PRESS RELEASE: BMW 7 SERIES (2009)
(from BMW Press Release) New milestones of automotive progress are set from time to time: Now, as the new BMW 7 Series approaches its market launch, it is that time again. As the world's most successful purveyor of premium motor vehicles, BMW now presents the 5th generation of its flagship sedan, demonstrating once again how all-encompassing luxury can be combined and harmonized with the pleasures of dynamic performance.
The new 7 Series will make its North American premiere at the Los Angeles International Autoshow in November, 2008 and is expected to be in U.S. authorized BMW centers by spring 2009.
Fifth generation of the BMW 7 Series; a completely new interpretation of style, luxury and driving pleasure. The U.S. market will receive the 750i and, with its wheelbase extended by 140 mm/5.5 in., the 750Li.
The attributes of these vehicles are expressed visually by their design, which radiates a natural presence, inherent sportiness and an elegance born of precision in concept and execution. A whole new generation of V-8 engine with direct injection and twin turbochargers expresses BMW EfficientDynamics at the highest level of performance. Weight-efficient construction and innovative chassis technology contribute to provide the platform for dynamic driving qualities that are unique in the world of luxury automobiles. New, exclusive BMW driver-assistance systems and comfort-related features further add to the truly exceptional driving and riding experience these automobiles deliver.
An unmistakable look, confident and proud in its character, expresses typical BMW sportiness in its most elegant form. Viewed from various angles, the design is composed of energetic proportions; a graceful silhouette; sculptural surfaces that embody modernism; the large, vertical, yet low-set BMW “kidney” grilles; and a rear aspect that communicates a wide stance, muscular substance and clarity of line.
Inside the new 7, the theme is consistent with the exterior: an advanced spatial concept with clear organization and delineation of driving- and comfort-oriented functions. The ambiance is luxurious, of transcendent quality and – most important of all – inviting. Gently contoured lines, high-caliber materials and an enhanced feeling of space add up to a harmonious, expansive and luxurious environment. The driver-oriented control center features Black Panel technology. A console-mounted E-Shift transmission control, new to the 7 Series, is positioned close to the new Driving Dynamics Control, the BMW iDrive controller. More functions than ever are conveniently accessible to the driver from the multi-function steering wheel.
An entirely new generation of BMW’s pioneering iDrive presents features and functions in a larger (10.2-in.), high-resolution color display. More intuitive operation is ensured by an optimized menu structure; a new controller enabling function selection and activation via turn, push and tilt motions; direct-select keys; and eight freely programmable Memory Keys. The standard GPS Navigation system is newly enhanced with topography and functionally improved; the audio system gains a hard drive.
An all-new engine powers both models in the U.S. Recently introduced in the X6, it’s a 4.4-liter, twin-turbocharged V-8 delivering 400 hp and 450lbs-ft of torque over an amazingly broad rpm range. Fuel efficiency promises to be class-leading too, though official EPA ratings are not yet available.
A 6-speed automatic transmission with optimized shifting smoothness and speed, also promotes enhanced fuel efficiency.
All-around weight-efficient construction within the BMW EfficientDynamics concept: extensive use of multi-phase and hot-rolled steels in the body/chassis’ load-bearing structures; aluminum roof, doors, hood and front fenders; aluminum front spring towers; aluminum-block engine, aluminum differential housing.
An entirely new suspension system, engineered for dynamic handling and a refined ride. The new 7 is BMW’s first passenger car (i.e. not Sports Activity Vehicle) with multi-link double-wishbone front suspension. At the rear, the new Integral V rear suspension also contributes to EfficientDynamics via extensive use of aluminum. On the 750Li, self-leveling air suspension is standard. Rack-and-pinion steering with variable ratio and hydraulic power assist continues, but with a new-type hydraulic pump that delivers assist only when called for, thereby saving fuel. Also new, and a world premiere: Integral Active Steering, which adds speed-sensitive rear-wheel steering to BMW’s proven front Active Steering system. This is included in U.S. models’ Sport Package.
The suspension system features further development of BMW’s Dynamic Damping Control. With standard Driving Dynamics Control, the driver can choose between four settings for shock-absorber firmness, transmission shift characteristics, engine-throttle response, power-steering assist: Comfort, Normal, Sport and Sport Plus. In Sport mode, the default settings can be adjusted by the driver. In Sport Plus, the traction-and-stability system Dynamic Stability Control switches to its Dynamic Traction Control setting (reduced traction intervention), which is suitable for track-style driving. Active Roll Stabilization, BMW’s system of reducing body lean in cornering, continues as part of the optional Sport Package.
An array of innovative driver-assistance options that’s unique in the luxury segment (asterisk indicates new, or new to 7 Series) Active Cruise Control with new stop-and-go capability; Lane Departure Warning*, Active Blind Spot Detection*, Head-up Display*, High Beam Assistant*, BMW Night Vision with new Pedestrian Detection, Side View* and Back-up Cameras.*
Maximum occupant protection via optimized body structure and a comprehensive range of passive safety systems, electronically controlled and coordinated according to actual impact or threatening conditions. As is customary in all current BMWs, 3-point safety belts are employed at all seating positions, the front of which are equipped with pretensioners – although, in the new 7 Series, the pretensioners use electric motors rather than pyrotechnics to pre-tension the belt an anticipation of impact. The passive safety systems of the new 7 Series are rounded out by front side and impact airbags, front/rear head protection airbags, active head restraints on the front seats and knee airbags. Via the standard BMW Assist system, automatic emergency calling is newly enhanced to include accident severity analysis.
A wide range of comfort functions and innovative entertainment features: audio amenities include new hard-drive music storage, multi-channel amplification and speaker outputs, auxiliary audio input; available 6-disc DVD changer and iPod/USB ports. Further optional or standard luxuries include 4-zone climate control with “draft-free” vents, Active Seat Ventilation, Active Comfort massaging seats, newly enhanced telematics, an innovative new moonroof concept, and a first-ever Integrated Owner’s Manual.
Luxury and dynamics harmonize as never before: The new BMW 7 Series.
The new 7 embodies luxury that inspires, driving dynamics that enthuse, and a visual presence that earns universal admiration. It is the product of a self-assured design philosophy and consistent yet ever-evolving engineering artistry. In great measure, this new sedan owes its unique, progressive character to an abundance of innovations whose purpose is to make driving a magnificent automobile – as well as riding in it – a memorable experience.
