Charl Bosch
Online Motoring Reporter
5 minute read
21 Apr 2022
10:42 am

Polarising new BMW 7 Series officially in the open

Charl Bosch

Controversy is likely to follow the 7 Series once again for its exterior styling.

The Seven has already been billed as the most controversially styled BMW ever.

After almost four years of speculative reports, numerous spy images and more recently, a pair of discreet teaser shots, BMW has officially revealed the all-new 7 Series, along with its first time all-electric equivalent, the i7.

Likely to be the biggest shift in the 7 Series’ now 45-year history, the internally designated G70 follows last week’s debut of the facelifted X7 as the second BMW to feature the brand’s new styling language comprising a split headlight design.

The talking point

A design aspect that has already been compared to the controversial overall look of the Chris Bangle-era E65 7 Series that debuted in 2001, the latest creation of BMW’s Head of Design, Domagoj Dukec, is said to represent a “bold” and “expressive” look reserved for no other BMW model.

New BMW 7 Series and i7 revealed
Rear facia a nod to the X4 in the look of the taillights

Seemingly inspired, to an extent, by the Z1, the split LEDs comprise the daytime running diodes at the top and the main beams recessed deeper into the flanks of the bumper below.

While fitted as standard with the previously optional adaptive LEDs, the biggest addition is the optional Swarovski crystals that work in conjunction with the equally new illuminated surround of the expansive kidney grilles.

New BMW 7 Series and i7 revealed
Blue detailing distinguishing the i7 from the 7 Series

Less controversial is the rear, which sports the same LED light design as the X4, a wraparound bumper and flat bootlid.

Wheel sizes range from 20 to 21-inches with the almost popular M Sport package being offered on the standard 7 Series as an option, while blue accents and lack of exhaust pipes feature on the i7.  

No more Li

Measuring 5 391 mm in overall length with its wheelbase stretching 3 215 mm, the 7 Series stands 1 544 mm tall and 1 950 mm wide, which equates to an overall length gain of 123 mm, wheelbase of five millimetres, height of 65 mm and width of 48 mm over its predecessor.

ALSO READ: Next BMW 7 Series will give M Performance the plug

For the first time since the original 7 Series, a long wheelbase Li variant won’t be offered, thus following the same approach as the Seven’s arch rival, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

Inside

Arguably more important than the exterior is the interior, which sports not only a number of feature firsts, but also a design more than likely to be adopted by upcoming models.

Aside from the usual selection of materials that range from leather and natural fibres to open-pore wood and cashmere, the curved dash from the XM Concept sits on top of the dashboard and once against consists of a 14.9-inch iDrive infotainment system and a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster arranged under a single piece of glass.

New BMW 7 Series and i7 revealed
Interior a step-up from the outgoing model.

Below, the dashboard itself has been decluttered from the myriad of buttons and switches to now feature that Munich calls the Interaction Bar that contains touch-sensitive controls for the climate control, ambient lighting, hazard lights and opening of the glove box.

Taken from the iX is the centre console that houses a pair of cupholders, the new iDrive rotary controller, drive mode buttons and the new toggle switch for the eight-speed Steptronic gearbox that replaces the traditional gear lever.

New BMW 7 Series and i7 revealed
Rear seats of the 760i xDrive

In addition to a new steering wheel, the 7 Series also gets the panoramic sky lounge roof with LEDs as standard, plus a choice of two sound systems; the standard 18-speaker, 655-watt Bowers & Wilkins Surround System and the optional Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround that boasts a in-car record 36-speakers delivering 1 965-watts.

The biggest drawing card, again unsurprisingly, is the rear where the 7 Series receives automatically opening and closing doors, a 5.5-inch display integrated into the door handles and, when combined with the latter sound system, a huge 31.8-inch drop-down screen with 4K resolution.

New BMW 7 Series and i7 revealed
Undoubted highlight of the interior is the new 31.8-inch BMW Theatre display.

Dubbed the BMW Theatre Screen, the entire setup, tuned in collaboration with Hollywood film composer Hans Zimmer, further includes a pair of wireless Bluetooth headsets, a rear window shade, 5G connectivity and seats that can recline up to 42.5-degrees for “the fully movie effect”.

Reserved for the i7 is specially tuned soundtrack, also by Zimmer, which is sound to be distinctive and changes with the various drive modes.

Hiding underneath

Underneath its exterior, the longer chassis and platform has been adapted to accommodate not only the electrical powertrain in the case of the i7, but also a 48-volt mild-hybrid system, new steering, suspension, dampers and brakes, plus the wider track and improved overall body rigidity.

Fitted with a model first near-actuator wheel slip limitation system ensures traction without there being wheel slip on mainly slippery surfaces, active roll stabilisation becomes optional on the top-spec 760i xDrive, while the adaptive two-axle air suspension is included on all models.

Standard on the mentioned 760i and the i7 is the revised Integral Active rear wheel steering system.

New BMW 7 Series and i7 revealed
5.5-inch display integrated into the rear door handles.

On the power front, the 7 Series line-up will initially consist of three models; the 740i, whose electrically assisted 3.0-litre turbo straight-six petrol produces 280kW/520Nm, and the 760i which drops the 6.6-litre bi-turbo V12 for the twin-blown 4.4-litre V8 rated at 400kW/750Nm.

As indicated by the xDrive designation, the 760i, now without the M prefix, will once again be an all-wheel-drive model with the 740i’s grunt going to the rear wheels only.

At the top of the range, the i7, known officially as the i7 xDrive 60, derives motivation from a 101.7-kWh battery pack that produces 400 kW while offering a range of 628 km.

New BMW 7 Series and i7 revealed
760i xDrive still the flagship internal combustion model, but without its V12 heart.

Top speed is limited to 250 km/h with the 0-100 km/h sprint taking 4.7 seconds.

As standard, the i7 comes with an 11 kW charger, but can be plugged-in to a fast charger of up to 195 kW, which will result in a waiting time of 34 minutes from 0-80%.

Joining at a later stage is an unspecified diesel model only destined for Europe, and the returning 735i, whose interpretation of the engine used in the 740i has been revised to 200kW/400Nm.

In South Africa soon

Going on sale in November, the 7 Series has been confirmed for South Africa, but only in 740i and i7 guises with the rest not expected. Pricing is set to be announced closer to the still outstanding launch date.