BMW 7-series (2009) first pictures

Published: 05 July 2008

This is BMW’s fifth-generation 7-series, and despite looks inspired by the Concept CS, if we’re honest the new car doesn’t look much different from the old car. Worry not though, as there are plenty of technical highlights to surprise and delight. Rear-wheel steer, Efficient Dynamics technology, night-vision, unrestricted internet access, a revised iDrive system and an all-new 3.0-litre diesel engine stand out.

Looks first please. Tell me about the design of the new BMW 7-series.

Longer and lower than the current car, the new BMW 7-series features flatter surfaces and tighter curves that help to disguise its bulk. And while that chrome side strake might look odd, it does break up the long flank of this Bavarian limo.

The obvious new detail is the extra large kidney grille, which BMW says emphasizes the ‘sheer power and width of the car’. Within that new front nsnout you’ll find the gizmos for the radar-guided cruise control that can brake the car to a stop, and then allow it to set off again. If you spec Side View the front bumper also houses two cameras that help you nose out of blind junctions.

Click 'Next' below to read more about the new BMW 7-series

Click here to see BMW video footage of the new BMW 7-series

This new engine?

From launch there will be three engines, including an all-new diesel, a revised twin-turbo 3.0-litre petrol and the forced-induction V8 from the X6. The X6 will also donate its new hybrid system to the 7-series, with a launch expected by the end of the decade. The engine line-up is as follows:

Diesel
730d – 3.0-litre straight six, single turbo, 241bhp and 398lb ft

Petrol
740i – 3.0-litre straight six, twin-turbo, 322bhp and 332lb ft
750i – 4.4-litre V8, twin-turbo, 402bhp and 442lb ft

A revised six-speed automatic gearbox is standard and BMW’s new Dynamic Driving Control unit allows you to modulate the dampers, throttle response, steering and gearshift settings via three modes.

Click 'Next' below to read more about the new BMW 7-series

Click here to see BMW video footage of the new BMW 7-series

What other technical highlights are there?

To further enhance the ‘Ultimate Driving Machine’ tag the new 7-series can come with Integral Active Steering which means a variable rack up front and rear wheels that can turn up to three degrees.

Efficient Dynamics technology is also standard but not as extensive as we’d hoped. There’s Brake Energy Regeneration in the shape of a decoupling alternator, while the 740i and 730d feature active aerodynamics. Unfortunately there’s no stop-start but BMW is making lots of noise about its extensive use of aluminum. The lightweight metal features in the suspension while the roof, doors, bonnet and side panels are also made from the stuff.

Click 'Next' below to read more about the new BMW 7-series

Click here to see BMW video footage of the new BMW 7-series

I know iDrive still features inside, but what else?

After the radical departure that the last Seven signified for BMW, the new car is fairly conservative although the cabin becomes driver-orientated once more.

There’s a new iDrive system with programmable favourite buttons and a 10.2-inch screen. There’s now the option of unrestricted access to the world wide web, which conversely means that you can access the air-con controls of your Seven via your mobile phone.

The dial controlling iDrive sits on one side of the joystick gearshift, which returns after the current car’s column-mounted shifter. On the other side of the gearstick are the buttons for the Dynamic Driving Control unit.

Other tech highlights include a head-up display, a lane departure warning system and a night vision camera that can detect individual people. There’s also a speed limit display that incorporates a camera mounted in the rear-view mirror. It monitors road signs so it can make sure it displays the correct speed limit, even if you’re on a road with variable limits.

To keep rear passengers happy there’s a four-zone climate control system, and an extra 140mm between the wheels if you spec the long-wheelbase option.

The new BMW 7-series will debut at the Paris motor show this autumn with sales starting shortly afterward.

What do you think of the new BMW7-series? Click 'Add your comment below and have your say

Click here to see BMW video footage of the new BMW 7-series

I know iDrive still features inside, but what else?

After the radical departure that the last Seven signified for BMW, the new car is fairly conservative although the cabin becomes driver-orientated once more.

There’s a new iDrive system with programmable favourite buttons and a 10.2-inch screen. There’s now the option of unrestricted access to the world wide web, which conversely means that you can access the air-con controls of your Seven via your mobile phone.

The dial controlling iDrive sits on one side of the joystick gearshift, which returns after the current car’s column-mounted shifter. On the other side of the gearstick are the buttons for the Dynamic Driving Control unit.

Other tech highlights include a head-up display, a lane departure warning system and a night vision camera that can detect individual people. There’s also a speed limit display that incorporates a camera mounted in the rear-view mirror. It monitors road signs so it can make sure it displays the correct speed limit, even if you’re on a road with variable limits.

To keep rear passengers happy there’s a four-zone climate control system, and an extra 140mm between the wheels if you spec the long-wheelbase option.

The new BMW 7-series will debut at the Paris motor show this autumn with sales starting shortly afterward.

What do you think of the new BMW7-series? Click 'Add your comment below and have your say

Click here to see BMW video footage of the new BMW 7-series

By Ben Pulman

CAR's editor-at-large, co-ordinator, tallboy

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