We have attended the 2016 BMW 7-Series preview event yesterday night at Beverly Hills, California. During the event we have the opportunity to experience two pre-production 750i xDrive sedans: one with the executive lounge 4-seat configuration, another is the MSport version.
Above image: an artist rendering of the 2016 7 Series, compared to what I have seen in the event this rendering is 95% identical to the actual vehicle
We are not allowed to bring any cameras or cellphones into the event location, but for how the new G11/G12 7 Series looks there are already plenty of photos and renderings leaked on the internet, the above is one of them. We will provide you more in the gallery in the bottom of this article. During the event, we have a brief chat with Paul Ferraiolo, Product Planning and Strategy Manager of BMW NA.
There is another preview event held for press/media only in the morning of 05/13 at the same location, and BMW has provided more details on the car at that time. So we know much more than the information we are going to provide in this article. However, BMW specifically asked us not to share those info now, until sometime in June or July. If you are interested in more details about the 2016 7 series, please check back our website later, we will publish what we have known once we get permission from BMW NA.
Here are information and details we observed on the scene, or from the conversation with Mr. Ferraiolo (below photos were taken outside of the nice hilltop house that BMW has rented for this event), and is allowed to publish at this time.
General Impression and Information
1. The new 7 Series looks more slick than the current model;
2. It looks less masculine and bold than the current F01 7 Series;
3. The 750i units in the event are long-wheel-base version, but they only have “750i” badge attached to the trunk lid. BMW NA is debating whether to bring the short-wheel-base version into the US market for the 2016 model year;
4. The engine cover looks/feels like a piece of black plastic, cannot tell whether it is made with carbon fiber or not;
5. There will be an eDrive version, equipped with the latest N48 2.0L 4-cylinder turbocharged engine, plus an electric motor;
6. For the US market, the 2016 7-Series will arrive at dealerships starting mid-December this year, before the Christmas holiday;
1. The 2016 750i is still powered by the twin-turbo N63 V8 engine, with “BMW TwinPower Turbo” letters on the engine cover, redline is 7,000 RPM;
2. 750i LWB xDrive 0-60 time: 4.3 seconds;
3. 750i LWB xDrive with lounge seating package GVWR is 5,950 lbs; with MSport package is 5,870 lbs (compared to 2015 750i: 5,735 lbs). Please pay attention this is not the curb weight;
4. At least 2 sets of tire sizes, one is 19-inch; another is 20-inch. The 20-in wheel is the size that we saw in last night’s event. Front tire size: 245/40R20, rear tire size: 275/35R20;
5. Opposed brake calipers (the new model changes the rear brake’s position to in front of the rear wheel axle)
6. I have looked under the 750i car body and checked out the rear suspension. From what I have seen, the lower control arm and some other parts are made with steel, NOT the full-aluminum construction like the current F01 7 series; and it also appears that the rear suspension of the new G11/G12 7 series has abandoned the H-arm design in the current 7 series (I am not 100% sure about this because of the limited vision angle and lighting on the scene)
7. The carbon fiber core of the A-pillar is made with a hollow-center carbon fiber tube with an approx. 2mm-thick wall;
1. LCD screen instrument cluster;
2. Wireless mobile device charging;
3. Remote car key with LCD display for basic vehicle information such as maintenance reminder, range etc.;
4. Lane departure warning now can steer the vehicle back into the lane automatically;
5. Basically speaking the new 7 series achieves the goal of semi-autonomous driving: after you set your upper speed limit, it can drive itself in the lane within the 0-130mph speed range, and it can even handle the case that the car in front of you suddenly makes a hard braking; but you need to have both of your hands on the steering wheel, otherwise the system will warn you and then be disconnected after about 10-15 seconds;
6. The iDrive now has touch screen; you can operate it directly by tapping on it, or using the new gesture control feature;
7. Optional upgraded B&W audio system with 16 speakers and a 1,400w amplifier;
8. It comes with the remote parking feature, however in the US market that functionality will not be enabled because of regulation concerns;
1. The height of the new 7 Series is lower than the current generation quite prominently;
2. It has the active kidney grille, the blinds behind it acts in multiphase: how wide it is opened is controlled by the computer and determined by how many cooling air/intake air the engine needs under different workload. When the car is standstill and the engine is idling, the blinds is shut;
3. It has two exhaust outlets integrated into the rear bumper; each outlet has two exhaust tips inside
4. Chrome exterior window trim is standard, even on the M Sport version;
1. The seating position is much lower than the current generation, very similar to the 3-series;
2. The headrest is softer than the current 7 series, really comfortable;
3. The multi-contour front seats have the same 20-way adjustment as the current 7 series;
4. More interior panels are wrapped with leather, for example the lower portion of the dash;
5. Fragrance ionization feature similar to the Mercedes-Benz S Class;
6. For models equipped with the optional rear seat adjustment packages, the controls are in the rear seat center armrest. The control is implemented on a Samsung pad which snaps into the control panel base. You can adjust the seat position, heating/cooling, massage programs, interior lighting, fragrance ionization etc. You can even take out the Samsung pad and carry it with you!
