There is no question that the 2002–2008 BMW 7-series, in all of its iterations, was a supremely capable luxury sedan with a pretty spectacular list of capabilities. Superlative as it was, however, it was a lightning rod for criticism involving everything from its bloated styling to its complex iDrive interface. Furthermore, the competition has since matched—if not surpassed—the Seven in many dynamic respects.
Well, we just got our paws on the first official photos and info about the all-new, fifth-generation BMW 7-series. And while it probably won’t be the game-changer the last one was, it’s got quite a serve.
The Sexiest Seven Ever?
For starters, it’s vastly better looking. At 199.7 inches, it is now 1.3 inches longer than before and just as wide; height is down a half-inch. The subtle redesign does wonders to mask the new Seven’s enormity—something the previous model, with its slab sides and blunt fascias, never did. Rather, with its lower nose and tidier tush, the ’09 model’s overall appearance is more lithe, less like a land whale, and more befitting a BMW flagship.
Particularly in its tall, sculpted bodysides, flat hood, and fast windshield, the Seven exhibits a lot of influence from the scrumptious Gran Turismo, the four-door coupe based on the Concept CS that debuted at the 2007 Shanghai auto show. The Seven’s signature kidney grille dips down just as low, visually reducing the front bumper mass, and is flanked by much cleaner headlamp assemblies with edgy illuminated brows (though we’re not really sure what’s going on with the lower air intake). Better yet, the Bangle butt—the bustle-back trunk further disfigured by an ill-placed cut-line—has been banished. It’ll be missed. Not.
750i And 750Li For U.S., To Start
The new Seven will be introduced initially in 750i and 750Li guise, powered by the same superstar twin-turbo direct-injection 4.4-liter V-8 found that provides serious catapulsion for the X6 xDrive50i, thanks to its 400 horsepower (between 5500 and 6400 rpm) and 450 lb-ft of torque, all of which is available between 1750 and 4500 revs. That’s 40 more horses and a fat 90 more lb-ft of torque than the 4.8-liter V-8 in the current 750i and 750Li, and just 38 hp shy and six lb-ft more than today’s V-12-powered 760Li. BMW claims a 0-to-62-mph time of just 5.2 seconds (and BMW is usually conservative with its estimates) for the new 750i. That’s what we call progress.
Other markets will get 740i and Li models, powered by a 322-hp/332 lb-ft version of BMW’s deified twin-turbocharged inline-6, and 735d models get BMW’s equally splendid turbo-diesel six that makes 241 hp and 398 lb-ft of torque. All engines come paired with a six-speed automatic transmission and, at this point anyway, rear-wheel drive. Given the state of the market, we wouldn’t be surprised to see 740 models make it stateside in coming years. In any case, BMW promises that the 750 will have “class-leading” fuel economy, though we’ll have to wait for official EPA numbers to judge.
New Suspension, Rear-Wheel Steering, And A Track (!) Mode