The history book for 1977 is filled to the brim. Jimmy Carter becomes US President, the RAF is raging in Germany, Abba dominates the charts and Elvis Presley leaves the stage of life. The “Star Wars” is coming to cinemas from Hollywood. Munich is also experiencing a kind of “Star Wars”: Because the first big sevens from BMW blows to attack the apparently unbeatable star, the S-Class from Mercedes. An infinite story, the latest chapter of which is now beginning. The duo of the 8s has now become a trio that supplies the rich and powerful of this world with luxury cars of a special kind. S-Class, Audi A 7 and the BMW XNUMX Series dominate the reserved chief parking spaces and government vehicle fleets.
“All of our knowledge and passion are in the new 7 Series,” says the new BMW boss Harald Krüger, who has only been in office for a month. “We are setting new standards and making a quantum leap in assistance systems,” adds Klaus Fröhlich, Head of Development. “Modern luxury has to be simple,” says chief designer Adrian van Hooydonk, describing his latest creation. The Munich management revel in professional self-confidence at the premiere of their flagship. And has some superlatives ready: the smartest car in the world, the lightest and most economical in its class and the first car that can park without a driver on board. Everything well packaged in a new dress, which, however, does not make the previous model look old. "We have a rather conservative clientele who would not forgive radical changes," said a high-ranking BMW manager behind closed doors.
He is new anyway, the grown by three inches, now 5,10 meter long Nobel BMW. The largest radiator kidney of all current models, touched on both sides by the narrow LED or laser headlights. Sharp folds on the hood, only a striking body line on the other hand, which also leads through the middle of the door handles. As always, the rear is bulky and visually short, with slimmer LED taillights than before. In sum, the 7er looks despite equal width more present and powerful, sovereign claims its position as the sportiest interpretation of a luxury sedan.
BMW now calls the interior "Executive Lounge" and means above all the classy design of the rear seats, from which most of the future owners go on tour. In addition to fine materials that are waiting to be ordered in the thick price list, there is plenty of room for manager's legs. Especially in the again 14 centimeter longer L version. The right front seat back can be folded forward, so that behind it a kind of easy chair is possible, the user can make long thanks to an extendable footrest. Of course, BMW copied the perfume fragrance of the S-Class, offers massage functions and in addition to the heated seats and the cooling. Everything is controlled by a kind of iPad, which has its fixed place in the rear center console and is also removable.
The cockpit of the driver or self-driving owner is dominated by fully digital instruments and the large monitor. Various functions can also be controlled by gestures by hand. Swipe when stopping a call, turning your fingers to adjust the volume and much more. Everything is watched by a purposefully mounted camera. The monitor can also be operated via touchscreen, which was previously frowned upon in the luxury class. "People have gotten used to the fingerprints that have stayed behind," explains Elmar Frickenstein, head of the electrical and electronics department. The silver once invented by BMW and copied everywhere turn-push-wheel between the front seats remains intact.
Under the sheet lurks one of the most important innovations in the Bavarian flagship. The body is made of a material mix of carbon, steel, aluminum and magnesium, is about 200 kilograms lighter. However, only a few 130 kilos remain due to various new installations for comfort or safety. Still enough to set new records for consumption. Sparmeister is the 195 kW / 265 PS strong entry-level diesel 730d with only 4,5 liters of standard fuel consumption on 100 kilometers. Also on a three-liter six-cylinder is the 740i petrol engine (240 kW / 326 PS) approved the 6,6 liter. Even the most powerful 7er with its 4,4-liter eight-cylinder engine (330 kW / 450 PS) is considerably more frugal with 8,1 liters than before. In total, the engineers managed to consume up to 20 percent less fuel. This is followed by a plug-in hybrid with a fully rechargeable battery for 40 kilometers of pure electric driving. Theoretical consumption: just 2,1 liters on 100 kilometers. For all versions, the electronic tempo brake starts as usual from 250 km / h.
The new BMW lightness of being should also offer a lively driving pleasure, which is supported by standard air suspension and suspension control as well as by the optional all-wheel steering or the all-wheel drive. This is where the more sophisticated assistance systems come into play. Such as a kind of motorway pilot, which also steers automatically around bends thanks to lane detection up to 210 km / h. The hand can be taken off the steering wheel for eight seconds.
The world premiere: The future driver can get off when it comes to parking in garages or so-called head parking. A push of a button in the key makes the 7er slip into the gap, cameras discover potential obstacles. This is not yet possible when parking in the street, a person has to be behind the wheel here, but can relax. Not only does his BMW steer automatically, but it also gives off gas, brakes and shifts gears.
All this has its price. With 81.900 Euro, the entry fee for the 7er series for Diesel increases by around 5.000 Euro. The strong eight-cylinder costs 107.500 Euro. The many subtleties of the price list will once again swallow at least 10.000 Euro. The Über-BMW comes onto the road from the 27. October, can be admired beforehand at the IAA in September.
Author: Peter Maahn / SP-X