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New models - BMW - 7 Series - 750i & 750Li

Driven: BMW adds 750i to 7 Series family

Long shot: BMW’s all-new 7 Series is now available with a 4.4-litre turbo V8 including a long-wheelbase 750Li, but the company says Australia’s driving enthusiasts will favour the shorter 750i.

BMW Australia targets driving enthusiasts with full 7 Series range

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BMW logo2 Mar 2016

By DANIEL GARDNER

OVER the course of five generations, BMW’s 7 Series has become known for its blend of luxury transport and cutting-edge comfort innovations, but it is the executive sedan’s driving dynamics that will give it an advantage over its German rivals, according to the car-maker.

The 730d and 740i pair kicked off the sixth-generation G11 7 Series in 2015, but until the manic M760Li xDrive arrives later this year, the flagship 750i and more chauffeur-targeted 750Li cap the range with V8 power.

While BMW’s key rivals can offer comparable comfort features in the form of the Audi A8 and Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW Group Australia 7 Series, 6 Series and 5 Series product manager Tim Michaelson told GoAuto the new model would stand its ground with a formula of lavish luxury and typical BMW driving enjoyment.

“I think that 7 Series proves it can do both,” he said. “It can be a driver’s car and have the full luxury experience as well and that’s the potential our customers are looking for.”

Mr Michaelson explained a number of customers had been eagerly awaiting the performance pick.

“The 750 adds to the existing 7 Series range. We’ve got customers who have been waiting and anticipating the V8 7 Series. The 7 Series range has traditionally had a multiple engine line-up so it’s just about continuing that product offering.

Since its launch, the new G11 7 Series has been selling in the region of 20 to 30 vehicles per month and while the addition of the new variants is expected to lift sales slightly, it is the more affordable six-cylinder versions that will continue to sell more strongly, said Mr Michaelson.

“I think we are confident about the new breed of 7 Series. Just being able to offer the full range of engines is something we always intended to do. It's a competitive segment but we are pretty confident.

“The popular models are the entry level 730d and 740i, between those two they will make up about 80 per cent of sales.”

When it arrives later this year, the M760Li xDrive will bring a monstrous twin-turbocharged V12 engine and the first M-badge to be worn by a 7 Series, sitting at the top of the pack as the new flagship.

When asked if the iconic M-badge sits well with the 7 Series, Mr Michaelson replied: “For sure. Why not? It’s such a driver’s car that it just takes it to another level.” But the potent super sedan was not heralding the first pure M7 at this stage.

“I've certainly heard nothing to indicate that (M7) at this stage, we’re just really excited and focused on the M760 at this stage.

“The BMW range is about offering different models for different people including niche, so it’s about offering choice.

“It will be the flagship for our range. The V12 engine has been part of the 7 Series line-up for a long time now. It’s part of building a brand and making it aspirational.”

The 750i and its long-wheelbase 750iL sibling priced from $289,600 before on-road costs and $312,700 respectively.

Under the front end is BMW’s 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 that can be found in a whole host of other models including the X5 and X6 large SUVs, the 5 Series sedan and 6 Series coupe and convertible.

With 330kW and 650Nm on tap the shorter version can dash to from zero to 100km/h in 4.7 seconds, while returning a fuel economy reading of 8.1 litres per 100km for the 750i, and 8.3L/100km for the 750Li.

The N63 V8 has been revised for its latest application in the new 7 Series, but retains the basic layout including the unorthodox location of the pair of turbochargers in the valley of the engine and not outboard as is more customary. BMW pioneered the innovation and has since been mimicked by Mercedes-Benz.

Hanging off the back of the V8 is an eight-speed automatic Steptronic transmission that sends power to the rear wheels, with paddle shifters and a customisable Eco Pro mode for optimising fuel efficiency.

Measuring 5018mm long, the 750i has ample room for five, but for owners that are driven more than they drive, the 750Li offers more second-row room with 140mm added to the wheelbase.

Under its skin, the new 7 Series hides some important steps forward in BMW construction with the company’s Carbon Core technology, which uses carbon-fibre in sections of the body as well as aluminium and steel to save up to 130kg of weight.