At the core of this experience are chassis engineering that sets new international standards and all-new powertrain technology. BMW, which introduced its Active Steering concept in 2004, now brings it to the 7 Series in a new, unique form: Integral Active Steering, encompassing not only the original variable-ratio front steering, but also, new rear-wheel steering. Acting as an overall system, the two capabilities deliver a new combination of handling ease, maneuverability and unrivaled stability in dynamic driving conditions: Integral Active Steering is included in the optional Sport Package.
The new 7 Series introduces Driving Dynamics Control, which enables the driver to select from four progressively sporty driving programs with the touch of a button. Driving Dynamics Control integrates Dynamic Damping Control (which has three-mode shock-absorber control) with transmission shift characteristics, engine response to the accelerator pedal, and steering assist and traction control level.
Active Roll Stabilization another BMW advance in handling and riding comfort, is yet another element of the available Sport Package: Via electro-hydraulically actuated anti-roll bars, ARS reduces body “roll” or lean in cornering to a minimum, greatly enhancing the feeling of road-hugging handling.
An all-new engine that uniquely combines Efficiency and Dynamics.
Both U.S. models will be powered by an all-new twin-turbo V-8 engine also making its debut in the X6 Sports Activity Coupe. This is a highly advanced, unique and outstanding powerplant. With 4.4 liters of displacement and direct fuel injection (BMW’s High Precision Injection), the V-8 carries its two turbochargers in the “valley” between the two cylinder banks putting its exhaust valves inboard and intake valves outboard – a highly unusual layout and a complete departure from its predecessor. This “variation from the norm” pays off: the engine develops 400 hp over a range from 5500 to 6400 rpm, and a robust 450 lb-ft. of torque over the even broader range of 1750-4500 rpm. Compared to the like-named 750i/Li predecessors’ 4.8-liter naturally aspirated V-8’s 360 hp and 360 lb-ft., the new engine represents major progress in performance; and though official EPA ratings are not yet in, it is expected to deliver class-leading fuel efficiency as well. To provide some context to this achievement: the previous 7 Series’ 6.0-liter V-12 develops 438 hp and 444 lb-ft.
Leading the way again: a new generation of iDrive.
With the new 7, BMW again assumes the role of world leader in automotive control concepts. A 2nd generation of iDrive sets new standards for ergonomics, efficiency and logical functionality with its larger, higher-definition Control Display. New, uniformly structured menus and an optimized control strategy for the display and console-mounted controller are also signature features of the new system.
Other new details include buttons for direct selection of the Radio, CD, Navigation and Telecommunications menus, grouped conveniently next to the controller. Visual assists and consistent flow in the display simplify choices within the individual menus. In the GPS Navigation section, users will benefit from map displays with new standards of size, brilliance, detail and view choice. A “map preview” function facilitates selection of the navigation destination from a list; in a new operational logic, letters of the alphabet and numerals are arranged in circular form for more intuitive input of addresses and phone numbers.
For greater driving safety: Active Blind Spot Detection and BMW Night Vision with Pedestrian Detection.
Thanks to innovative driver-assistance systems – some of them BMW-exclusive – active safety also attains new levels. The new 7 is the first in its segment to offer a Head-up Display, which projects relevant driving information onto the windshield in front of the driver. The HUD is a stand-alone option on U.S. models. Optional Adaptive Cruise Control, with new Stop-and-Go capability, assists the driver in maintaining serene progress in rapid freeway or interstate driving or on country roads; and in dense, stop-and-go traffic, can do precisely that when necessary to maintain a safe following distance.
With the new 7, BMW’s newly developed Active Blind Spot Detection makes its debut. Its function is to warn the driver – by vibration in the steering wheel plus a blinking LED on the exterior mirror – upon initiating a lane change when there is an unseen vehicle in the blind spot or when there is a vehicle –not yet in the blind spot- but is closing in at a rate that could result in a collision if the driver changed lanes. Active Blind Spot Detection will be offered together with the Lane Departure Warning, a familiar BMW option but new to the 7 Series. By alerting the driver (also, via a vibrating steering wheel) when a lane change is initiated without the turn signals, the driver is assisted in avoiding potential accidents.
Finally, the High Beam Assist, which automatically dims the headlights for oncoming traffic and returns them to high beams when the way is clear, is included with Active Blind Spot Detection and Lane Departure Warning in the optional Driver Assistance Package for U.S. models.
BMW Night Vision continues as an option in the new 7, and adds a new capability: recognizing and indicating individual pedestrians on or near the roadway.
Innovations in climate and entertainment systems – plus more space.
The new 7 delivers technological progress in climate control and entertainment systems, plus more space in the cabin to enjoy them. The standard automatic climate control provides for precise adjustment of airflow and temperature, free of drafts or unpleasant air turbulence. Newly standard is 4-zone climate control, with which rear-seat passengers can vary their climate independently on the left and right sides, just as in the front compartment.
And speaking of the rear passenger compartment, the 750Li has a 140-mm/5.5-in. longer wheelbase for greater rear leg room; this model also has more rear head room.
Sporty BMW image – in its most elegant form.
A harmonious blend of dynamic presence and elegance is the overarching theme in the new 7 Series design. A long wheelbase (in the Li, longer), long hood and short front overhang are basic attributes; a “greenhouse” set relatively rearward, a flat roofline and overall dynamic proportions say “BMW,” and at the same time “the most elegant BMW.”
At the front, headlights include BMW’s distinctive use of the “corona rings” for Daytime Running Lamps, and are accented at the top by a light band that visually unifies the traditional dual headlights on each side. The BMW “kidney grilles” – another traditional element, appearing here in new form – are notable for their boldness, verticality and low placement.
In profile, the interplay of convex and concave surfaces associated with recent BMW design appears here in extended, subtly swung contours and lines. For the first time on a 7 Series, the front side panels include a chromed “gill” that integrates the side blinker – itself a safety element – and lends character to the relatively long space between front wheelwell and windshield base. Form follows function: this proportion is a consistent attribute of BMW body design, and an outward sign of the rear-wheel drive and optimum front/rear weight balance that are BMW tenets.
