BMW has unveiled the 2019 version of its flagship sedan, the 7 Series, and given it a bold, new look as part of an extensive mid-life facelift for the three-year-old luxury sedan.
The facelifted 7 Series reflects the shift brought to upmarket BMW models by a new brand strategy announced by chairman Harald Krüger in 2017, with a greater emphasis on interior luxury and the move to a more formal design language.
As with its predecessor, the 2019 7 Series is offered in standard-wheelbase and long-wheelbase guises, but both models have been extended by 22mm, taking their length to 5,120mm and 5,260mm respectively.
It is up front where the styling changes are most evident. Key among them is the adoption of a new chromed kidney grille that’s similar in size to the one seen on the recently unveiled X7 and 40 percent bigger than the 7 Series’ old grille. It extends back into the leading section of a newly contoured bonnet as well as deeper into a re-profiled front bumper, which features new chrome highlights within the lower air ducts.
As part of efforts to improve the refinement levels of Munich’s flagship sedan, it adopts side glass that is 5.1mm thicker and new front wings improve airflow and reduce buffeting at speed. Changes to the sound-deadening material in the rear wheel arches have also been made.
Additional minor visual changes continue at the rear, which receives more heavily structured OLED tail-lights with new lens graphics. They are connected by a full-width LED light band that illuminates in combination with the daytime running lights. Also evident on the freshened 7 Series are wider chromed tailpipe trims integrated into a reworked bumper.
The interior features more subtle upgrades, including improvements to the materials and new connectivity functions. An updated Parking Assistant function now has a Reversing Assistant that’s able to back up the car by up to 50m along the course it drove in on.
The 2019-model-year 7-Series continues with a range of turbocharged petrol and diesel powerplants as well a plug-in petrol-electric hybrid drivetrain in combination with either rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, depending on the chosen model.
The petrol units include a 4.4-litre V8 producing 530hp and 750Nm of torque in the 750i xDrive and 750Li xDrive. Above it is the M760Li xDrive powered by a BMW M fettled 6.6-litre V12 engine developing 585hp and a stout 849Nm of torque. This is enough to provide the 2,000kg range-topping 7-Series model with a 0-100kph time of 4.1sec and 249kph top speed.
All three diesels use the same 3.0-litre in-line six-cylinder engine, but with differing turbocharging configurations and states of tune. With a single turbocharger, it develops 264hp and 620Nm of torque in the 730d and 730Ld as well as the four-wheel drive 730d xDrive and 730Ld xDrive. With twin turbochargers, the output climbs to 320hp and 679Nm of torque in the 740d xDrive and 740Ld xDrive.
The most powerful of the new 7-series diesels is the 750d xDrive and its long-wheelbase sibling, the 750Ld xDrive. They use a quad turbocharged version of BMW’s six-cylinder engine developing 398hp and 759Nm of torque.
An updated plug-in hybrid drivetrain is also available in the rear-wheel-drive 745e and 745Le and their four-wheel-drive sibling, the 745Le xDrive. It mates a turbocharged 3.0-litre in-line six-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor to provide a total system output of 393hp and 599Nm of torque, resulting in a 0-100kph time of 5.2sec.
With a 12.0kWh lithium-ion battery, the 745e is claimed to deliver an electric range of up to 58km, endowing it with a combined cycle consumption of 134.5mpg and an average CO2 emissions of 48g/km.
The facelifted 7 Series comes as standard with adaptive suspension featuring electronically controlled dampers and air springs acting on each wheel. Buyers can specify the luxury saloon with optional rear-wheel steering for added agility.
The X7, a rival to the Range Rover that launched late last year, will rub shoulders with the 7 Series at the top of BMW’s range. The design link is likely a tactic to create familiarity between the two flagship models.
Both cars are pitched directly at high-flying luxury car buyers, of whom a large number come from China. Customers there typically prefer more aggressive car design, so this new look is possibly also evidence of a design shift to cater to tastes in the world’s biggest new car market.
The new 7 Series and the X7 are expected to launch in India this year, with the flagship SUV scheduled to arrive in September.
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