of 153mph, the vehicle is still able to return the best fuel economy of any previous 7 Series. And its combined 39.2mpg figure is better than any comparable car in the market: petrol, diesel or hybrid. The BMW 740i and 750i are equally noteworthy. The 740i is powered by an evolution of the current back-to-back International Engine of the Year-winning 3.0-litre petrol engine. The twin-turbocharged unit produces 326hp and 450Nm of torque to enable the 740i to accelerate from zero to 62mph in 5.9 seconds before going on to an electronically-limited 155mph top speed. It records a combined consumption figure of 28.5mpg and CO2 emissions of 232g/km.

As the flagship of the range, the BMW 750i takes pride of place with its own world first. Its twin-turbochargers are located within the engine’s vee to improve performance and packaging requirements. The configuration sees the 750i produce 407hp and 600Nm of torque which equates to a zero to 62mph time of 5.2 seconds, an electronically-limited top speed of 155mph, a combined consumption figure of 24.8mpg and emissions of 266g/km.

The BMW 7 Series comes with the marque’s award-winning EfficientDynamics technologies – the same as every other model currently on sale. The introduction of Brake Energy Regeneration, active aerodynamics and on-demand use of ancillary units have all had a beneficial impact on economy and emissions compared to the previous generation. The BMW 730d is the first Seven to ever record a sub 200g/km emissions figure. Such is the impact of EfficientDynamics technologies across the entire BMW range, the marque now offers 73 models with CO2 emissions of 140g/km or less in the UK and Republic of Ireland – a greater figure than any other premium manufacturer.

Chassis and safety

As with all modern BMWs, the 7 Series has a chassis configuration aimed at balancing ride comfort with a dynamic driving experience. A 50:50 weight distribution and the extensive use of lightweight materials throughout the car provide a good foundation. Building on this are a raft of active chassis and safety systems that further enhance the experience.

Standard on all BMW 7 Series variants is a double wishbone front suspension with an Integral V rear suspension configuration. Long wheelbase cars supplant the Integral V rear axle with an air suspension for greater rear passenger ride comfort. In addition to this every vehicle features Drive Dynamic Control that offers four distinct set-ups of Comfort, Normal, Sport and Sport+. At the touch of a button the driver can alter the gear change, throttle response, degree of power steering assistance, damper settings and the Dynamic Stability Control+ programme.

Building on the standard chassis configuration are a number of optional features. Integral Active Steering allows all four wheels of the car to be steered. This improves the turning circle at slower speeds while offering a more composed ride at higher speeds. In a world first, Speed Limit Display uses a forward-facing camera to scan road signs and display the current speed limit to the driver. The system even recognises variable speed warnings in road works. Lane Departure Warning shares the same camera as Speed Limit Display to monitor road markings and warn the driver if they are in danger of straying out of lane.

Lane Change Warning provides a rearward-facing safety blanket courtesy of two sensors situated in the bumper. The system alerts the driver to any vehicle that may be in a blind spot. The BMW 7 Series can also be specified with the world’s first Night Vision system with individual pedestrian recognition. Not only does the latest Night Vision scan the road 300 metres ahead it is now able to warn the driver if a pedestrian is likely to walk into the path of the car. Side View cameras and Head-up Display are two further safety features that are segment firsts.

Market and history

The UK car market has an unquestionable diesel bias when it comes to the large premium sector. In 2007 the BMW 730d accounted for 85 per of sales and this figure is expected to remain the same for the new car. In a full year BMW UK is likely to sell in excess of 2,000 7 Series models.

Key Facts:
The BMW 730d is more powerful, quicker from zero to 62mph, yet more economical and cleaner than any of its non-hybrid premium rivals.
- The BMW 7 Series comes with a host of class firsts. Integral Active Steering, Night Vision with pedestrian recognition, Speed Limit Display, Side View cameras, Head-up Display, double wishbone front suspension, a V8 engine with twin-turbo chargers located in the vee and FlexRay data transmission technology all feature.
- The BMW 7 Series uses an 80Gb hard drive data storage system.
- Prices for the car start at £54,160 for a BMW 730d rising to £69,400 for a BMW 750Li. It goes on sale in the UK on 15 November, 2008.

