BMW 7-series (2009): new spy photos

Published: 19 May 2008

BMW is putting the finishing touches to its new 7-series limo that it will unveil in summer 2008. The main change for the fifth-generation 7-series is the newfound adoption of style over the chunky brutalism of today’s E65 model – and our latest spy photos reveal plenty about the new limo. 

Take the front end of the new BMW 7-series, for instance. There’s still a smattering of black cladding and swirly monochrome tape disguising the exact shape of the four-door in our scoop photos, but it’s plain to see the twin kidney grille is noticeably larger. The headlamps in production spec will have a pronounced eyebrow running across the top of the light unit, which is more tapered than today’s heavy-handed lamp.

Today’s Seven was the harbinger of change at BMW, as Chris Bangle unleashed the full force of his flame surfacing on Munich’s first production car in 2001. The new model heralds a return to more elegant design, according to those who’ve been given a sneak preview.

An elegant BMW 7-series?! Surely some mistake…

You can knock the looks of today’s Seven, but you can’t knock its success. It is in fact the most successful limo Munich’s ever produced, with especially strong sales in the US and Asia.

But as well as a newfound style, the new 7-series ushers in a fresh emphasis on high technology and a flurry of new engine choices.

Click ‘Next’ to read more about the new BMW 7-series

BMW 7-series: the long and the short of it

The new 7-series will again be offered in two wheelbases, with a choice of engines hooked up to BMW’s Efficient Dynamics programme to pare back fuel consumption and bolster power. These conflicting demands are enabled by stop-start systems, active aero aids to blank off radiators when not needed and intelligent alternator control. Engine choice runs thus:

730d – 3.0-litre turbo, 235bhp, 384lb ft
735d – 3.0-litre twin-turbo, 286lb ft, 427lb ft

730i – 3.0-litre, 272bhp, 236lb ft
735i – 3.0-litre twin-turbo, 306bhp, 295lb ft
750i – 4.4-litre twin turbo, 408bhp, 442lb ft

All models get the new ZF-sourced eight-speed auto, plus air suspension, adjustable anti-roll bars, and we hear that four-wheel drive will be an option for Alpine markets.

Click ‘Next’ to read about the interior of the new BMW 7-series

What about inside the new Seven?

As befits BMW’s range-topper, you can also expect a range of goodies inside the new 7-series:

• Night vision
• Head-up display
• Adaptive cruise control
• Adaptive dampers
• Screens built into headrests for rear-seat passengers

There is also new screen technology so the iDrive display doesn’t need to be so heavily cowled. With the new technology, even bright lights can’t prevent you reading.

Click here to read our scoop inside the new BMW 7-series.

Sold. When can I get my hands on a new 7-series?

UK sales are slated for spring 2009, priced from around £55,000.

By Ben Pulman

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