2006 BMW 7-Series Preview

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Henny Hemmes Henny Hemmes Editor
February 27, 2005

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2006 BMW 750i

2006 BMW 750i

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.

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 inGeneva today, BMW stayed on track, convinced by its sales success and the fact that the 7-Series took the lead in the luxury segment in its home market last year.

Freshened up

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.

Spanish dancing        

The 750i was also the version available for our first test drive in the south of Spain . We covered more than 400 miles in the beautiful Andalusia area and on the freeway along the coast. Upon return after the first leg, the BMW staff was curious about our impressions, especially of the new engine. When I say that I would have liked to hear the more typical V-8 rumble, the answer is that buyers do not want that. What applies to the new engine, also works for the new 7-Series: without a direct comparison with the current version, that is already very good, it is hard to make out differences. But yes, the 4.8-liter V-8 has an enormous torque that you regularly need when overtaking the slow trucks on the mountain roads. Step on the gas, count to three while listening to the suppressed engine sound and the mission is completed.

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 Spain are a bit small and curvy for a sporty driver with such a big sedan, it is still fun to drive the 750i, as its character can easily be qualified as dynamic. The changes on the suspension undoubtedly add to this feeling. The rear track of the 7-Series is now 0.55 inches wider and three suspension settings are available: standard, Adaptive Drive, and sports suspension. The

Adaptive Drive
Dynamic Drive
with continuously adjustable damper controls.

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 North America by early May.

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

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