Drivetrain

The heart of a BMW is its engine. The new BMW 7 Series initially comes powered by three impressive engines. The current International Engine of the Year powers the 740i. The world’s first V8 powerplant to feature twin turbochargers and a catalyst located within the vee of the engine is fitted to the 750i. The 730d is powered by an award-winning 3.0-litre diesel engine. With a pedigree like this the heart of the new 7 Series beats strongly yet cleaner and greener courtesy of EfficientDynamics.

No other conventionally powered executive car in this segment can match the 7 Series for its breadth of performance, refinement, economy and emissions. All of the new 7 Series powerplants fulfil the proposed EU5 legislation.

BMW 730d

The BMW 730d is the most important model within the range for the UK market. When the long wheelbase variant joins the standard wheelbase car in spring 2009, this powerplant is likely to account for approximately 85 per cent of sales. Customers selecting this class-leading variant will get a 730d with an all-new, all-aluminum engine which is lighter than the unit it replaces, while also managing to offer greater power, better fuel consumption and lower emissions. The engine’s all-new structure and configuration, new components, the re-arranged ancillary units and BMW’s award-winning EfficientDynamics technologies are the key ingredients.

The 2,993cc engine in the 730d produces 245hp at 4,000rpm with a peak torque of 540Nm from 1,750rpm through to 3,000rpm. These statistics equate to a car that can accelerate from zero to 62mph in 7.2 seconds before going on to a top speed of 153mph. In contrast the 730d now records a combined consumption figure of 39.2mpg making it the most economical 7 Series ever, while a CO2 emissions figure of 192g/km also makes it the cleanest production model ever offered for sale.

At 185kgs, the 245hp six-cylinder engine is 8kg lighter than the previous 7 Series’ diesel-powered unit. The crankcase is made of a high-strength silicon aluminum alloy. A significantly upgraded single turbocharger system with variable vane technology provides a smooth, linear line of acceleration and torque for the driver, making for rapid yet effortless performance. Fuel is supplied to the combustion chambers via third generation common-rail fuel injection utilising piezo injectors and operating at a maximum pressure of 1,800bar to ensure the best possible combustion cycle.

Aiding this process is the actual design of the engine. The reduced height of the cylinder head, the central position of the injectors and the vertical arrangement of the valves all help improve performance and cut the degree of unburnt fuel exiting the exhaust pipe. The compression height of the pistons has been enlarged and the intake and exhaust pipework redesigned. The alternator, power steering pump and air conditioning compressor are now all arranged on the left-hand side of the engine. This arrangement means all these ancillary units require one belt drive not two thus saving further weight and engine drag. The right-hand side of the engine has a diesel particulate filter, an oxidisation catalyst and the turbocharger system.

These innovations help the latest 730d produce 14hp more than the outgoing model with the same 2,993cc displacement while at the same time improving fuel consumption by 10 per cent. The table below outlines how these improvements on the 7 Series’ already class-leading performance figures underscore its competitive advantage.

Independent data supplied by EMMOX Carcost Ltd.

The BMW 730d is a Band F Vehicle Excise Duty car and sits ahead of all its competitors in terms of CO2 emissions

. 740I

Powered by an evolution of the current back-to-back International Engine of the Year-winning engine, the 3.0-litre BMW 740i offers customers who prefer the characteristics of petrol power the chance to own the most powerful six-cylinder currently offered by BMW.

Courtesy of twin-turbochargers, one for each bank of three cylinders, and high-precision injection technology, the 740i produces 326hp at 5,800rpm and a peak torque of 450Nm from just 1,500rpm through to 4,500rpm. Such a flat torque curve is usually the preserve of a diesel engine, but the small turbochargers with their low inertia, combined with the Bi-VANOS variable valve system, ensure optimum throttle response for rapid progress.

The ingenuity of BMW’s engineers in creating such an engine translates into a vehicle that is capable of a zero to 62mph time of 5.9 seconds (6.0 seconds for the 740Li) before going on to an electronically-limited top speed of 155mph.

The performance of the 2,979cc 740i is equivalent to that of the previous eight-cylinder-engined 7 Series, but for less weight and with greater fuel economy and lower emissions. The new BMW 740i records a combined fuel consumption of 28.5mpg with CO2 emissions of 232g/km.

