► New 2015 BMW 7-series unveiled
► New lightweight tech saves 130kg
► Straight sixes, V8s and a 4cyl plug-in
You're looking at the new 2015 BMW 7-series - the pinnacle of the BMW saloon range. As with arch-rival Mercedes' S-class, a new Seven arrives once a decade or so and aims to move the luxury goalposts so far that rushed execs have to sit up and take notice.
Has Munich succeeded again? Read on for our full dossier on the new G11 (regular wheelbase) and G12 (XL stretch) 7-series, with specs, photo galleries, prices and engine details.
New BMW 7-series at a glance
There's plenty of technical change under the evolutionary skin. Highlights of the new saloon include:
- Part composite construction
- Plug-in hybrid model badged 740e
- Four-wheel drive option
- Laser lighting option
- Panoramic glass roof
- Updated iDrive with gesture control
- App for remote parking from your phone
- On sale in UK in late October 2015
- Priced from £64,350
The lightweight bit
We all know the virtuous circle of dieting. Lighter cars gobble less fuel, go, steer and stop faster, and need smaller, lighter components to do so. Everyone's a winner with lighter vehicles. So BMW has applied some of the learnings from Project i, and transferred some of the carbonfibre know-how from models such as the i3 and i8 to the new 7-series.
It's a multi-matrix approach, whereby composite materials are used alongside aluminium and steel to shave up to 130kg off the kerbweight. Different materials are applied in different areas to trim bulk where there's maximum benefit, but stick with high-strength steels where torsional rigidity is a priority.
It's impressive for a car that's a touch longer and taller than before (width remains unchanged). The SWB 7-series is now 5098mm long
BMW claims it's the first luxury car in this segment to apply this multi-material mix (though we know 2016's Audi A8 rival will follow suit).
Straight sixes, V8s and a hybrid
A range of updated six- and eight-cylinder engines are available, all mated to the eight-speed Steptronic transmission. Munich's xDrive all-wheel drive system will be available on certain models, as well, depending on market.
The 740e plug-in hybrid model uses a four-cylinder petrol engine and electric motor to produce a combined 322bhp. Result? A claimed 135mpg average, CO2 emissions of just 49g/km and a pure-EV silent range of 25 miles. Key best-sellers in the UK include:
- 730d 3.0-litre straight six turbo, 261bhp and 457lb ft, 5.8sec 0-62mph, 155mph, 62.8mpg, 119g/km CO2
- 740i 3.0-litre straight six turbo, 321bhp/332lb ft, 5.5sec 0-62mph, 155mph, 42.8mpg, 154g/km CO2
- 750i 4.4-litre V8 twin-turbo, 444bhp/479lb ft, 4.4sec 0-62mph, 155mph, 34.9mpg, 189g/km CO2
Inside the new 7-series cabin
There's almost as much technical change in the cabin as there is under the skin. iDrive has been heavily overhauled, and you can expect to see many of the tricks unveiled here to trickle across the rest of the BMW range in the months and years ahead.
This is the first time the iDrive monitor has been touch-sensitive - and it closely follows the iPad generation norm. So you can swipe, pinch and touch your way around the menus.
A key change is gesture recognition, taking a leaf out of Microsoft’s XBox Connect system. So you can adjust the volume or reject a phonecall merely by gesturing at the system; a 3D sensor can read your hand signal and interpret it accordingly. You can follow pre-set gestures, or select different hand movements.
There’s more: inductive, wireless charging for phones; massaging and ventilating seats for all four passengers; rear seats with Vitality Programme which give you work-out while sitting down (are you sitting down? We do hope so); and the rear pews can extend so far forward that you’re nearly in airline style bed mode. Perfect for playing with the 7in removable tablet built into the rear passenger compartment.
Long-wheelbase Sevens can be specced with a Sky Lounge Panorama glass roof, designed to reflect LED lighting bars throughout the interior to give the impression of a starry sky at night. A touch nabbed from sister brand Rolls-Royce, perchance?
Click here for all our BMW 7-series reviews, news and scoops in one place.