The profile’s sculptural modeling makes for a graceful transition into the rear deck. Rooflines flow gracefully over the flanks all the way to the bumpers creating a sporty conclusion to this altogether graceful design. An understated chrome band connects the taillight clusters, which continue the L-shape that has become a BMW tradition. LED technology throughout makes for warm, homogeneous illumination whether tail-, brake- or turn-signal lights or even the 3rd brakelight, set into the rear window’s upper edge.
Advanced, luxurious, inviting: the interior.
Generous space – it goes almost without saying that occupants of the new 7 enjoy plenty of knee, head and elbow room in the front and rear compartments. Contemporary design – the ambiance is luxurious, high in quality and advanced in its amenities and functions. The contours, color coordination and choice of materials symbolize taste and harmony. With its center stack lightly angled toward the driver, the control center promotes the driver’s intuitive mastery of the vehicle: this is always a hallmark of BMW interior design. And yet this interior isn’t only for the driver; its concept, layout, technology and design focus equally on the driver’s needs and the passengers’ well-being.
The feeling of generous space and harmonious design is enhanced by horizontal color gradations pervading the entire cabin. High-quality materials and meticulous workmanship communicate the innate precision of these automobiles; details such as visible seams on the dash and door ledges, and double-framed central air outlets, are evidence of passionate devotion to details. The leatherette covering the main instrument-panel surfaces has been newly developed to be as close to leather as can be imagined – and yet soft Nappa leather here and on the door ledges is optionally available.
As always in BMW, the harmony of design and function is visible everywhere: for example, in the integration of door handles into the door panels’ chrome trim lines, or the door pulls as part of their contrasting trim material. Speaking of which: there are three choices of wood trim, four Nappa-leather interior color schemes, and the optional additional leather surfaces.
All these refinements and choices provide the interior counterpoint to the 12 available exterior colors, and enable customers to highlight classic elegance, sportiness or sheer luxury according to their personal tastes and preferences.
BMW 750Li: lavish space for rear-seat passengers.
If the standard-wheelbase 750i already offers generous interior space, the long-wheelbase 750Li provides truly lavish accommodations for rear-seat passengers. And in the new 7, the meaning of “L” isn’t confined to just length: rather, this model also has its own roofline This solution provides additional rear head room, as well as help maintain the dynamic proportions of the car to avoid making it look like a stretched version of the short wheel base 750i. Thus BMW’s typical “Joy of Driving” is complemented by the “Joy of Being Driven.”
And even this extra space can be further enhanced by two available options. Rear Comfort Seats only available in the Li model, includes individual left and right Comfort seats with multiple adjustments including fore-aft (70 mm/2.76-in. range), cushion and backrest angles, and head-restraint positions. Additionally, rear Comfort Seats also feature Active Ventilation and Active Comfort (“massage”) functions.
The Rear Entertainment Package adds yet another dimension to rear-seat luxury: a DVD player with color monitors integrated into the front seats’ backrests, controlled from a dedicated remote. This option is available on both 750i and 750Li.
Clear, intuitive control concept for greater driving pleasure and comfort.
Control of the many interior functions and amenities is via a freshly thought-out and executed overall concept that is clear and intuitive. To begin with the simplest aspect of this, ample storage is provided by a spacious glove compartment, bins in the door panels and pockets on the front-seat backrests. Two cupholders are on the front center console; power-seat controls are on the seats and memory controls are on the doors.
The basic concept for all controls rests upon a philosophy of a clear, functionally logical arrangement of the entire interior. Thus, driving-related functions are all on the driver’s side, comfort-related functions around the center. This principle goes for the placement of buttons, keys and levers around the cockpit, as well as, controls on the steering wheel, where those for cruise control are separated from those for the audio and phone systems.
Analogous to this “horizontal” division of functions is the arrangement of all displays in a more “vertical” separation. In the upper areas – and thus, at about the driver’s eye level – are the primary displays, such as the speedometer and tachometer. Below that are less frequently viewed instruments like the fuel and oil-temperature gauges.
At a still lower level are actual controls, optimally accessible and mostly operable without looking at them such as the turn-signal and low/high-beam/flasher stalks. Controls that need to be seen to be used are generally grouped together, for example, those for the driver-assistance functions clustered around the main lighting control: this too is highly logical, as all these support the driver’s need to perceive the vehicle’s surroundings and situations.
Everything at a glance: instrument cluster in Black Panel technology.
The new 7’s instrument cluster combines classic elements and new solutions into a complete, harmonious presentation of driving information. For the first time in a BMW, the entire cluster is a high-resolution Black Panel display, in which four classic circular instruments are most prominent; other driving-relevant displays and readouts – including GPS Navigation, vehicle-monitoring functions, upcoming service requirements and other information – also appear here in their various (and function-related) graphic forms.
In “dormant” state, this display is a mostly blank black form defined by its chrome-toned periphery and including only pointer needles, scale markings and the tachometer’s red warning zone within it. The circular instruments’ numerals, as well as, the integrated displays for current fuel economy and range on remaining fuel, are entirely electronic and not visible until a door is opened.
So it is that the advantages of mechanical and electronic displays are ideally combined – with eye-catching visual and graphic effects. As the user enters the vehicle, the circular instruments’ “chrome rings,” until now open at the bottom, close and become brighter. Once the ignition is activated (upon pressing the Start/Stop button), the numerals plus all other displays and warnings illuminate. As the engine starts, functions that have been previously activated by the driver are then revealed as well.
The instrument cluster interacts in new ways with the iDrive control display and the optional Head-up Display. According to selected function, users can call up phone numbers or radio stations via the steering-wheel controls. The cluster also augments the iDrive GPS Navigation display with a further enhanced directional arrow display, which can now direct the driver to change lanes and help the driver find the correct street at a complicated or obscured intersection. If the Head-up Display is activated, the relevant directions appear primarily there; otherwise, they appear in the instrument cluster.
Current climate-control settings are indicated in a second Black Panel display in the center stack, along with all system controls. Users need not go into iDrive for any climate settings.
E-Shift transmission selector and Dynamic Driving Control on console.
While retaining the E-Shift concept first introduced on the predecessor – no mechanical linkage from shift lever to transmission – the new 7 moves its transmission selector from steering column to center console.