Compared with its predecessor the 740i offers 20hp more power while at the same time recording a 12 per cent reduction in fuel consumption.

Like the 730d, the 740i is also a class-leading powerplant in terms of overall performance. The table below uses figures compiled from an independent source to highlight the competitive advantage the 7 Series enjoys and the subsequent benefits to an owner in terms of running costs and enjoyment.

750i

The engine under the bonnet of the BMW 750i is unique. In a world first the 4,395cc V8 powerplant is the first to feature a twin-turbocharger configuration that sees the two forced induction units located within the vee of the engine in conjunction with the catalyst.

Such an arrangement allows for greater packaging versatility but it also improves engine breathing. The optimised cross sections of the intake and exhaust systems reduce pressure loss and thus improve the overall combustion process for enhanced performance. In the same way that the 740i offers the performance of a V8 engine, the 750i boasts a powerplant that posts V12 levels of output. The 750i develops a maximum output of 407hp between 5,500rpm and 6,400rpm. Peak torque is 600Nm and this is maintained from a near idling speed of 1,750rpm through to 4,500rpm. This spread of power and torque equates to an engine with near-instantaneous response and smooth, effortless in-gear performance. The all-aluminum engine of the 750i with its Bi-VANOS variable valve technology and high-precision direct injection engine is capable of a zero to 62mph time of 5.2 seconds (5.3 for the 750Li) and a top speed electronically-limited to 155mph. By contrast fuel consumption is still 24.8mpg on the combined cycle and CO2 emissions are 266g/km.

To underscore the 750i’s technical progress, it is three per cent cleaner than the outgoing model, but offers 41hp more. Not only are these impressive individual performance figures, but the 750i also outperforms its key rivals.

Transmission

All BMW 7 Series models transfer their power to the rear wheels via a six-speed automatic gearbox. This has been enhanced compared to the outgoing car. A new electronic control unit with greater memory capacity, a modified torque converter and upgraded hydraulics allows for quicker, more precise gear changes.

The characteristics of the gear change can be altered by the Drive Dynamic Control located on the centre console. (This is described in greater detail in the Chassis and Safety chapter.) The use of a FlexRay bus system also enables more efficient response times in the transmission, the management of which is via an electrical and not a mechanical link.

EfficientDynamics

The latest BMW 7 Series is the first to fully deploy BMW’s award-winning EfficientDynamics technologies. Previously high-precision direct injection engines and lightweight engineering principles provided the grounding for the best in class economy and emissions figures. Now the significant benefits of Brake Energy Regeneration, active aerodynamics and on-demand use of ancillary units have added to the BMW 7 Series’ armoury.

Brake Energy Regeneration is fitted as standard to all 7 Series models. By using an Absorbent Glass Mat battery that can handle intermittent charges, Brake Energy Regeneration is able to use the power created by an engine on over-run to be turned into electrical energy to power ancillary devices on the car. Conversely when the car is accelerating the alternator is automatically disconnected from the engine so all the power created is put towards the performance of the car.

Similarly the car’s ancillaries such as the air conditioning, the fuel and steering pumps can all be decoupled from the engine when not required to improve the all round performance of the engine. The BMW 730d and 740i models additionally come as standard with the ability to optimise the aerodynamic efficiency of the car surrounding the area of the kidney grille. Electronically controlled flaps located behind the kidney grille can be opened or closed according to engine loading. When a large volume of cooling air is not required the flaps are closed to reduce the vehicle’s air resistance.

BMW has showcased lightweight engineering principles on the BMW 7 Series previously, but the latest model takes this a stage further. The new vehicle comes with an aluminum roof bonded to a steel body. Not only does this unique mix lower the centre of gravity but it saves 7kg of weight compared to a conventional steel roof configuration. Aluminum is deployed elsewhere around the car to further reduce weight. The bonnet, doors, front side panels and front spring supports are all made of the lightweight material. The doors alone save 22kg of weight over steel.

It is this innovative approach to motoring in the 21st century that gives BMW its competitive advantage. BMW expects to sell 800,000 cars fitted with EfficientDynamics technologies in 2008. Combined, this car pool will save 150 million litres of fuel and 373 million tonnes of CO2 compared to the same number of vehicles sold by BMW in 2006.