7. BMW changed its button style thoroughly: it is not the black one anymore, but instead in silver color with letters etched on it, similar to those in the Mercedes as shown in the below image:
Above image: the center console of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class
8. There is another small rectangular LCD touch screen in the AC control area, some of the AC functionality can be adjusted through this small touch screen;
9. All 2016 7 series sold in the US market comes with a glass panorama roof;
10. An optional upgrade of the panorama roof: more than 160,000 micro dots will be engraved into the glass in a special pattern; in night time there is a LED light source hidden inside the roof projecting lights to the glass; and the little dots reflect the lights and looks like they are lighting up themselves. The visual effect is stunning, and visually “grows” the ceiling of the car to be higher;
11. Wood trims on the dash and the side of each doors: there is a thin lighting stripe on top of it; and there is also another lighting source on the bottom, hiding behind the wood piece; there is also a large lamp with soft light installed on the window frame of the rear doors, near the B-pillar location;
12. Three level of options for the rear seats: (a). standard seating (seats 3 passengers) without adjustment and control; (b). upgraded (seats 3 passengers also) with adjustable outer seats, plus massage, heating/cooling feature etc.; (c). Lounge seating (seats 2): includes everything in (b), plus footrest for the right-hand-side seat and writing table etc.
Exterior/Interior Color Options
The following options are as of the time of the preview event, it may not be the final production options:
13 different exterior colors
12 different interior colors (6 Dakota leather, 6 Nappa leather)
6 different wood trims
For more published features, please see our previous article here.
The carbon fiber hybrid car body construction is an industry-first. The air suspension on all 4 wheels is a considerable upgrade (the current F01 7 series only has rear wheel air suspension). The acceleration performance is better than its major rival: the Mercedes S550. The interior looks more modern and material quality is better in some portions. The lighting and fancy technology features are a big step up than the current generation.
Something Need Improvement
For a full-size luxury sedan, I am not a big fan of sitting in a low position. If it is a sports car this is totally fine; but I do not consider this to be appropriate for a large sedan.
Also because of the total height of the new 7 Series is lower than the current one, it leads to a low cabin ceiling. This limits the seat height’s adjustment range (to avoid hitting passenger’s head), therefore no matter how the driver or the passengers adjust their seats, they cannot sit in a more upright position like what we can do in the current 7 Series.
I also do not like the styling of the dash: it is too similar to the latest 2/3/4 series, the difference is just it is leather-wrapped. Such styling works fine on lower-price models because those cars are more sport oriented and targeting at a younger customer base; For a large flagship sedan, people are talking about serious business and want it to look classy and calm – such frivolous styling just does not blend well into the large luxury sedan’s image. Generally speaking, it is too easy to let people think the new 7 series is just an enlarged 3 series.
Besides, there are several places that indicate signs of cost-cutting:
1. the most obvious one is the rear suspension – BMW changes it back to use steel, not the aluminum construction in the current 7 series. This is understandable: the cost of the carbon fiber hybrid construction of the car body may have higher cost than the traditional steel/aluminum structure, to keep the MSRP within similar range and maintain equivalent profit margin, BMW need to save the cost in other places;
2. Another example is the check strap that connects the door to the car body. The current 7 series is using a metal tube with hydraulic mechanism (parts MSRP is $126); however the pre-production 2016 750i I have seen in the event is using the plastic/spring type which can also be found in BMW’s lower-end models (such as the 2/3/4 series), and its MSRP is just around $47. It looks cheap and the feel of opening the door is not as silky smooth as the current 7 series too.
3. The central console is covered will full wood trim in the current 7 series; however this is not the case in the new 2016 model: its iDrive knob, transmission shifter are now surrounded by hard plastic; only the cup holder’s sliding cover has wood trim on top of it, but the sliding cover itself even feels very flimsy;
4. There are also some other places that can be done better. For example the inner door panel has a chrome metal trim on top of it in the current 7 series, but this is gone in the new model; also, the exterior chrome trim which surrounds the window has assembling quality issues and it is not 100% fit into the molding
This new 6th-generation 7 Series sedan has great innovations in body construction and some new technology features. Its chassis offers better ride comfort by using air suspension on all wheels. At the same time, cost concern also brings some regrets in several areas, the material downgrade of the rear suspension from aluminum to steel offsets some benefits of the air suspension; also I bet the interior styling will attract some criticism when it is officially unveiled later this year. Generally speaking, the improvement seems to be greater than the shortcomings, I am looking forward to test driving the new 750i when it is production-ready.
Note: the content described above is preliminary information available during the preview event, the final production details of the 2016 7 series has not been finalized yet. My observation may not be accurate due to insufficient lighting and other external factors on the scene, which limited my vision. Therefore, please use this article just for your reference, some of the content is not verified or confirmed by BMW.
These are exterior/interior photos leaked on the internet
Below are photos released by BMW