BMW 7-series interior scooped (2008)

Published: 03 April 2008

BMW’s big 7-series has been scooped by CAR Online, and we’ve got the first pictures of the interior. Our photographer has also taken the best shots yet of the exterior as the 7-series’ disguise is stripped away ahead of the car’s debut at this autumn’s 2008 Paris Motor Show. Visible in our pictures are production-spec rear lights, bonnet and front spoiler, and an interior that has gone conservative.

BMW 7-series: the interior

After the current generation 7-series shocked traditional buyers with its looks, iDrive and a column-mounted gearstick, BMW has had a change of heart with the next-gen limo.

Rather than adopting a Mercedes S-class style digital screen the 7-series keeps analogue dials. And the gearstick returns to the transmission tunnel. It’s the same joystick design used in the 5, 6, X5 and X6.

Sitting next to the gearstick will be the iDrive controller: ignore the fake disguise on our spy shots. The rotary dial controls the majority of the Seven’s functions, which are displayed on the large screen integrated into the dashboard. The iDrive system will be simplified to keep big bankers happy, though the multi-functional steering wheel looks like it will make up for that. Note the multitude of stickers telling the engineers what each button does.

And while BMW is making sure that the 7-series’ exterior isn’t merely an enlarged version of the Five, the interior appears to be just that. Air vents sit below the LCD screen, and below them will be air-con controls and programmable shortcut buttons for the infamous iDrive.

Come back to CAR Online on Sunday 6 April 2008 for the first drive of the BMW X6

Click ‘Next’ to read the rest of our story on the new BMW 7-series

BMW 7-series: the looks

CAR’s exclusive photos show the 7-series with production-spec front bumpers, and we can glimpse the large kidney grille air intakes through the disguise. At the rear the big limo keeps the current car’s raised bootlid, and we can now see the production light clusters for the first time.

The long-wheelbase car we’ve spied will offer two enormous rear armchairs and iDrive for the rear passengers. It’s 140mm longer than the standard car and will also form the basis of Rolls-Royce’s new ‘baby’ limo.

BMW 7-series: the engines

The Bavarian manufacturer will of course offer petrol and diesel engines, but almost all of them will be turbocharged to lower weight, decrease emissions, improve fuel consumption and raise power and torque. The engine line-up is expected to be as follows:

Diesel:

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

Petrol:

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

It makes no sense for BMW to offer naturally aspirated petrol V8s, or a diesel V8, and a 6.0-litre V12 petrol may only survive thanks to the Rolls-Royce connection. The current car’s 445bhp and 442lb ft makes little sense when compared with BMW’s new forced-induction V8, where the twin turbochargers are mounted in the V. The transmission for all cars will be a new ZF-sourced eight-speed auto.

The 7-series will also come with four-wheel air suspension, adjustable anti-roll bars, and four-wheel drive will be an option. Also expect night vision and a head-up display.

Come back to CAR Online on Sunday 6 April 2008 for the first drive of the BMW X6

Click ‘Next’ to read the rest of our story on the new BMW 7-series

BMW 7-series: the hybrid and green technology

Jointly developed with Mercedes, Chrysler and GM, BMW will offer a two-mode hybrid option on the 7-series. The system can be mated to either a petrol or diesel engine, but so far BMW has only made noise about the former.

The hybrid system will also offer true regenerative braking, rather than the Regenerative Braking system on BMW’s current Efficient Dynamics models. On them it is merely a system that only charges the alternator under braking and not acceleration.

BMW is however expected to have readied the Efficient Dynamics package for use on the 7-series: so far it has been limited to four-cylinder cars. That means the 7-series will have stop-start technology, the intelligent alternator control and active aero that blanks off the radiator grille when the engine is cold. Expect prices to start at £55,000 when the car goes on sale in the UK in spring 2009.

Come back to CAR Online on Sunday 6 April 2008 for the first drive of the BMW X6

By Ben Pulman

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

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