Chassis and Safety

The BMW 7 Series comes with a host of firsts that mark it out as the most innovative and technologically advanced car in its class while still rightly being able to retain its crown as the de facto choice for those drivers seeking the Ultimate Driving Machine.

The new BMW 7 Series is the first premium car to offer four-wheel steering courtesy of Integral Active Steering, for greater ride composure and agility. It is also the first car in the world to offer a Speed Limit Display function for safe driving and a Far Infra Red Night Vision system with individual person detection. A Lane Change Warning system for motorway or dual carriageway use is also a segment first.

The fifth generation of BMW 7 Series is also the first of modern times to come with a double wishbone front suspension to provide the optimum kinematic configuration for handling and ride. Meanwhile, Side View cameras can also be specified for the first time on a BMW for greater safety when exiting partially obscured junctions. Head-up Display is another segment first as is the electronic pre-tensioning of seatbelts during sharp braking and the use of Run-flat tyres on all variants. Finally, the BMW 7 Series comes with the most advanced cruise control system currently on the market: Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go. When activated the car not only maintains the required constant speed but can, in all but emergency situations, bring the car to a halt and back up to speed again for effortless driving.

Drive Dynamic Control

Every new BMW 7 Series comes as standard with a new, all-encompassing, chassis tuning function called Drive Dynamic Control. By pressing a switch next to the gear lever the driver is able to activate one of four pre-determined settings that alter the gear change, throttle response, level of assistance of the power steering, damper characteristics and the Dynamic Stability Control+ (DSC+) programme.

The four pre-determined settings are Comfort, Normal, Sport and Sport +. Comfort offers the softest damper setting, the most relaxed drivetrain configuration and full DSC+ function. At the other end of the scale Sport + offers the driver the most dynamic and sporting configuration of the car including the engagement of Dynamic Traction Control (DTC). DTC allows a degree of wheel slip for either spirited yet controlled driving or for better motion on a loose surface such as snow. Regardless of any specified Drive Dynamic Control setting a second button next to the gear lever allows the driver to switch between DSC+, Dynamic Traction Control (DTC) and complete disengagement of DSC+.

Via the iDrive control the driver is able to mix and match some of these settings. For example, it is possible to have a sporting arrangement for the drivetrain and steering but choose a ‘Normal’ damper setting. This situation would apply itself should the driver be on a road with a relatively poor surface but wish to enjoy the sporting nature of the 7 Series.

The BMW 7 Series comes as standard with Dynamic Stability Control+ featuring additional functions such as Hill-Start Assistant, Brake Drying, Brake Pre-tensioning, Soft-stop and Brake Fade Compensation.

Suspension

The BMW 7 Series comes as standard with a double wishbone front suspension and a rear suspension consisting of an Integral V arrangement, both of which are made from aluminum to save weight. A double wishbone front suspension allows for the optimum wheel camber and castor angles to be attained for excellent handling and ride, while the rear suspension adopts a different configuration due to packaging constraints. Three track control arms, in addition to the swing arm, permit the engineers to attain the best rear suspension set-up. For owners of long-wheelbase cars the Integral V rear suspension is replaced by an air suspension. This is introduced as the requirement for a cosseting ride for the rear passengers is more important than outright driving dynamics.

Whichever model is specified the suspension on the BMW 7 Series is completed by a world first. It is the first car to use a damper system that adjusts the compression and rebound stages in a continuous process independently of one another. This permits the dichotomy of a firm suspension set-up but one that is still capable of providing a comfortable response to uneven road surfaces.

This advanced chassis configuration has only been made possible by the use of FlexRay high-speed data transmission technology as part of the Integrated Chassis Management system. FlexRay is what high-speed broadband is to an old-fashioned dial-up computer modem in its comparison to previous car ‘bus’ systems – it transmits data 20 times faster. FlexRay enables the 16 control units located around the car to communicate quickly and precisely as part of the ICM system for the perfect co-ordination of the control units of the drivetrain, suspension, steering and DSC system.

All BMW 7 Series variants comply with the demand to have a 50:50 weight distribution for optimum dynamics.

