BMW Launches Technology-Laden 2016 7-Series Luxury Sedan To Battle Mercedes S-Class
When Mercedes-Benz unveiled the current generation S-Class two years ago, it positively blew the BMW 7-Series away with regards to luxury content overall refinement. But BMW need not worry, it knew that it had a next generation 7-Series waiting in the wings and today, the company lifted the veil on its sixth generation flagship sedan and it’s quite a technical marvel.
We’ve already talked about a few of the 7-Series’ technological advances, including its optional Display Key. This wireless key fob includes a color touch screen which allows you to take charge of quite a few in-vehicle functions. There’s also Gesture Control, which allows you to perform a number of commands from the driver’s seat by waving your hand in front of the center console.
Other advanced features include an Active Kidney Grille which can close the grille flaps when the vehicles is operating under low loads to improve aerodynamics. However, when more engine cooling is required, the flaps can open to provide a sufficient airflow to critical powertrain components. The 7-Series comes standard with a brand new air suspension with Dynamic Damper Control. An optional addition to the air suspension, however, is Active Comfort Drive with Road Preview, which is similar in concept to a feature included on the current generation S-Class. This systems uses “anticipatory classic control” to “read” the road ahead and combine it with data from the navigation system to help the vehicle’s suspension pre-adapt to dips or even potholes in the road ahead.
You’ll also find a standard 12.3-inch, configurable Dynamic Digital Instrument Cluster behind of the steering wheel which display primary instrumentation in a number of different modes:
In COMFORT mode, the instrument cluster display features a classic four-dial arrangement, with a magnifier function to highlight the current speed. When ECO PRO mode is activated, the rev counter turns into the EfficientDynamics gauge, which indicates how to maximize efficiency and how the journey is progressing. And with SPORT mode engaged, the entire speedometer is pared down to display just the essential information.
Additional features include a removable, 7-inch Touch Command Tablet, Panoramic Sky Lounge LED Roof, LED Light Carpet (!!??), BMW Night Vision, optional Bowers & Wilkins Diamond surround sound system, and the Ambient Air package which allows you to fill the cabin with programmable scents to suit your mood (another feature that is playing catch-up to the S-Class). Those scents could come in handy after that late night trip through the Taco Bell drive through in your $90,000 ultra-luxe sedan.
But this wouldn’t be a BMW without world-class powertrains, and there will be three available for the U.S. launch. The 740i is powered by a 320hp 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six, while the 750i xDrive brings a twin-turbocharged V8 with 445hp at its disposal. Both engines are paired with an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission (quite possibly the best “slushbox” in the automotive world). There’s also the 740e xDrive, which is a plug-in hybrid powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and an accompanying electric motor. The 740e xDrive can travel up to 23 miles on battery power alone and up to 75 mph in electric-only mode.
We must also add that BMW has made extensive use of carbon fiber throughout the body structure of the new 7-Series. Called the “Carbon Core”, the carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic and high-strength steel components help the 7-Series shed roughly 190 pounds compared to its predecessor.
The 740i and 750i xDrive will both be available this fall with base prices of $81,400 and $97,400 respectively.