It mightn’t be everyone’s plate of bratwurst, but the seventh-generation BMW 7 Series – as well as the all-electric i7 – should be easy to find in the car park.
BMW’s new flagship sedan range will become available in major overseas markets from November 2022, and BMW Australia has confirmed customer deliveries of the local range – consisting of the 740i and i7 xDrive60 – will begin in the fourth quarter of 2022.
Local pricing and specifications will be released closer to launch.
As we’ve seen in earlier leaks and teasers, the front end of the new 7 Series is dominated by a humungous double-kidney grille.
This is flanked by a split headlight setup, which features adaptive LED technology as standard in the disguised main- and high-beam section.
The upper pod is optionally available with Swarovski crystal internals, and can be paired with an illuminated grille.
The 7’s slab-sided look is described as “monolithic” by the manufacturer, and has an angular interpretation of the company’s Hofmeister kink.
With nary a sign of the infamous Bangle-butt, the rear of the new 7 Series is likely its least controversial element. Two-tone paint is available, and blue highlights are used to differentiate the i7 from the rest of the lineup.
Wheel sizes range from 19 inches through to 22-inch rims when you dip into the M catalogue, which also includes more aggressively styled bumpers, better brakes and stickier rubber.
At launch BMW will offer four drivetrains (three mild hybrid petrol engines and one pure electric variant) in the new 7 Series, although availability will vary from market to market.
In Australia, for example, the redesigned flagship will be offered at launch only in 740i and i7 xDrive60 variants.
Soon after the 7 Series goes on sale in Europe in i7 trim only, the company will add a turbo-diesel mild hybrid to the range. Starting in 2023 plug-in hybrid models with a 3.0-litre straight-six, including the M760e xDrive variant pictured here, will be added to the drivetrain roster.
A range-topping i7 M70 xDrive will also join the lineup at some point.
|735i||740i||760i xDrive||i7 xDrive60|
|Drivetrain||3.0-litre turbo I6||3.0-litre turbo I6||4.4-litre turbo V8||Two electric motors|
|Transmission||8-speed auto||8-speed auto||8-speed auto||Single speed|
|Battery||48V mild hybrid||48V mild hybrid||48V mild hybrid||102kWh lithium-ion|
|EV range (WLTP)||–||–||–||590-625km|
Although the i7 xDrive60 and 760i xDrive have almost identical outputs, the i7’s straight-line performance is brought down by its weight. With an unladen weight of 2715kg, it’s 340kg heavier than its V8 sibling.
Much of the i7 xDrive60’s extra mass comes from its 102kWh lithium-ion battery pack. It supports 11kWh AC charging, and 195kW DC fast charging. With the latter the i7 can be topped up to 80 per cent capacity in 34 minutes.
As with the rest of BMW’s electric line-up in Australia, the i7 will be offered with a complimentary five-year subscription to the Chargefox charging network.
Boot space is up across the board, but varies depending on the drivetrain type: mild hybrid cars have 540L, plug-in hybrids 525L, and the i7 makes do with 500L.
Unlike previous iterations, the new seventh-generation 7 Series is only available with one wheelbase option.
Measuring 5391mm long, 1950mm wide, 1544mm tall, and riding on a 3215mm wheelbase the new 7 Series is a big beast.
Compared to the outgoing model the new range-topping sedan is 123mm longer, 48mm wider, 65mm taller, and has a 5mm longer wheelbase.
As with other recent new models and refreshes from BMW, the i7 and 7 Series features a Curved Display panel containing a 12.3-inch instrumentation display and a 14.9-inch infotainment touchscreen.
The BMW Operating System 8 infotainment setup will support YouTube video playback on the main display from 2023, and other streaming services will be added in time.
Standard fittings include an 18-speaker 655W Bowers & Wilkins audio system, a new flat-bottom two-spoke steering wheel, wider front seats, and Veganza fake leather upholstery.
Among the many options are a theatre-like rear screen setup with a 31.3-inch 8K touchscreen display and built-in Amazon Fire TV support, a 36-speaker 1965W “4D” Bowers & Wilkins sound system with exciters built into the front and rear head rests, and 5.5-inch infotainment touchscreen controller displays built into the rear door cards.
Other available features include automatic doors, a panoramic glass roof with backlit LED lighting threads, rear-wheel steering, active roll stabilisation, and an electronically retractable tow hitch.
With its cameras, radar, ultrasonic sensors, and 5G cloud connectivity, BMW says the 7 Series will eventually support Level 3 autonomous driving.
For now, the 7 Series is able to automatically react to oncoming traffic, and prevent the doors from opening if it detects a cyclist.
With the Driving Assistant Professional package, the 7 Series can handle temporarily narrowed roads and bring itself to a stop when it detects a red light, but will ask for confirmation at complex intersections.
In North America the 7 Series is capable of hands-free driving at speeds up to 130km/h (81mph) on divided highways.
The built-in Drive Recorder is able to store up to 60 seconds of footage from a variety of camera angles for later use. It will also automatically keep 30 seconds of video either side of an accident.
Automated parking is once again available, but the system is now able to recognise curbs and space markings in addition to other vehicles.
From 2023 drivers will be able to step out of their vehicle and control a parking procedure from their smartphone.
MORE: Everything BMW 7 Series