Instead of moving from position to position within a “gate,” the E-Shift lever is generally “tipped” in one direction or another to change from one range to another. Park is engaged by a button atop the lever. To engage Reverse, the driver tips the lever forward; to engage Drive it is tipped rearward. From Drive, the lever does actually move to the left to engine its Sport mode; from there, the driver can execute manual shifts by tipping the lever forward for downshifts, rearward for upshifts. The lever markings are R-N-D in the right plane and M/S -/+ in the left.
Adjacent to the E-Shift lever are the Driving Dynamics Control selector (logically, on the driver’s side) and the iDrive controller. DDC provides four settings that tailor vehicle characteristics to different drivers, one driver’s different moods, driving conditions – or all of the above. The settings are Comfort, Normal, Sport and Sport Plus; the following vehicle-dynamics parameters are affected:
Shock-absorber firmness (within the Dynamic Damping Control system)
Engine throttle response
Transmission shift characteristics
Power-steering assist level
Dynamic Stability Control mode.
Clearly, the vehicle’s driving dynamics can be widely affected by these different calibrations of so many elements. In addition, via iDrive, the driver can program his or her preferences for all five parameters into the Sport setting for a personal, instantly recallable mode.
Another control in this area affects Dynamic Stability Control (BMW’s all-encompassing stability- and traction-control system) alone. A brief push on this button switches the system to Dynamic Traction Control, in which DSC’s intervention threshold is raised; one effect of this setting is improved traction in deep snow. A long push on the same button de-activates DSC altogether, though one function (antilock braking) is always active.
Like its predecessor, the new 7 has an electrohydraulic parking brake rather than the customary mechanical one; the driver sets and releases the brake with a button on the console. An Auto Hold function, which automatically holds the vehicle at a standstill and thereby eliminates “creep” when stopped in gear, is also available via an adjacent button.
iDrive, 2nd generation: more intuitive operation, expanded functions.
With iDrive, the predecessor 7 Series initiated a new direction in the control of vehicle features and functions; via a multi-menu color display and a mouse-like controller usable by driver and passenger alike, a potentially crowded landscape of buttons and knobs was supplanted by a computer-logic control path. Now, a 2nd generation of iDrive builds upon that pioneering development while making it more natural, intuitive, simpler and elegant.
An overarching attribute of iDrive was the separation of control (via the console controller) and display (the centrally placed iDrive monitor). This basic arrangement remains; the controller has been further developed and the display is larger: fully 10.2 in. vs. 8.8 in. previously.
Positioned at the same level as the instrument panel, the new control display sets higher standards for logical, readily understood menus and attractive graphics. The controller has been refined for comfortable, intuitive selection and activation of functions via standardized turn, push and tilt motions, while being augmented with more direct-selection keys.
Convincing functionality, satisfying to use: controller with direct-selection keys.
Benefiting from the newest biomechanics R&D, the state-of-the-art controller operates with tactile precision and clearly structured motions. New control elements, menu schemes and graphic representations in the control display become evident upon first use, yet, user appreciation grows over the longer term. A graphic depiction of the controller in the display itself helps orient the user to the next control step; the rotation, pressing and tipping motions generally correspond to those of a computer mouse.
Thus interpreted, rotation of the controller takes the user through menu selections; pressing it makes the choice. Tilting the controller to the left or right effects navigation through various menu levels. Via clear graphic organization in the form of stacked layers and onscreen depiction of controller movements, the user enjoys highly intuitive navigation. All menus are structured according to a consistent scheme, so that one is almost immediately at ease; menus are broad so that the user can view relatively numerous options without switching to another level. Also, functions are arranged so that in longer-term use the most important options are reached more rapidly.
An additional new refinement is four direct-select keys placed directly next to the controller, for the most frequently used menus. These allow quick selection of CD, radio, phone and navigation menus, and are augmented by three further keys of general utility: one takes the user directly to the start menu (MENU), one to the most recently active menu (BACK), and the third (OPTION) presents various options within the current area. As a result, searches are likely to be shorter, or unnecessary.
Familiar and proven, yet now more useful: Programmable Memory Keys.
An iDrive enhancement recently introduced in other BMW models now comes to the 7 and represents a further user convenience: Programmable Memory Keys. Lined up above the audio controls, these eight keys allow the user to store favorite or most frequently used functions (radio stations, phone numbers, navigation destinations as an example) on various keys and recall them instantly. The stored functions can be as specific and detailed as a navigation map in the preferred scale, an audio balance setting or a selected chapter in the Integrated Owner’s Manual (about which more later). And because the keys are sensitive not just to being pressed, but also to being merely touched by the user’s finger, one can get the stored function shown on the control display by lightly touching the key. If it’s the right one, the user need only press the key and it’s there, ready to use.
Large-format display, preview maps and full-screen images.
With its 10.2-in. monitor, the new iDrive system doesn’t just outdo all other graphic displays in automobiledom to date; its 1280 x 480-pixel resolution means remarkably true-to-life images. It’s a system appropriate to the vehicle it’s in, achieved via up-to-date hard- and software. White-on-black menu lists; effective symbols and icons; contemporary graphics; and clear, consistent color-coding are among the elements that enhance, not only function, but also esthetics.
Menu structures, too, make finding desired functions easier. In the Start Menu, all functional areas served by iDrive are listed. Selecting a given item leads to its menu layer, where the options of that level are also listed. This consistency in navigation assists in orienting the user, as does the “stacking” of menu layers in the display. Visual assists further contribute to clarity. And if the user gets to a place where he or she didn’t mean to be, the Back key usually reverses the error.
User-friendlier GPS Navigation.
This overall refinement of functionality means simpler control of the standard GPS Navigation. Full-screen map displays offer outstandingly detailed views of the geography; maps and landmarks can be shown in 3-dimensional form. Selected points of interest along the travel route appear with near-photographic realism.
Mere input of destinations reveals the new system’s impressive capabilities. If the destination appears on a list in the system, a preview map appears as the user scrolls the list; this can help distinguish between places with similar or identical names. If a destination (or a phone number) needs to be entered manually, this is done with a new, circular “speller” that makes the entry go more quickly.
Convenient combination of voice entry and controller operation.
