PALM SPRINGS, California, USA -- BMW is staying true to its “Power of choice” promise even for its flagship sedan.
BMW adds EV to 7 Series flagship range, keeps diesel
BMW expects China and U.S. to be the biggest markets for the luxury sedan while Europe will account for less than 10 percent of 7 Series sales.
Launch date: November-December 2022 (most powertrains; some plug-in hybrids will be added in early 2023)
Base price: 114,300 euros (Germany)
Where built: Dingolfing, Germany
Combustion competitors: Mercedes E Class, Audi A8, Volvo S90, Porsche Panamera
EV rivals: Tesla Model S, Porsche Taycan
Best fuel consumption: 1.0 to 1.1 liters per 100 km (750e xDrive plug-in hybrid)
The German automaker’s seventh-generation 7 Series will be offered with gasoline, diesel, plug-in hybrid and full-electric powertrains.
The battery-powered derivative, the i7, is the first EV included in the 7 Series model family.
BMW expects China and the U.S. to be the biggest sales markets for the 7 Series, accounting for 45 percent and 20 percent of global demand, respectively, with Europe at 9 percent.
In Europe BMW will offer the sedan with three internal combustion engine variants alongside the electric powertrain in the i7. All models will offer all-wheel drive.
Key facts and figures on each previous generation of BMW’s flagship luxury sedan.
Units built: 285,000
Notable innovation: digital engine electronics
Units built: 311,000
Notable innovation: first ever Xenon headlights
Units built: 328,000
Notable innovation: navigation system
Units built: 344,000
Notable innovation: iDrive man-machine interface
Units built: 374,000
Notable innovation: head-up display
Units built: 350,000
Notable innovation: remote parking
The entry model will be the 740d, which will be powered by a six-cylinder, 3.0-liter, 299-hp diesel. A six-cylinder, 3.0-liter gasoline plug-in hybrid will be offered with a choice of 490 hp (for the 750e) and 571 hp (for the M760e).
Since its debut in 1977, the 7 Series has accounted for nearly 2 million sales worldwide, with each generation achieving a significant technological benchmark for the company (see table, right).
Given the weight of the Chinese and U.S. markets, the new 7 Series comes in a single length, 5391 mm, similar to the long-wheelbase variant of the sedan’s predecessor.
The new-generation sedan’s special features include options such as doors that can be opened electrically using the car key or a smartphone and a 31.3-inch panoramic Theater Screen that extends down from the headliner for use by passengers in the back seat. Amazon Fire TV is built in. The touchscreen display offers 8K resolution, the highest level currently available.
Compared with the previous-generation car, which had sleeker proportions, the new 7 Series it taller, which results in dramatically improved headroom, making it easier to enter and exit the car, particularly for people using the rear seats.
Coming in 2023: Germany and China will get Level 3 automated driving and parking functions. BMW said the driving assistance will work on highways at speeds of up to 60 kph (37 mph).
Dynamic doors: The rear doors include touch commands that control the in-car entertainment system, telephone access, seat positioning and interior lights.
Social media star: The car has an interior camera that will take snapshots that can be transferred to the customer’s smartphone via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
The interior includes optional extras such as knobs that look like they are made from crystal that BMW says are very popular with customers in China.
The latest generation of the iDrive man-machine interface melds the past with the future. In addition to improved voice commands, the 14.9-inch instrument panel is now a touchscreen, but brand loyalists can still find the direct-function access buttons and the rotating knob in the center console.
For animal rights supporters, BMW has introduced a new leather-like seat cover material called Veganza that is available in four colors.
An exterior option for the car is two-tone paint, which extends the second color from the greenhouse to the hood and trunk lid.
Another option is to have an all-black front grille.While BMW declined to provide sale volume predictions for the 7 Series, it did offer a snapshot of the age and gender of its buyers in Europe, the U.S. and China.
Customers in China have the youngest average age at 38 years, while the core customers in the U.S. and Europe nearly 20 years older. Female buyers are expected to account for a quarter of U.S. sales, with Europe at 15 percent and China at 5 percent.