After a series of online leaks, the sixth-generation BMW 7 Series has been unveiled and detailed.
As before, the new 7 Series will be available in both standard and long wheelbase formats. The regular car measures 5098mm from nose to tail, is 1467mm tall and rides on a 3070mm wheelbase, while the LWB version is 5238mm long, 1479mm tall and has a 3210mm wheelbase. Both variants measure 1902mm wide.
When it goes on sale in Europe, the new 7 Series will be available with three different engines delivering power to either the rear wheels or all four. There will also be a plug-in hybrid model for the first time.
The 740i and 740Li are powered by an all-new 3.0-litre turbocharged inline-six with 240kW of power and 450Nm of torque. Next up is the 750i xDrive and 750Li xDrive, which both feature a heavily revised 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 producing 330kW of power and 650Nm of torque.
On the diesel side of the ledger, a 195kW/620Nm 3.0-litre turbocharged straight-six can be found under the bonnet of the 730d, 730Ld, 730d xDrive and 730Ld xDrive models.
All drivetrain variations are fitted exclusively with an eight-speed automatic transmission, which can adjust its shifting pattern based on data from the satellite navigation system. The new model also features brake energy regeneration, automatic engine start/stop, and engine decoupling for downhill coasting.
The new plug-in hybrid variant will be badged as either the 730e, 730Le or 730Le xDrive, and features a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine coupled to an electric motor that’s built into the eight-speed auto. Working in tandem, the two motors produce a maximum of 240kW of power.
Fuel economy is rated 2.1L/100km under the EU test cycle. With a fully charged lithium-ion battery pack, the plug-in hybrid is capable of speeds up to 120km/h and a range of 40km in EV mode.
Under its evolutionary styling, the latest-generation 7 Series hides a body made with a mix of carbonfibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP), high-strength steel and aluminium. In some variants, BMW claims a weight saving of 130 kilograms over the outgoing car.
As one might reasonably expect, the new 7 Series is loaded to the gills with new technology.
Up front, the latest 7 Series has standard full LED headlights. Laserlight units and automatic high beam operation are optional. The company’s trademark double kidney grille can be fitted with active flaps that close off the grille at low speeds or when the engine is warming up.
On the inside, there’s a new iDrive system on top-spec cars that can be controlled through either the now traditional rotary dial, or the new touchscreen display and gesture control system. The standard USB port and Bluetooth system are joined by an optional cordless inductive charging pad for smartphones.
Buyers can elect to fit their new 7 Series with four-zone climate control, rear seat entertainment and fitness systems, adjustable ambient lighting, a 7-inch Touch Command tablet that can be used to control many of the car’s features from either its resting place in the rear armrest or anywhere else within the vehicle, and rear pews that can recline up to 42.5 degrees and slide forward by up to 90mm.
Other options include the Sky Lounge Panorama glass roof that not only allows passengers to enjoy sunlight during the day but also has built-in LEDs to simulate a starlit sky, and a Bowers & Wilkins Diamond surround sound system that’s equipped with a 10-channel amplifier, 16 speakers and total output of 1400W.
There’s also remote control parking that allows the driver to stand outside the 7 Series as it semi-autonomously steers itself into a parking spot. From his or her vantage point outside the car, the driver can, via the keyfob, bring the process to a complete stop if required.
Self-levelling air suspension for both the front and rear axles is fitted as standard, as is electric power steering and dynamic damper control with three driver selectable models (Comfort, Comfort+ and Sport). 17- and 18-inch alloy wheels are standard, but buyers can specify rims as large as 21-inch.
As part of the Executive Drive Pro package, the 7 Series is fitted with automatic electro-mechanical roll stabilisation and anticipatory chassis control, which links together driving style analysis, navigation data and readings from the forward-facing stereo camera.
Four-wheel steering is available across the range, including on all-wheel drive models for the first time.
Update: The 2016 BMW 7 Series will arrive in Australia somewhere between October and December of 2015.