Yet another iDrive innovation is its ability to combine voice and controller entry, called Multi-mode Input. The user can go back and forth between the two methods while actually inputting; indeed, voice recognition can remain active during input via controller and the user can modify an input via voice. Voice recognition – BMW calls it Voice Command – is activated by its function key on the steering wheel, and de-activated either upon completion of the action or by pressing the key again. Voice Command is simplified by visual display of the available commands, yet its capabilities go further in that numerous synonyms of these commands are also recognized.
This newly optimized iDrive introduces a very significant step forward in the operation of automotive features and functions. Greater efficiency, improved logic and clear, attractive displays help define the character of the new 7 Series. Indeed, the new iDrive helps the new 7 Series create a user experience that is incomparable in automotive history.
Unique powerplant: the all-new new twin-turbo V-8 engine with High Precision direct fuel injection.
Previous BMW 7 Series models of the same 750i/750Li designation were powered by a 4.8-liter, 360-hp V-8 engine – “naturally aspirated” in the tech talk of engineers and car enthusiasts, meaning not super- or turbocharged. That engine also had BMW’s Valvetronic system, in which variable-lift intake valves assume the function normally done by a throttle.
The new V-8 engine takes a different approach. Its displacement is reduced to 4.4 liters; replacing – no, surpassing – the higher displacement and Valvetronic are twin turbochargers and direct fuel injection. In quantitative terms, the new engine delivers 400 hp (40 hp more) and does so over a range from 5500 to 6400 rpm, vs. the previous engine’s 6300 rpm. Maximum torque is up even more: 450 lb-ft. vs. the previous 360, and available over the extremely broad range of 1750 to 4500 rpm, vs. 3400 rpm before. The bottom line here is, yes, greater power and torque; but more importantly, delivered over a much wider range of operating conditions. Also impressive: that 450-lb-ft. torque peak is almost identical to that of previous 760i/Li models’ 6.0-liter V-12 engine!
The point of the new engineering approach is to achieve higher performance without correspondingly higher fuel consumption. In technical terms, the approach involves some very new design details. For the first time, twin turbochargers and the exhaust-cleansing catalytic converters are placed between the V-8’s two cylinder banks. In turn, this required the exhaust camshafts and valves to be inboard so that the path from cylinders to turbochargers (which are driven by exhaust gas) would be efficiently short. The intake camshafts and valves are then positioned outboard. Visually, this results in a very different-looking engine.
And an impressive-performing one. Aside from the dramatic thrust that drivers will notice subjectively, the objective data are dramatic as well: for the European 750i, 0-100 km/h (62 mph) in 5.2 sec. Data for U.S. models is not yet available.
Twin turbocharging delivers quick, sustained performance response.
As in the highly acclaimed 3.0-liter 6-cylinder twin-turbo engine now available in other BMW models, the use of twin turbochargers overcomes a historic drawback of turbocharging: the so-called “turbo lag” before the engine responds to the driver’s accelerator foot with strong thrust. And the twin turbos keep delivering, over that wide rpm range mentioned earlier. The effect is that of a significantly larger-displacement engine; yet this aluminum V-8 weighs less than such a larger, naturally aspirated engine of comparable performance would.
Also, contributing to the brilliant performance is BMW’s High Precision Injection, a system of direct fuel injection that sprays the precise mixture of fuel and air directly into the cylinders, rather than the intake ports.
Positioned centrally in the combustion changers for optimum combustion, the injectors are thus subject to especially high temperatures and must deliver the mixture at very high pressures. To meet BMW’s ambitious performance/efficiency/emissions goals with the necessary long-term durability, a “stack” of piezo crystals reacts lightning-fast to impulses from the engine electronics, governing the injector needle’s opening stroke and duration for ultra-precise control. According to researchers who developed this technology, it contributes 2-3% fuel savings and 20% fewer emissions.
Precise, responsive 6-speed automatic transmission.
BMW pioneered the 6-speed automatic transmission with the previous 7 Series; the new 7 evolves this concept with quicker, smoother shifting, improved torque-converter efficiency and the new-type E-Shift driver interface. Altogether, the evolutionary changes result in a more responsive, more efficient and sportier transmission.
For example, when the driver “kicks down” the accelerator, the transmission can downshift by as many as four gears – just as quickly as if it were shifting down only one gear. And the torque converter’s mechanical lockup – an efficiency-improving arrangement – is now engaged more of the time reducing slippage and improving throttle response, especially in the lower gears.
The new E-Shift driver interface described earlier in more detail controls the transmission, not by mechanically connecting the lever and transmission, but rather by electrical and electronic means. It provides Normal, Sport and Manual modes, the last executed by the driver “tipping” the lever forward for downshifts, rearward for upshifts.
New, innovative chassis technology combines dynamics and comfort.
True to BMW tradition, the new 7 exploits the creation of a new vehicle generation to advance the art of chassis technology and engineering. Improving both driving dynamics and riding comfort are always the core goals of the transition to a new generation, and in these regards the new 7 upholds the tradition brilliantly.
Just as the new engine combines sporting performance with luxurious refinement, all-around new suspension technology endows the new 7 with uniquely agile handling for a luxury automobile, yet also an exceptional level of riding comfort. Beyond these “basics,” these new cars allow the driver to decide at any time what priority to assign to either of these attributes via the new Driving Dynamics Control.
At the front, an all-new suspension system makes its debut. This double-wishbone system, the first such system ever in a BMW passenger car, marks a new step after BMW’s decades-long refinement of the double-pivot strut-type suspension into one of the world’s finest suspension systems. It is a multi-link type, adding an upper link (“wishbone”) to the familiar double-pivot lower links and thus relieving the strut of its role in determining suspension geometry. The double-pivot lower arms make up the lower wishbone. Another BMW specialty, the use of aluminum for links and other components, is applied here too and enhances the suspension’s response and riding comfort over rough road surfaces.
The rear suspension, too, is a significant evolution from its predecessor. Like the new front suspension, it is a multi-link system; BMW calls it the Integral system for its small, essentially vertical Integral Link connecting the upper and lower lateral control planes. And also as at the front, aluminum components are extensively employed.
A complex multi-link system like this controls rear-wheel angles very precisely, minimizing unwanted effects under load changes (such as lifting off the accelerator while cornering, or hard acceleration and braking) and achieving a comfortable, supple ride.
Though steel coil springs are used at the front and rear of the 750i, the long-wheelbase 750Li comes standard with electronically controlled self-leveling air springs that compensate for loads carried in the rear seat and trunk, maintaining normal vehicle height even with a full complement of passengers and luggage.