Dynamic Drive

The owner of a BMW 7 Series can enhance his chassis settings further by specifying Dynamic Drive. This optional system uses active anti-roll bars to neutralise any natural lean of the car created during cornering, for a flatter more composed ride. It has the added benefit of preventing any ‘copying’ in the suspension and the steering feel created when one wheel hits a pothole in the road. This juddering is largely cancelled out by Dynamic Drive.

Integral Active Steering

This is a new system that reduces the turning circle of the 7 Series by a metre compared to a car without the system specified. At the same time Integral Active Steering (IAS) makes for more direct steering responses at slower speeds and a more composed ride at higher ones. It is the first system of its kind in the premium segment.

IAS works by combining the Active Steering system already offered on BMW products, with one that also varies the rear wheel angle. Active Steering uses a planetary gear bisecting the steering shaft to either dial on more lock at lower speeds for easy manoeuvring or slower the steering rate for a more relaxed steering feel at higher speeds.

The rear steering part of IAS works in a different way. An electric motor with a spindle drive to the rear axle powers the wheels to turn up to three degrees with a control unit monitoring wheel speed, steering wheel angle, lateral acceleration and yaw rate to determine the amount the rear wheels move. At low speeds the rear wheels move in the opposite direction to the front wheels to improve the car’s natural turning circle. As speed increases past the 35mph mark the wheels begin to return straight-ahead before, as speed increases further, they then turn in the same direction as the front wheels. This change in practice creates a car that is nimble for a vehicle of its length, but one that offers high speed motoring comfort for all occupants.

Speed Limit Display

The BMW 7 Series is the first car in the world to be offered with a system that is capable of reading road signs and displaying the corresponding current speed limit to the driver.

It works courtesy of a camera located in the rear view mirror housing. The camera monitors the road ahead and cross-references all the speed limit signs with the same data stored on the navigation section of the car’s hard drive. Should there be a discrepancy, such as a lower speed limit through temporary road works, then the vehicle displays the lower speed. This is the same should a variable speed limit sign be activated on a motorway.

The driver is alerted to the current speed with a warning display in the control panel between the speedometer and the rev counter. Those drivers choosing the optional Head-Up Display system get an additonal, discreet warning projected on the windscreen. Speed Limit Display comes as standard if Lane Departure Warning is specified.

Lane Departure Warning and Lane Change Warning

The camera that enables the Speed Limit Display function to operate is also utilised by the Lane Departure Warning system. When activated via a button located to the right of the steering wheel, Lane Departure Warning scans the white lines of the road 50 metres ahead and warns the driver if the vehicle is starting to stray out of lane. An inattentive driver is alerted to the potentially dangerous situation by a mild vibrating of the steering wheel.

Lane Change Warning is another optional safety system, this time one that scans the road to the rear of the vehicle. Two sensors in the vehicle’s bumper monitor the road to warn the driver of any following car that might be positioned in a blindspot. When the indicator is activated, an orange triangle located on the exterior mirror housing flashes to alert the driver that a vehicle is close and a lane change would be inadvisable. If this advice is ignored the steering wheel also vibrates to provide a second warning. The system operates from 30mph.

Night Vision with pedestrian recognition

The new BMW 7 Series can be specified with the world’s most advanced Night Vision system in a production car. BMW was the first manufacturer to fit Night Vision to a premium car and it has now upgraded this package to include a pedestrian recognition system in another world first.

The system centres on a thermal imaging camera with a 300-metre range that provides a video picture of the road ahead beyond the range of the car’s headlights; typically 150 metres. As this camera, located in the front valance, scans the road a control unit also analyses video data of human behaviour that has been picked up. By applying complex algorithms the computer is able to calculate if any pedestrians highlighted are likely to move into the path of the 7 Series. Should this be the case, a warning flashes three times in the control display located between the speedometer and the rev counter. Drivers specifying Head-up Display also get an additional warning projected on to the windscreen.

Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go

Cruise Control is standard on the BMW 7 Series, but for a premium an owner can upgrade to the most advanced Cruise Control currently available. Cruise Control with Stop & Go builds on the standard 7 Series Dynamic Cruise Control system with its brake function that keeps the car at a constant speed regardless of road inclination.