BMW first used the composite material as a structural component in the E46 M3 CSL, but the technology was more extensively explored and developed in the i8 and i3 electrified pair.

For BMW’s large luxury limousine, ride comfort is key but the German car-maker says it has the comfort of occupants covered with a chassis that incorporates a variety of technology to iron out bumps without compromising driving dynamics.

The 750i rides on a five-link rear set-up and double-joint front axle, with Dynamic Damper Control and self-levelling air suspension as standard. The Executive Drive Pro system uses active anti-roll bars to maintain a constant roll angle in corners while a new Adaptive mode is now available in the Drive Experience Control settings. Dampers are electro-hydraulic.

A forward-facing camera is integral to the adaptive cruise control and autonomous braking features but also reads information from the road ahead to alter the response rate of the active dampers, optimising the comfort of passengers.

Rear-wheel steering is also standard for the 750i which increases stability during high-speed manoeuvres as well as improving manoeuvrability and handling at lower speeds.

In addition to the traditional iDrive rotary control knob and hot-keys, the various convenience and entertainment features can be accessed by voice commands or BMW’s gesture control, which allows basic instructions to be made with a hand signal.

Phone calls can be answered or rejected, while the technology can also be used to scroll through menus, for example.

Automatic air-conditioning can be used to maintain a different temperature for four out of five seats, standard Heat Comfort adds heaters to the steering wheel and arm rests as well as the front seats, while rear seats get heating, cooling and massage as standard in Li versions.

A 7.0-inch Touch Command removable tablet duplicates the various information and entertainment function controls and can be used anywhere inside the vehicles as well as outside, while a pair of 10-inch screens complete the host of cabin monitors.

Gone are the days of dials and switches, and the 7 Series’ instruments, climate control panel and iDrive display are all digital. Add that to the two second-row screens and tablet and the 750i has a total of six high-resolution digital displays. The Display Key takes that figure to seven.

At night, occupants are welcomed by a Light Carpet which is projected from the sills, and the decorative lighting continues once aboard with a choice of six colours for the ambient lighting.

The short-wheelbase 750i gets a standard Panorama glass roof, but long-wheelbase versions have a Sky Lounge version, which uses an array of LEDs at the edge of the pane to spread light evenly across the glass panels, creating the effect of a starlit sky, says BMW.

Drivers also benefit from the advances in lighting technology, with Laserlight headlights, which have a greater intensity than gas discharge and LED systems, with a 600 meter beam range, anti-dazzle technology and automatic on/off function.

The lights do not actually use laser diodes for illumination as the name would suggest, but the LEDs are the latest tech and produce a pure white light.

Night vision is also standard on all 750is, which uses an infra-red camera to sense humans or animals long before the driver can see them with the naked eye.

The image is displayed in the central screen but the adaptive headlights also spot the object with a single targeted beam.

The 750 boot can hold up to 515 litres, is electrically operated and can be opened hands-free with a foot gesture thanks to Comfort Access, which also allows keyless ignition and opening of the doors.

As is customary with BMW’s flagship, customers can go to town with the options list if a bespoke customised 7 Series is desired. A range of Design Composition and Individual features can be dipped into to create your perfect seven, but for the ultimate in exclusivity, BMW Individual Manufaktor will guarantee you do not get the feeling of turning up to a party and meeting someone in the same dress.

A range of more exotic leather, wood, paint colour, alloy wheel options, design packages such as Shadow Line, and an Alcantara roof liner, and even a chilled cool box for the boot will add to the asking price.

Standard Driving Assistant Plus brings a host of active safety and comfort systems, including Rear collision prevention, Lane Change Warning, Speed Limit Info and front and rear cross-traffic warning functions. Steering and lane-control assistant, lane-keeping assistant with active side collision protection and traffic jam assistant for semi- automated driving. Head-up display for the driver is now 75 per cent larger.

If there is a little left in the budget then the standard sound system can be upgraded to a Bowers and Wilkins Diamond surround-sound stereo.

BMW anticipates the M Sport styling pack to constitute the between 75 and 80 per cent of 750i orders, which adds larger air intakes and more stealthy black trims to the exterior for no extra cost, in place of the more ‘elegant’ standard appearance.

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