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BMW to offer 7 Series M pack in lieu of M7

M of sorts: The BMW 7 Series M Sports looks the part.

No M7, but Australia will settle for BMW’s new M Sports pack for the latest 7 Series

30 Jul 2009

THE new 7 Series M Sports Package has been confirmed for release in Australia later this year, but it will be as close as BMW’s biggest sedan gets to being a bona-fide M7 model from Bavaria’s M division.

BMW’s newest, but unfortunately largely cosmetic, M Sports pack was revealed for the new 7 Series in Germany last month and will be available here right across the top-shelf limousine line-up from September production.

Costing at a cool $11,600 for the entry-level 730d, falling to $10,600 for the 740i and 740Li, and $4000 for the 750i and 750Li, the Seven’s M treatment is headlined by an M Aerodynamics package (read: sports bodykit) with extra chrome apron trims at both ends.

The 7 Series M kit, which is priced roughly in line with last October’s M Sports pack for the X5, also comes with BMW’s Dynamic Drive variable chassis system, which is standard on the 750i but usually costs an extra $5249 on the 730d and 740i variants.

Of course, there’s also a set of staggered-width 19-inch M light-alloy wheels in a double-spoke design (245/45 R19 front, 275/40 R19 rear), along with the further option of double-spoke 20-inch alloys. M Sports 7 Series models also come with the choice of an exclusive Carbon Black Metallic exterior paint colour.

Interior additions extend to leather sports seats and illuminated M-badged scuff plates, a multi-function M leather steering wheel, M footrest, BMW Individual anthracite roof lining and fine-grain aluminium cabin trim.

14 center imageFrom top: BMW 7 Series M Sports, BMW X5 M and BMW X6 M.

The M Sports Package will be a no-cost option for the upcoming 760Li flagship, which also scores Alcantara anthracite headlining and arrives in Australia by December – completing the fifth-generation (F01/F02) 7 Series range that went on sale here in April and was joined by Australia’s first diesel-powered version in June.

It is arguable, however, whether the redesigned 760Li long-wheelbase needs much more performance, what with an all-new alloy 6.0-litre petrol V12 delivering no less than 400kW with 750Nm of peak torque.

Matched to ZF’s new eight-speed automatic transmission, which will also feature in Rolls-Royce’s new 6.6-litre turbo V12-powered Ghost – it is enough to fling the all-wheel-drive 760Li to 100km/h in a supercar-like 4.6 seconds (claimed).

Despite committing to even zanier M models in the X6 M and X5 M, which go on sale here in December and January respectively, BMW says it has decided the latest 7 Series will not form the basis of the company’s first M7.

“We’ve looked at that (an M7) and decided not to do it,” Kay Segler, the new head of BMW's M division, told Automotive News at this month’s launch of the X5/X6 M in the US, where the circa-$180,000 hyper-SUVs are manufactured.

Given 80 per cent of the hard-core M3 Coupe is unique to the M division, any potential M7 would be need to be considerably more expensive than the 760Li’s estimated $370,000 pricetag, which itself is likely to be pricier than Rolls-Royce’s closely related new ‘baby’.

“The 760 with AWD is a very strong offer. The M sales would be too small for our total investment,” he said, before revealing that although an M version of the forthcoming X1 will not be produced, a decision on the long-anticipated M1 was yet to be made.

“You need an entry into M pricewise, but whether we can do that economically has to be determined,” he told Automotive News.

“Dreams are always there, but we have to pay for them. An X1 is not a car that we would have. Give me a year or so to look into the 1 Series.” Mr Segler said that while an M7 would not be profitable, the X5 and X6 Ms will be vital in helping BMW’s performance arm become a “non-cyclical” business by comprising up to 20 per cent of the big SUVs’ sales – mainly in the Middle East and Eastern Europe.

He said the M3 (coupe, sedan and convertible) family was the M house’s most consistent selling model line, while both the M5 and M6 were “niche” models that are “being phased out”.

The M boss said sales in all four major global markets were down in 2009, following a 50 per cent sales increase in 2008 (when BMW sold 24,186 M cars), but the US still comprises 45 per cent of worldwide M sales.

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