A radar sensor mounted at the front of the vehicle, when activated, allows for the 7 Series to maintain progress, even in start-stop traffic, without the need for the driver to apply the accelerator. On a motorway the system always ensures suitable progress while still maintaining a safe distance from the car in front. Such an arrangement makes for relaxed driving. Despite the seemingly automated nature the car takes on when the system is activated, the driver is always in full control. If the vehicle is stationary for more than three seconds in start-stop traffic he is required to apply the accelerator to get underway. By contrast, at higher speeds, should the vehicle in front be braking heavily the car initiates a frontal collision warning. The driver receives an audible alert while a light in the centre console flashes. The ABS is also readied to provide optimum stopping power should evasive action be needed.

Side View cameras

To complement the standard specification front and rear Park Distance Control system and the optional reversing assist camera, the BMW 7 Series is the first BMW to be offered with Side View cameras. Designed to enable a driver to pull out of a junction or driveway where the view might be obstructed, the Side View camera system uses two digital cameras, one either side of the vehicle, positioned at the front wheel arches. When a button on the centre console is pressed two images with tracking lines highlighting the front of the vehicle are relayed onto the iDrive display. The driver can then use the cameras to slowly, but safely edge out of the junction or driveway.

BMW ConnectedDrive

The BMW 7 Series comes with BMW ConnectedDrive as standard. This facility features the convenience elements of BMW Online and the safety, navigation and breakdown elements of BMW Assist. The former sees the owner able to access news and weather via the iDrive controller and display. RSS feeds can also be set up to be sent to the vehicle. BMW Assist offers an electronic safety net that can automatically dial the emergency services in the event of an accident or permit manual contact of BMW’s recovery service in the event of a breakdown.

A discreet covered button above the interior rear view mirror provides a manual activation option for the emergency call function of BMW Assist. However, BMW Assist can be activated automatically should the crash sensors deploy the airbags. Should this occur the crash data is transmitted to the emergency services detailing the exact position of the car along with its mobile phone number, chassis number, vehicle model and colour. This is analysed in a matter of seconds to provide information on the type of collision and the possible risk of injury.

Approximately 500,000 cars worldwide are currently equipped with BMW ConnectedDrive. Since the emergency call function was introduced in 1997, rapid assistance has already been provided in more than 25,000 cases.

As part of BMW Assist a BMW 7 Series owner will be able to utilise the ‘Google send to car’ function to aid navigation. This feature allows the driver or his PA to search on their desktop computer for the address of, for example, the location of a meeting. This can then be sent to the car and accepted as the new vehicle destination.

BMW ConnectedDrive is free of charge for three years when it then reverts to a one-off £120 annual charge.

BMW Remote Services

Remote locking and unlocking of the BMW 7 Series is now possible via the BMW call centre for those customers that find themselves in the unfortunate situation of misplacing their keys. To initiate this the owner has to identify his vehicle to the member of staff at the BMW call centre.

This is done through distinctive features of the car (chassis number, colour, licence number) as well as four security questions and answers which the driver himself has determined when activating the BMW Remote Services on the internet. When deciding on the questions, the customer is informed that, depending on the type of questions and their respective answers, the level of security can be enhanced. Also, if the car isn’t opened within five minutes after unlocking, it is locked again. The car can only then be started if the driver is in possession of the ignition key.

Crash protection

The BMW 7 Series has yet to undergo a EuroNCAP crash test, but BMW’s engineers are hopeful it will achieve a five star impact rating. This is because the forces in a head-on collision have been designed to be channelled to key, super strong and deformable areas of the vehicle to absorb the impact energy. As an example the 7 Series features a second bumper system on the same level as the axle to spread out impact forces. At the side, reinforced structures in the B pillar and side sills, high-strength door reinforcements and seat crossbars provide the protection. Adaptive Brake Lights help guard against rear end collisions. Following motorists are alerted to the fact that the driver of the 7 Series is braking sharply by the rear lights brightly pulsating. The hazard warning lights are also activated as a further visual alarm.

Inside, six airbags fitted as standard provide another tier of protection. To prevent whiplash injuries from rear end collisions the 7 Series is equipped with active head restraints as standard. In such a situation these move the front part of the restraint

forwards by 60mm and up by 40mm to ensure the occupants’ heads are as close to the restraint as possible. Rear ISOFIX child seat attachments are another standard feature as is the electronic pre-tensioning of the seat belts during hard braking. This system works in conjunction with the pyrotechnical belt latch tensioner that activates during an actual impact. The combination of the two systems equates to a heightened level of occupant safety.