Standard Dynamic Damping Control and Driving Dynamics Control.
Dynamic Damping Control controls the shock absorbers to any level of firmness between their softest and firmest settings, precisely adapting to road conditions and the driver’s demands at any given moment. Ride firmness is always at the optimum level for current road conditions, vehicle speed and the load the vehicle is carrying (again, passengers and luggage). On smooth roads, the shocks are kept at the softest appropriate setting; in corners, they are instantly adjusted to a firmer, just-right level. And when the vehicle encounters any irregular road surface, they adjust to the optimum firmness level to control ride motions, preserve riding comfort and maintain adhesion to the road.
Dynamic Damping Control is standard on both models, developed to be integrally combined with the also standard Driving Dynamics Control. Driving Dynamics Control provides the driver choices of settings for shock-absorber firmness, transmission shift characteristics, engine-throttle response and power-steering assist: Comfort, Normal, Sport and Sport Plus. In addition, the traction-and-stability system Dynamic Stability Control continues with a Dynamic Traction Control setting (reduced traction intervention) that improves start-up on snow and is suitable for track-style driving.
Also standard on both models are 18-in. alloy wheels, carrying all-season run-flat tires of 245/50R-18 dimensions. On U.S. models, 19-in. wheels and performance tires are available as part of the optional Sport Package, or as a stand-alone option; two wheel designs are available.
New, advanced option: Integral Active Steering.
In making its first appearance on the 7 Series, BMW’s Active Steering (included in each model’s Sport Package) also gains new capabilities. The familiar front Active Steering electronically varies the steering ratio (the number of degrees the steering wheel must be turned to achieve a 1? steering angle at the front wheels) according to vehicle speed and other driving conditions. At low speeds and in parking maneuvers this ratio is decreased significantly, resulting in remarkable maneuverability and agility; as vehicle speed increases, so does the ratio, reaching a “normal” level at about 75 mph.
The 7 Series’ Integral Active Steering now also includes rear-wheel steering capability. Via a steering spindle and an eccentrically positioned servo motor, the rear wheels can be steered up to a maximum of 3?. At low speeds, they are steered oppositely to the front wheels; depending on vehicle speed, the turning circle can be reduced by up to 27.5 inches – which, combined with the front wheels’ reduced steering ratio, dramatically improves maneuverability. Varying the rear-wheel steering according to vehicle speed, the system steers them in the same direction as the fronts at higher speeds, which enhances the more important attribute of stability at these speed. A further, and perhaps less expected, benefit is that the rear-wheel steering reduces the yaw rate in a given road-speed maneuver, which would be perceived by rear-seat passengers as an improvement in riding comfort.
As a result, this unique combination of Active Steering at the front and rear wheels equally benefits both comfort and agility. Yet, there’s even more: enhanced stability in braking. Linked with the sensors of Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), Integral Active Steering can also make a targeted steering correction to hinder any loss of directional control under braking on a road surface that’s uneven from one side to the other.
Secure handling via powerful brakes and comprehensive DSC functions.
Yet another active-safety advance is found in the 7 Series’ newly designed disc brakes. Four-wheel ventilated disc brakes are a long-standard feature on all U.S. BMW models, but until now the additional refinement of aluminum/cast-iron brake rotors has been reserved for the highest-performing 5 and 6 Series models.
In this patented construction, the brake rotor (disc) consists of two pieces: the high-carbon cast-iron outer portion, which functions conventionally as the surface onto which the brake pads grip to slow or stop the vehicle; and an aluminum “hat” in the center, which mounts the rotor to the vehicle. The concept’s advantages include reduced unsprung weight, complementing the aluminum suspension in benefiting ride comfort and road adhesion.
Reduced rotor deformation under hard braking is the other benefit. This means less tendency of the brakes to vibrate when hot, and reduced likelihood of rotors cracking under extreme heat conditions.
The brake system is also supported by the comprehensive functions of Dynamic Stability Control (DSC). These include antilock braking (ABS), Automatic Stability Control (ASC), Cornering Brake Control and Dynamic Brake Control; each of these functions contributes to vehicle stability or to braking effectiveness. Other braking enhancements via DSC include Brake Fade Compensation, which compensates for loss of braking power (fading) under hard or repeated brake use; Brake Standby, which snugs the brake pads up to the rotors upon sharp acceleration to reduce the effective lag time in applying the brakes; and Brake Drying, which brings the pads to the rotors periodically during wet-weather driving.
Beyond these extensive functions, still others involve the use of brakes to achieve desired operational and stability goals. For example, a new Electronic Limited-slip Differential function comes into play in vigorous driving when DSC is completely de-activated. By appropriate application of only the rear brakes while cornering, DSC simulates a traditional mechanical limited-slip differential. This has the effect of better apportioning power between the two rear wheels and thus improving traction in this driving situation. (Which, like use of the Sport Plus mode, is not recommended on public roads; it’s more of a racetrack or driving-school exercise.)
Intelligent driving dynamics via Integrated Chassis Management and FlexRay.
All such driving-dynamics functions are coordinated and overseen by BMW’s Integrated Chassis Management. Via sensing and analysis of a multitude of inputs, this powerful electronic control scheme applies and governs the interaction of these functions to ensure maximum stability. Under rapidly changing conditions, such as changing road surface, spontaneous steering input, abrupt acceleration or sudden braking, ICM reacts with ultra-quick and ultra-precise interventions via the DSC actuators, Dynamic Damping Control, and – where present – Integral Active Steering and Active Roll Stabilization.
For this extremely sensitive and powerful networking of functions, the new 7 Series employs FlexRay data-transmission technology. Developed by a consortium of which BMW is a leading member, FlexRay achieves heretofore unheard-of communication speed, some 20 times that previously possible. In the 7 Series, up to 16 electronic control units can be networked; in no other current automobile can longitudinal, lateral and vertical vehicle motions be so precisely monitored and influenced. BMW is the first motor-vehicle manufacturer to offer FlexRay technology in production vehicles; it appeared first in the current X5, and is also employed in the X6.
Intelligent Lightweight Design means maximum agility, efficiency and solidity.
