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BMW Reins In The
3-Series by TCC Team (2/21/2005)
Automaker plays it safer with the new 3er.
A couple of weeks before its world premiere at the Geneva Auto Show, BMW has released pictures and details of the new 7-Series. But even better, just before the opening of the show, TCC had the opportunity to drive the new flagship sedan.
2006 BMW 750iEnlarge Photo
The fourth generation of the 7-Series was launched in
November 2001, and although the styling generated heated discussions, the ‘7’
has proven to be more successful than its predecessor: with 160,000 cars sold in
38 months, BMW has seen an increase in sales of eight percent.
On a preview drive for the press, Dr. Burkhard Göschel, member of the Management Board of BMW AG, said that in spite of the controversy, BMW had to differentiate the 7-Series more from the 5-Series: “Both models differed only in size, not in the concept. The 7-Series was basically a big 5. Our decision was met publicly with much debate. You know about that and it’s good. BMW is an emotional brand.”
With the mid-cycle model update, unveiled in
The 7er’s design has been
moderately altered, mainly by refining some lines, such as the shape of the
headlights, and the integrated spoiler at the rear. The rear does not look as
plump anymore and you definitely do not get the feeling the rear lid is actually
somewhat (0.78 inches) higher. The updated 7-Series also has a new kidney
grille, front and rear fascias, xenon headlights and different rear lights.
There are more chrome details and new materials in the interior. The iDrive
system has been refined, too.
The changes on the exterior are not only for the looks. Designer Jürgen Hassmann explained that they also improve aerodynamics and downforce.
Most important for the updated 7-Series is the renewal of the engine range. Five of its six engines are new or modified; the two-year-old V-12 remains unchanged. The new powerplants offer not only better performance, but also reduced fuel consumption. The V-8 in the 750i has an increased displacement (from 4.4 to 4.8 liters), with a power output of 360 hp and 360 lb-ft of torque. The 750i accelerates from 0-60 in 5.8 seconds and reaches a top speed of 150 mph.
The 750i was also the
version available for our first test drive in the south of
In the 7-Series, even
dynamic driving goes in style. Under normal conditions and even on wet road, the
car remains steady on track, rarely if ever reaching its adhesion limit and
therefore never letting the driver feel out of control. And even though the
roads in this part of
I still had to fiddle with the cantankerous iDrive. When driving it’s simple to go into navigation mode, but changing the view on screen or getting to other settings takes practice.
What I like best about
the new 750i, aside from its marvelous engine, is that the car “fits,” like a
shoe that has been worn, not too tight, not too wide. And that does not always
apply to a big car like the 750i, which is 198.4 inches long. Will the
long-wheelbase L-versions fit? They are 5.5 inches longer than the normal
versions, with a wheelbase stretched from 117.7 to 123.1 inches.
You’ll find that out later. The new BMW 7-Series will arrive in
2005 BMW 750i
Base price: $70,000 (est.)
Engine: 4.8-liter V-8, 360 hp/360 lb-ft
Transmission: Sequential six-speed automatic, rear-wheel-drive
Length x width x height: 198.4 x 74.9 x 58.7 in
Wheelbase: 117.7 in
Curb weight: 4486 lb
Fuel economy (EPA city/hwy): N/A
Safety equipment: Dual front airbags, anti-lock brakes, stability control, side airbags
Major standard features: Automatic climate control, power windows/mirrors/locks, electric rear defroster, 18-inch wheels, cruise control, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, CD changer/MP3 player
Warranty: Four years/50,000 miles