Market and History

The outgoing BMW 7 Series was the most popular large luxury saloon in BMW’s history. Circa 50,000 cars were sold worldwide per annum. Globally the BMW 7 Series has always been vying for the position as overall class-leader and now BMW’s award-winning EfficientDynamics technologies thrust the new 7 Series to the forefront of its class. Such is its competitiveness in terms of running costs and environmental impact, that the 730d offers near identical performance figures to the latest diesel-powered Audi A6, a car that actually sits a market segment below the 7 Series*.

Who buys the BMW 7 Series?

The typical customer is a successful business customer or a professional driver. The former are typically aged between 45 years old and 60 years old and are either in senior management or directors of a company. Professional drivers as a rule tend to be a wider age band and opt for the 730d model on account of its blend of economy and performance.

In both cases though the car they drive is a symbol of personal success and social status, while also being a practical business tool. These purchasers expect the utmost in terms of quality, technical standards and service. They appreciate comfort, supreme handling, and safety features.

Tim Abbott, Sales Director for BMW UK, said: “We expect in excess of 2,000 customers a year will buy a new Seven in the UK and they will have their decision justified by some of the best residual values and running costs for any large premium car. At a time when everyone is conscious of their financial commitments, the new BMW 7 Series presents itself as the best decision for the heart and the wallet.”

*The BMW 730d records a combined consumption figure of 39.2mpg and CO2 emissions of 192g/km. An Audi A6 2.7-litre TDi records figures of 39.8mpg and 189g/km respectively.

The BMW Financial Services way to 7 Series ownership

BMW Financial Services is able to offer a different way into BMW 7 Series ownership via a contract hire agreement.

History

Historically, the BMW 730d has accounted for the largest volume of 7 Series sales. In 2007 this was 85 per cent of sales and in a full year the new car is expected to remain at a similar level.

The very first 7 Series, the E23, appeared in 1977 and established BMW as more than just a maker of smaller sports saloons and coupés. Built between 1977 and 1986 the car featured the world’s first incarnation of Digital Motor Electronics and anti-lock braking systems (ABS).

The second generation E32 7 Series introduced the first 12-cylinder engine into the model range – the first time a 12-cylinder engine had appeared in a German car since the 1930s. Remembered by many for being operated by remote control and flying through the air in the James Bond movie Tomorrow Never Dies, the E38 was the third generation 7 Series. It was a popular one too, outselling the S-Class on a global level between 1996 to 1998. In 1996 the first ever diesel engine appeared in a 7 Series. The 725tds with its 143bhp, six-cylinder 2,498cc engine was subsequently joined by a 730d in 1998.

This model was replaced by the E65/E66 7 Series which was introduced in 2001 and stunned visitors at the Frankfurt Motor Show. With its contemporary styling and use of advanced technologies such as iDrive, BMW set the tone for the next generation of large luxury saloon cars. The car received engine upgrades and a mild design refresh in 2005. The launch of the latest, fifth generation F01/F02 7 Series moves the game on in a similar giant leap with its host of world firsts combined with unrivalled driving dynamics.

Design

The BMW 7 Series is sporting elegance personified. The mix of elegant long lines running the length of the car combined with the short overhang at the front, a glasshouse further to the rear and a low roofline adds a sporting flair.

At the front, the largest kidney grilles ever to grace a BMW add a strong visual presence to the car while also hinting at its performance potential. The wide air intake on the lower part of the bumper extends nearly the entire width of the vehicle and while serving a practical engineering purpose also creates a bold, wide face for the

7 Series

Dual corona ring headlights, seen on every modern BMW, have an additional touch that sets them apart from what has appeared previously. A light bar sits like an eyelid over the headlight and offers an additional shaft of light, while the direction indicators feature eight LED units arranged in two upright rows next to the headlight beams. This is partly a design signature but also to provide greater visual awareness to other drivers.

At the side, six optional alloy wheels up to 20-inches in diameter can be specified in addition to the standard fit 18-inch light alloy wheels. The standard wheelbase car measuring 3,070mm or the long wheelbase car at 3,210mm provide subtly different profiles on account of the extra rear legroom one car offers over the other. All models have the customary Hofmeister kink on the C pillar, but this time around the designers have incorporated a shadow kink in the bodywork behind the original one to underscore the significance of this iconic design trait.

