BMW updated its 7 Series sedan lineup for the 2013 model-year, including powertrain changes that boost fuel efficiency and performance, giving the ActiveHybrid 7 a new hybrid powertrain, revising the exterior and updating interior.
The automaker said the 2013-MY 7 Series models, except the ActiveHybrid 7, will arrive in U.S. BMW showrooms in late summer 2012. The ActiveHybrid 7 will arrive in showrooms in early fall 2012.
BMW upgraded the inline six-cylinder 740i/Li and V-8-powered 750i/Li, though the 760Li is keeping the 6.0L Twin Turbo V-12 that was in previous versions of that model. BMW said every 7 Series model now comes with an “intelligent” 8-speed Steptronic automatic transmission that reduces fuel consumption and emissions. Although BMW said EPA fuel-economy estimates aren’t available, the automaker said in the EU test cycle, fuel consumption dropped by 20%.
Other technologies designed to improve performance on new 7 Series models include auto stop-start (on the 740i/Li and 750i/Li), regenerative braking and BMW’s second-generation Driving Dynamics Control with ECO PRO mode (this mode can reduce fuel consumption by up to 20%, according to the automaker). BMW said its xDrive all-wheel-drive system is available for the 2013 BMW 740Li.
BMW updated its 4.4L TwinPower Turbo V-8 with Valvetronic technology, the automaker’s throttle-less intake system. Valvetronic works with a direct injection system and twin turbochargers on top of the engine to deliver more power, 445 hp (45 more hp than the previous version of the engine), and 480 lb. ft. of torque. BMW said in the EU test cycle, this engine consumed 25% less fuel than the previous engine.
For the ActiveHybrid 7, the vehicle features an inline six-cylinder engine matched to a 55 hp synchronous electric motor and hybrid-spec 8-speed Steptronic automatic transmission. The vehicle comes with a lithium-ion battery. EPA fuel-economy numbers aren’t available, but BMW said in the EU test cycle, the new ActiveHybrid 7’s new hybrid system gets 14% better fuel economy than the previous generation of the system. The ActiveHybrid 7 can travel 2.5 miles on battery alone at a top speed of 37 mph.
All BMW 7 Series models will come with self-leveling rear air suspension, which keeps the car riding at a constant height regardless of road conditions or vehicle load.
Up front, the 7 Series’ redesigned “kidney”-style grille features a larger chrome surround and nine slats instead of the previous 12. A full-width air intake is split into three sections on the lower section of the front apron. This part of the vehicle features BMW’s “air curtain” technology, which forces air to flow more aerodynamically around the front wheels at high speeds, reducing fuel consumption. BMW redesigned the 7 Series’ exterior mirrors, which now feature integrated directional indicators.
The new BMW 740i/Li and 750i/Li come with standard Adaptive Xenon headlights. Although the other models will come in a range of sizes, the ActiveHybrid 7 model will only be available in a long wheelbase model.
Up front, the 7 Series models feature more slender front seats for improved “driver-oriented” ergonomics. BMW offers multi-function seats as an option. Dakota or Nappa leather seat material options come in Ivory White or Veneto Beige choices.
In the rear seating area, individual rear comfort seats are standard equipment on the 760Li and optional on other models. A passenger can adjust each seat to suit their preferences. The long wheelbase version of the 7 Series, which is 5.5 inches longer than the standard 7 Series, gives that extra space in the rear seating area in the cabin. In addition, BMW changed the roofline of the long-wheelbase models to give passengers in the back seats an extra half-inch of headroom. Other interior features include ambient lighting, and improved soundproofing.
When it comes to electronics, the new 7 Series features a Bang & Olufsen High-End Surround Sound System. The next-generation navigation system with a revised user interface (it shows 3D elements) and improved graphics, customizable “bars” that can display traffic or weather information, the ability to select locations directly from the map, and more detailed navigation guidance features.
The 7 Series’ ConnectedDrive system features speech recognition with optimized voice control. Users can dictate messages to the system to send text messages and emails. Users can pair up to two different phones to the system (the contact list from each phone is combined into a single list for making calls, for example). Recorded memos can be accessed via a USB drive.
Other features in the 7 Series include the automaker’s Head-Up Display, BMW Assist with enhanced Automatic Collision Notification with automatic vehicle location, rear view camera and Surround View, Real Time Traffic Information (RTTI), and infotainment features offered by BMW office functions for Blackberries and BMW Apps (which integrate with the iPhone).
The new 7 Series features a range of safety features, including Enhanced Active Cruise Control, which supplements the system’s full-range radar sensors with a front-mounted camera on the rear-view mirror. When driving in heavy traffic, the vehicle’s automatic systems can stop and pull away. The system can detect stopped traffic up ahead and provide a two-stage warning. The system can slow or brake if the driver doesn’t react to the warning.
The 7 Series’ Active Protection safety package comes with a new feature called Attention Assistant, which analyzes driving behavior and can encourage the driver to take a brake if it detects the driver is getting tired. In a pre-crash situation, the Active Protection system pulls seatbelts tight and closes side windows and the sunroof. After a crash, the system can apply the brakes to reduce the chance of a secondary collision.
The updated sedan line also comes with new convenience features, including hands-free trunk opening and the BMW Parking Assistant, which allows the vehicle to automatically maneuver into parking spots. A new bird’s-eye view of the vehicle in the Control Display works with the Park Distance Control to monitor and control the parking process.