Thanks to BMW’s Intelligent Lightweight design process, the body structure of the new 7 Series benefits from both weight efficiency and solidity. Targeted applications of higher- and highest-strength steels, as well as, aluminum for numerous elements and components allowed BMW to achieve greater passive safety, yet reduce the structure’s weight. Compared to the predecessor’s body shell, the new models are approximately 20% more rigid in torsion – which, in turn, positively influences driving dynamics. Expressed another way, the so-called “lightweight index,” which quantifies torsional rigidity relative to the vehicle footprint and weight, has been improved significantly.
Novel in the 7 Series’ market segment is its brand-new combination of a steel main structure and aluminum roof: The light-metal roof saves approximately 7 kg/15 lb., and because this savings is at the vehicle’s highest point, lowers the center of gravity and further contributes to vehicle dynamics. The doors are also aluminum, saving a further 48.5 lb. As on the predecessor, the hood and front fenders are also aluminum, making for a significant contribution to these automobiles’ overall weight efficiency.
Outstanding occupant protection at all seating positions.
Robust structural elements, extensive and precisely defined deformation zones, and highly efficient restraint systems coordinated by the powerful control electronics form the basis for the high level of occupant protection in the new 7. Consequently, these vehicles are well positioned to achieve excellent ratings in all crash-safety tests worldwide. Impact forces are transmitted along defined paths in the floor, side, bulkhead structures and roof into deformation zones that hinder or prevent them from reaching the passenger cell. For the structures that serve as these force paths, multi-phase steels as well as a new generation of heat-formed steels have been introduced, further contributing to the structure’s weight efficiency.
Complementing the structural excellence are standard front-impact and side-impact (pelvis/thorax) airbags, as well as, a curtain-type Head Protection System. 3-point safety belts are provided at all five seating positions, all of them with force limiters and the front ones with electric pretensioners. For whiplash protection, Active head restraints are standard on both front seats. LATCH attachments (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) provide for securing a child restraint seat at each outboard passenger-seating position. All restraint systems are controlled by a central electronic control module that evaluates collision type and severity and activates them accordingly.
BMW pioneered Adaptive brakelights, whose lighting intensity increases when vehicle deceleration exceeds a certain level and thus warns following drivers that the BMW ahead is braking hard. Since their introduction by BMW, similar systems have been introduced elsewhere.
Extensive array of features enhancing forward illumination and outward vision.
It probably goes without saying that Xenon headlights are standard on the new 7; but these are just the beginning of an extensive array of advanced, beneficial and enjoyable features that enhance these cars’ forward illumination.
For example, the luminous “Corona Rings” that have become a BMW identifier in recent years are now utilized for the Daytime Running Lamps, adding visual distinction to a safety precaution favored by many drivers. Adaptive control swivels the headlights according to steering input, yaw rate and vehicle speed to aid forward illumination around curves; and for the first time, the lights’ auto-leveling takes into account road topography (such as hill crests, tunnels, steep ramps) and adjusts their aim up or down as appropriate to avoid blinding oncoming drivers. At low speeds, cornering lights help the driver “see around” city corners; for backing up, on U.S. models both cornering lights (left and right) illuminate.
World premiere: BMW Night Vision with enhanced recognition.
Via an infrared camera, the optional Night Vision scans a range up to 1600 ft. ahead of the vehicle over a 24-degree-wide range. Another first for the new 7 is this additional capability: recognition of the direction a pedestrian near the roadway is moving. If it’s parallel to the road, the system senses and displays the presence on the iDrive screen (or, if present, Head-up Display) but doesn’t warn the driver; if the person is on a path to cross the road, it does display a warning.
Cruise control with braking ability standard; Adaptive Cruise Control optional.
The 7 Series’ standard cruise control adds new functions. One is the ability to apply the brakes to maintain the set speed on longer downhill stretches; another is continuously monitoring the vehicle’s lateral acceleration and adjusting the speed if rounding a curve would upset passenger comfort.
Adaptive Cruise Control is optional; in addition to the speed-maintaining, acceleration and deceleration functions of the standard cruise control, ACC can adjust the BMW driver’s speed according to traffic conditions via radar sensors at the front of the vehicle. Like the standard cruise control, the new 7’s ACC adds a new capability.
One of these is Stop-and-Go, which can bring the vehicle to a complete stop if traffic calls for it. After a stop of more than 3 seconds, the driver must step on the accelerator or select Resume to accelerate back to the set speed or whatever speed the radar sensors allow.
Driver Assistance Package: three further enhancements of outward vision.
U.S. models of the new 7 offer three safety-enhancing features in the optional Driver Assistance Package. One of them, Active Blind Spot Detection, is new to BMW; the other two have become available in other BMW vehicles recently. All are new to the 7 Series.
Employing a camera near the interior rearview mirror, Lane Departure Warning monitors road lane markings. When switched on, anytime the vehicle begins to move across a lane marking without the turn signals activated, this system vibrates the steering wheel. If the driver does activate the signals, LDW does not react.
With the new Active Blind Spot Detection, radar sensors at the rear of the vehicle monitor traffic in adjacent lanes taking in an area from the driver’s blind spot rearward 60 meters/almost 200 ft. An illuminated triangular warning LED appears in the exterior mirror if there is a vehicle in this critical area. If the driver activates the turn signal, the LED blinks and, as with Lane Departure Warning, the steering wheel vibrates to warn the driver not to make a lane change.
High Beam Assist is the Package’s third feature. Controlled by a sensor on the interior rearview mirror’s forward side, switches automatically between low and high beams. With this function, the driver need not switch between low and high beams manually, thus, removing a distraction. The high beams are likely to be used more often; and other drivers and pedestrians are less likely to be blinded by high beams inadvertently left on.
Hard drive for audio and navigation systems.
The new 7 comes standard with a 40-GB hard drive, which provides fast access to navigation data and space for approximately 13GB allocated to music storage.
Music data from a CD, MP3 player or USB stick can be transferred to the hard drive then accessed at will. Via iDrive, users can enjoy programming from a personal music collection, directly from a CD or other external player, or the radio. Individual music pieces (“songs”) are listed alphabetically by their title and performer, and thus, easily located.
