With the current 5-Series and brand new 3-Series already doing well, BMWs own 7-Series was left lagging behind its talented younger siblings.
No longer – BMW has updated the model for 2012, with a subtle facelift and improvements to the interior and engine to take the fight to its competitors.
At a glance the new 7-Series looks similar to the previous car, but dig deeper and some of BMWs subtle alterations come to light.
New LED headlights feature at the front, with BMWs distinctive corona rings (or angel eyes in non-BMW parlance) and an accent strip that makes them look more like the units on recent BMWs. The famous kidney grille has also been revised, with nine slats instead of twelve, and the mirrors include an integrated indicator strip. At the back, a thin chrome line separates the two slim reflectors just above the exhausts.
Behind the wheel, the multi-function instrument display has been overhauled, with different colours and graphics representing different driving modes, the displays geared towards whichever information is most relevant to that mode. 3D graphics sneak in to modernise the displays appearance.
Whether driver or passengers, everyone will get to appreciate the quality materials – perhaps even more so, since BMW has redesigned the seats for greater comfort and support. Should you wish to spoil the peace and tranquillity of the interior, a new 1,200-watt, 16-speaker Bang Olufsen High End Surround Sound System is now available.
The most significant new engine is that of the revised 740d. With 313 horsepower and 465 lb ft of torque, the 3-litre, six-cylinder turbodiesel should be more than up to the task of hauling a 7-Series along, and BMW is claiming impressive frugality too – up to 49.6 mpg combined. CO2 emissions are only 149g/km, meaning road tax will set you back only 135 per year. Even more powerful – 381bhp, to be precise – and with all-wheel drive, is the new 750d xDrive
That joins the similarly fuel-sipping 730d, a powerful new 6-cylinder 740i and a revised V8 in the 750i. At the top of the range sits the plutocratic 760i, with a twin-turbocharged V12.
Taking the brand in a different direction is the ActiveHybrid 7, which trades a V8 for a new twin-turbocharged inline-6, developing 320bhp. A 55bhp electric motor allows it to travel on electricity alone at low speeds, improving economy and reducing emissions. All engines put their power to the road through an 8-speed automatic gearbox.
Pricing hasnt been officially revealed just yet, but you can be sure itll be reassuringly expensive. The previous 730d started from around 62,000, with long-wheelbase 760i models breaking the 100k barrier.
Available from: Later this year
The people most likely to buy the revised 7-Series models are those who bought the previous car – at this level, the lure of a particular badge is strong.
Those customers will be getting a fantastic range of new engines, with the new 740d and 750d xDrive most likely to steal the show in the UK. The 730d will probably be a high seller, but the petrol engines will remain the preserve of a lucky few – those who can afford the fuel bills.