2023 BMW 7 Series First Look: My Eyes Are Down Here, Pal
The headliner of the all-new 7th-generation BMW 7 Series lineup is the brand’s new flagship EV, the all-electric i7 sedan. While that 7 is sure to garner maximum attention, it’s being unveiled alongside an updated family of the combustion-powered 7 Series, which arrives sporting an updated I-6 and an all-new available V-8 engine architecture that’s tuned to match the EV’s impressive 536 horsepower. BMW has developed the new 7 lineup to offer a near identical performance and luxury package in three distinct powertrain offerings, in a bold commitment to both internal combustion engines (ICE) and EVs for years to come. Are you impressed that we made it this far into the story without mentioning the 7’s new schnoz?
Three Versions of the New 7
BMW says the new 7 Series platform was designed to be flexible for a range of three different drive types from the outset, including the two new mild hybrid models announced today, a future plug-in hybrid, and the i7 fully electric, and all three powertrains can be outfitted within a single assembly line at BMW’s Dingolfing plant. Now, about that face… The 7 lineup, including the recently updated X7 SUV, will also exclusively feature the new split headlight signature detail, at least for the time being, to distinguish the brand’s highest luxury offerings.
The new 7 Series launches with three new models, two of which will be combustion-powered. The most interesting out of the two is the 2023 BMW 760i xDrive all-wheel drive model that features an all-new V-8 engine. BMW is confident they have pre-programmed the new 7’s powertrain development to be compliant with global regulation expectations beyond 2030.
The 4.4-liter turbocharged V-8 gets a new cross-bank exhaust manifold, added external oil cooling with a new oil pump and lighter oil sump, improved turbocharger performance, and it’s linked to a 48-volt mild hybrid starter-generator system connected to a new eight-speed sport transmission with adaptive recuperation (regenerative braking). The new V-8 is good for 536 horsepower (the same output as the new i7) with peak torque of 553 lb-ft. It gets from 0 to 60 mph in an estimated 4.2 seconds.
The new 760i is joined by the 2023 BMW 740i s-Drive, which gets a upgraded Miller-cycle 3.0-liter turbocharged I-6 engine (now referred to as codename “B58TU2”), with redesigned combustion chambers and intake ports, variable camshaft timing, and it’s also linked to a 48-volt mild hybrid system with the new sport transmission.
The updated I-6 mild hybrid setup makes 375 hp (up 40 hp over the equivalent outgoing setup) and peak torque of 383 lb-ft, though you can briefly get up to 398 lb-ft with an acceleration boost feature. BMW claims it gets from 0 to 60 mph in 5 seconds. BMW confirmed to journalists in a roundtable meeting last week that there would be no future V-12 offering (outside of the Rolls Royce catalog).
The onboard 48-volt system is good for an additional 147 lb-ft of torque and a boosted power output of 12 horsepower, sucking energy from a 48-volt battery under the trunk that is recharged by the regenerative braking system. It can also feed power to the car’s 12-volt electrical system.
The all-electric i7 model features a heated 101.7-usable-kWh battery pack linked to two electric motor drive units, one on each axle, dropping a combined output of 536 hp and 549 lb-ft of torque—specifically tuned to closely match its sibling 760i ICE model. We’ve gone into greater detail about the BMW i7 in our model-specific rundown of that sedan that’s also up now.
A Flexible Platform
The new 7 sits on a wider track, growing 1.9 inches up front and 0.16 inches in the rear, and rides on larger wheels and wider tires for improved body rigidity and handling capability. It rides on revised double-wishbone front suspension and a five-link rear suspension setup, with a new elastic steering gear mounting to “improve acoustic properties” and new hydro mounts for the rear axle that improve ride comfort.
All 7 Series models get standard two-axle adaptive air suspension with auto self-leveling and electronically controlled dampers, with localized balancing of the air supply at each wheel which helps maintain “optimum ride height” even at high speeds. Ride height drops 0.4 inch in Sport mode, and the car will drop that much no matter what at speeds above 87 mph. Alternatively, the suspension can optionally be raised by 0.8 inch. BMW’s all-wheel steer system, Integral Active Steering, is optional on the 740i but standard on the 760i xDrive, which reduces the car’s turning radius by 2.5 feet.
The BMW “M Sport Package” that’s normally an option on other models is standard for the two combustion cars, but optional at no extra cost on the i7. That means 20- or 21-inch M wheels on mixed high-performance, or all-season tires, a flat-bottomed steering wheel, and darker exterior trim. BMW made a note to point out none of these are runflats, for those of us who dislike the type. The optional M Sport Professional Package adds M Sport brakes with black or blue calipers, adds a small rear spoiler, and removes the light-up grille feature on the car.
What’s New Inside? Screens. Lots Of Screens.
There’s a huge new curved display featuring BMW’s latest version of iDrive infotainment stretching from the center console to behind the steering wheel. Gesture control is still a thing, and the new interior layout is specifically mapped for gesture (hand-waving, spinning, etc.) and voice control, with minimal touchpoints. A new BMW Interaction Bar turns the crystal trim strip into a touch-sensitive control panel, featuring climate control, hazard lights, glove compartment opening, and the door-close button.
Merino leather is standard on the the 760i xDrive, and the six-cylinder BMW 740i is upholstered with a new Veganza leather-like material, available in four colors. A roof mounted camera lets the driver peer into the rear seats, but also lets owners check in on the car remotely using the vehicle’s paired phone application. BMW says it can also take selfies of the occupants, if you want.
The new 7 also comes with two 5G-compatible mobile chips, one for the vehicle systems, and another personal one that can be optioned for making calls and connecting to internet-connected applications on the new curved display. In the rear, the Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System with headrest speakers can be utilized for making and accepting phone calls.
A Literal Movie Theater
Enjoy riding in your full-size luxury sedan more than driving it? The new 7’s pièce de résistance is the optional $4,750 rear theater experience that is as ridiculous as it sounds. A 31.3-inch 8K touchscreen display with Amazon Fire TV is mounted to the roof in the rear passenger area, and electronically folds up and out of the way when not in use. Other applications, including YouTube and Netflix, can be signed into under various user profiles for a tailored user experience. Click on your profile, and you should be signed into all your stuff, probably just like your Fire-equipped TV at home.
Some of the vehicle’s sound animations have been composed by Oscar-winning Hans Zimmer, who has also composed melodic drive soundtracks for the all-electric (and pretty silent, otherwise) i7 model. The theater’s start up animation melody is one of the composed sounds.
BMW has teamed up with Mobileye for the 7th-gen 7 Series, claiming the car features the world’s first application of new 8.0-megapixel cameras that reduce the amount of hardware required for the sensor and camera array, while doubling the amount of measurable data points for the onboard driver assistance systems to analyze.
The optional Driving Assistance Professional Package with Highway Assistant allows the driver to go hands-free on highways at speeds up to 80 mph, with a driver monitoring system to make sure they remain focused on the road ahead and can take over operation if needed. Optional BMW Live Cockpit Professional offers an augmented reality video feed on the screen ahead of the driver, with readout and guidance information mapped over a live feed of the driver’s perspective.
Other driver assistance systems include Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go functionality, Speed Limit Assist, Lane Departure Warning, City Collision Mitigation, Automated Parking, as well as Steering and Lane Control assist. BMW promises that drivers will have a lot of control over the vehicle’s drive settings, if you still want to turn things off and let loose. Will all this new tech successfully distract from the 7’s unique front-end styling? Or will that styling be a feature, not a bug? Only time will tell.
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