BMW has lifted the covers off a brand new version of its flagship 7 Series limousine. It will arrive in UK showrooms in October, priced from £63,750.
Traditionally, BMW's range-topping executive saloon has lagged behind its main rival, the sublime Mercedes S-Class, though the Bavarian brand has pulled out all the stops, completely re-engineering the car to make it as dynamic, efficient, refined and technologically advanced as physically possible.
Not that you'd guess that at a first glance, however, as the new model retains the same proportions and general styling themes of the outgoing car. At the front, the 7 Series wears the new BMW 'face', with an oversized kidney grille and new headlights, though in its overall shape, it's business as usual.
However, to visually enhance its new 7 Series, BMW is offering it with three distinct styling packages – M Sport, Pure Excellence and Individual – on top of the standard model.
The interior follows a similar pattern of subtle evolution, with the familiar centre console and 'floating' display screen (now with touch compatibility) making an appearance. The 7 Series now gets a completely digital instrument panel, as well as a new design of steering wheel and ventilated front seats with massaging function.
In its bid to outdo its premium German rivals, the 7 Series is available with an extensive options list, with everything from a high-end surround sound stereo, night vision, an electronically tinted panoramic sunroof and inductive device charging on offer. Drivers will also be able to operate the infotainment system with gesture control for the first time.
It is under the skin that the big 7 Series has been most improved. The new model is constructed from a cocktail of high-strength steel and carbon fibre, which has resulted in a 130kg reduction in weight over the old model. The new structure should also make the 7 series much stiffer, resulting in a more engaging driving experience.
In the UK, the 7 Series will be offered with just two engines: turbocharged 3.0-litre units in petrol and diesel guises. The expected UK bestseller, the 730d, develops 261bhp and is claimed to return fuel economy of 62.8mpg, with CO2 emissions at a tax friendly 119g/km.
The petrol unit offers 321bhp, and will whisk the 7 Series up to 62mph in 5.5 seconds, and will be capable of 42.8mpg.
BMW is to offer a wider range of engines in other markets, including a powerful 4.4-litre V8 model badged 750i and a V12 6.0-litre badged 760i. A hybrid model is also expected in 2016.