The standard audio system includes a DVD player and auxiliary audio input. Available options include a Premium Sound Package consisting of upgraded amplification and speakers, 6-disc DVD changer and iPod/USB adapter. The available Sirius Satellite Radio option includes a 1-year subscription to the service. HD Radio with Multicasting, which BMW pioneered as an automotive audio option is standard in the new 7 Series. Two DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting) tuners provide not only enhanced FM and AM sound, but also allow a given station’s audio program and traffic advisories to be received. Should the vehicle leave the station’s digital broadcast area, the system automatically reverts to the same station’s conventional broadcasting.
An also optional Rear Entertainment System provides two 8-in. screens integrated into the front seats’ head restraints. The system is capable of reading a DVD either from its DVD player or the DVD changer included in the optional Premium Sound System. The system allows for 1 internal input, 1 internal + 1 external input or 2 external inputs (such as a game console). The result is that each rear passenger has complete control over their respective screens.
Navigation system: standard, and incorporating the highest technology level.
Standard in the new 7 is a newly developed and optimized GPS Navigation system with high-resolution 10.2-in. monitor (this is also the iDrive control display), dramatic 3-dimensional map views and a host of functional innovations. The system is impressive, not just for its beautiful screens, but also for user-friendly, intuitive operation. Displays that include a graphic representation of the controller itself make selection and activation of functions easier. Split-screen displays give route directions left and preview maps right; in addition to routes and destination, traffic information on the route is also delivered. Especially impressive are the full-screen views of the large monitor making it possible to view fine details of the map. A help screen is available for further information.
The special map perspective provided in the Highlight Traffic Conditions option offers additional convenience with current congestion reports presented as road sections marked red. This can be highly useful and time-saving, equally in urban, suburban and Interstate or freeway driving.
The GPS guidance has been enhances with 3-D topographical and mapping plus a more detailed directional arrow display.
the high resolution screen combined with the 3-dimensional views make using the new navigation system a unique experience. Topographical map views add value to route guidance through mountainous or hilly country. At smaller map scales, say up to 25 m/82 ft., 3D representations of actual buildings improve user orientation, especially in urban areas. In a more rural landscape, notable buildings or points of interest are easier to find, and easier to determine if such a point is coming up soon and if it’s worth a stop.
The directional arrow display now provides a detail view of the upcoming direction point and is able to direct the proper lane to be in and exactly when the driver should turn (especially in complicated intersections) – from the control display directly into the instrument cluster or, if equipped, Head-up Display.
4-zone automatic climate control: optimum comfort for all occupants.
The previous 7 Series already included many premium features in its automatic climate-control system, such as dual-zone controls for the front compartment, automatic recirculation, automatic ventilation to use when the vehicle is left standing in the sun, heat-at-rest providing heating for several minutes after the engine is shut off, and temperature/volume-controlled air for the rear seating compartment.
Yet, here too, BMW has not simply rested on existing excellence: U.S. models of the new 7 Series come standard with 4-zone climate control, which provides individual left/right control of temperature and air volume just as in the front. The 4-zone system adds a rear control panel, plus an electric heater in the rear footwells; the front center-of-dash air outlets are volume-adjustable from a gentle breeze up to vigorous air delivery.
Rear seats with Active Ventilation and Active Support.
Available for the long-wheelbase 750Li model is a Rear Comfort Seats option consisting of multi-adjustable rear Comfort seats with Active Ventilation and Active Support, the latter being a “massage” feature. Multiple internal fans gently direct cooling air through special perforated leather on the seat cushions and backrests. Multiple internal bladders create a gentle, virtually imperceptible motion in the seating surfaces to help relax thorax, shoulder and lumbar regions promoting comfort and helping prevent cramps on longer journeys.
Effective and elegant lighting, innovative Contour Moonroof.
Elegant light bars set accents on the new 7’s door handles, door panels and storage pockets. U.S. models add as standard equipment a new way of distributing ambiance lighting, whose rays are “broken” by a prism structure to bathe certain interior surfaces with a subtle glow. This harmonious illumination not only helps occupants orient themselves in the cabin at night, but also enhances the interior’s high-quality character.
An esthetic subtlety is delivered by a new moonroof design, standard on U.S. models. Its 60 x 92-cm (23.6 x 36.2-in.) glass area makes the interior feel brighter and roomier; its front edge is curved parallel to the roof’s front edge for an unusual design touch. Functional improvements figure in this concept, too: a powered interior shade replaces the former manual one, obviating the need for a handgrip recess. And the forward wind deflector rises to different height positions on the basis of vehicle speed, more effectively taming potential low-speed air drumming or high-speed wind noise.
All-seeing: Park Distance Control, rearview camera and sideview camera.
Park Distance Control, BMW’s ultrasonic-based parking assist system, remains standard as the 7 moves into its new generation. PDC warns the driver via beep tones when the vehicle approaches obstacles, at the front or rear, which may be unseen.
New, however, are both a rear-view and a side-view camera to further assist parking and maneuvering convenience and safety. Both are included in the optional Camera Package. The rearview camera transmits a high-resolution image to the iDrive control display, plus –
A graphic representation of the vehicle’s actual path
Static lines showing the vehicle’s trajectory with maximum steering angle (minimum turning radios). These two paths are visually differentiated from each other.
The side-view camera consists of two further cameras, one each in the front bumper’s corners, which transmit views toward the sides to the control display. This feature resolves that troublesome situation when one is emerging from, say, an alley or garage exit onto a busy street by giving the driver an “advance” view of traffic – and helping to avoid an accident.
Both of these camera systems are de-activated at normal driving speeds.
World’s first Integrated Owner’s Manual.
The amazing spectrum of new features, technologies and capabilities offered by the new 7 Series is rounded out by yet another first: the Integrated Owner’s Manual.
Analogous to the Help functions of today’s computers, BMW now delivers the owner’s manual electronically, via iDrive. In just seconds, the user can access information on virtually any detail of the vehicle’s equipment, systems, operation, etc…like a traditional owner’s manual, only better. Subjects are presented in a multimedia format of animations, slide shows with sound and written description.
In another new-age, highly desirable departure from the traditional owner’s manual, the IOM is vehicle-specific; that is, the version that goes with each new 7 Series vehicle corresponds to that exact vehicle with its specific model designation and options. Various information paths – brief instructions, picture search, keyword and context searches – are available to the user. The user can also store specific subjects on the Programmable Memory Keys. In addition, the IOM can be updated as appropriate via the BMW center.