Drivers can pedal the new BMW 7 Series to 100km/h in 4.4 seconds then get out of the big limousine and watch it steer itself into a parking spot.
In the latest round of the German flagship sedan war, the sixth-generation 7 Series fires shots back at the S-Class it came under heavy attack from last year.
For the first time BMW has pinched technology from its ‘i’ division, both for the carbonfibre reinforced-plastic (CFRP) passenger cell and electric drive components.
Weight falls by up to 130kg so the 740i rear-driver now weighs 1725kg – much less than you’d expect from a 5.1-metre-long limo, while the 5.24m long wheelbase version stacks on another 45kg.
The 3.0-litre turbo six makes 240kW between 5500-6500rpm and 450Nm over a broader-than-outback-skyline 1380-5500rpm. Thank the weight loss program for the 5.5-second 0-100km/h and 6.8L/100km claims.
That said, the new 740e takes just a tenth longer to get to the same performance standard, its combination of 2.0-litre turbo four, electric motor nestled within the eight-speed automatic and batteries under the rear seat (note: not taking up boot space) delivering 2.1L/100km. The plug-in 7 Series will also go 40km on silent running at up to 120km/h.
Straight-line enthusiasts will want the 750i, which now only comes in xDrive – marking the first time an all-wheel drive 7 Series could come to Australia (though the lineup is TBC ahead of a fourth quarter local arrival).
Its overhauled 4.4-litre turbo V8 pumps out 330kW (at 5500-6000rpm) and 650Nm (at 1800-4800rpm), allowing the 1870kg limo to do a 4.4sec 0-100km/h.
That is a match for our rear-drive-only Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG, by the way, which has 900Nm from its 5.5-litre, with the V12-engined 760iL yet to come.
For those who want to be more Prius-like with their limo, the 195kW/620Nm 3.0-litre turbo-diesel 730d still does 100km/h in 6.1sec while sipping 4.5L/100km combined, almost half that of the V8 (8.3L/100km).
All models now come standard with five-link aluminium air suspension, while four-wheel steering can operate even on xDrive models for the first time.
An Executive Drive Pro option now utilises electro-mechanical operated active anti-roll bars to keep the big girl sitting flat in the corners.
The system has a “data-based predictive function” that uses sat-nav, forward stereo camera and info on your driving style to prepare its suspension for the road ahead before it arrives (if you choose the new Adaptive mode, added to the usual EcoPro, Comfort and Sport).
Likewise, nav info and speed limit detection works on the adaptive cruise control to set and forget, while cruise can become semi-automated in a traffic jam.
Thanks to a new BMW key with a screen on it, you can literally jump out of your car and watch it park by pressing forward and back on the remote – a world first.
Speaking of screens, inside boasts an iDrive monitor that is touchscreen for the first time and includes gesture control functions for turning the volume up or down and answering a call, for example. Stay inside while parking and the around view monitor offers a new 3D and panoramic side view of the car.
There is also inductive mobile phone charging, matrix laserlights that can double the standard LED beam to 600 metres, a panoramic roof that uses LEDs to form stars at night, and an Executive Lounge option; it reclines the rear pews by 42.5 degrees, and can perform a ‘vitality’ massage that promotes a “active physical exercise”.
Let the trickle down of technology begin. In the meantime BMW Australia is deciding which models to bring here by October-December this year.
It isn’t sure on all-wheel drive yet, but xDrive is the only option if the 750i is to appear. The local arm wants all the technology, too, though it is still seeing what may work for Australia. The Mercedes-Benz S-Class is on notice.