At the rear, the look changes depending on engine specified. The 730d features a twin exhaust pipe to the left, the 740i has an exhaust pipe at either side of the rear, while the 750i has a brace of quadrilateral exhaust pipes slotted either side of the lower valance. The rear light cluster incorporates LED lights for greater clarity.

The BMW 7 Series is available in nine exterior colours: Black Sapphire, Space Grey, Titanium Silver, Cashmere Silver, Mineral White, Sophisto Grey, Imperial Blue, Jet Black and Alpine White. Sophisto Grey and Imperial Blue are xirallic paints that come with an extra layer of finish for added shine.

Interior

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-inch screen, owners will be able to programme frequently selected radio stations or navigation destinations on favourite buttons located on the centre console. For the first time on a BMW the instrument cluster comprises a high-resolution colour display with Black Panel technology. This new style of display makes for greater character clarity and, when not in use, forms a smooth, homogenous black surface that gives the interior an added level of modern elegance.

The 7 Series is the first BMW to enable a customer to upload their favourite music to be stored on the vehicle courtesy of 12Gb of memory on the 80Gb hard drive being set aside for entertainment. In excess of 100 albums can be saved in this way for the driver’s enjoyment. It is also the first car in the world to be offered with full internet access on the dashboard display. It is now possible to send and receive e-mails in the car.

Data is transferred to the car using EDGE technology (Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution) which is three to four times faster than the GPRS wireless standard. A special BMW server ensures rapid transmission to the car of the selected internet pages and their optimised display on the monitor. The server optimises the display of Flash animations and other applets with extremely large data volumes that could potentially slow down the high-speed transfer rates. In this way BMW ConnectedDrive guarantees enhanced data transfer to allow effortless in-car surfing.

Initially full internet connectivity is only being offered in Germany, but the UK is expected to follow in due course.

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 twelve massage units and six rotating elements gently knead the occupant’s upper body.

The interior of the BMW 7 Series can be specified with a choice of four interior trims and eight upholsteries.

Q&A

The following is a Q&A with David Tuckett, the BMW 7 Series Product Manager. The aim of the Q&A is provide you with answers to questions that might not have already been covered and for quotes to be used in your articles.

Does the world really need a car such as the BMW 7 Series nowadays?

Yes we do and the demand proves this. With annual sales in a full year predicted to be approximately 2,300, the 7 Series doesn’t sell in big numbers but it is still an important car for us. The type of buyer is predominately a business user such as a senior manager or professional driver. Such a core customer base does not go away so the 7 Series is still very relevant. What we are doing with EfficientDynamics just makes it more realistic in the current climate.

Why is the iDrive controller now surrounded by so many buttons? You previously said iDrive did away with the need for buttons, but you’ve slowly reintroduced them.

All products evolve over time. The concept of iDrive was always correct and our belief has been borne out in the number of other manufacturers who have copied us. The buttons around the controller have only been introduced as short-cut options.

Why doesn’t BMW iDrive come with a touchscreen?

BMW has looked at this option, but, in our opinion, it is not the best solution. Not only would it be more distracting to you than the controller with buttons that we now have, but touch screen performance deteriorates over time.

BMW has announced a Hybrid 7 Series. When does this arrive in the UK?

The first BMW hybrid will go on sale in 2009 in left-hand-drive markets using the X6 as its base. The BMW 7 Series could be a model where, based on its size and weight, some more additional fuel savings could be achieved by means of hybrid compared to smaller models, but there has been no firm decision on this.

Will there be a BMW 760i and 760Li or is the 750i and 750Li enough?

The new BMW 750i with its twin-turbocharged V8 engine comes with a power output comparable to the existing BMW 760i with a V12. That said an even greater flagship is possible.

In what way does your Integral Active Steering differ from the rear-wheel steering in the Renault Laguna or the Nissan Infiniti FX 50 S?

We’d argue our system is superior because it offers a unique configuration of front active steering combined with the rear axle steering to provide the best handling.

Will there be an armoured version of the new BMW 7 Series?

We are already working on an armoured version.


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