Introduced in April as the most controversially styled model in over a decade, the new BMW 7 Series has officially been priced for South Africa, along with the equally polarising facelift X7.
Following the example of the X7 that premiered before it, the 7 Series adopts a look described as “bold” and “expressive” by Head of Design, Domagoj Dukec, in that it boasts a split headlight design, expansive kidney grilles and the option of having Swarovski crystals in conjunction with the previously optional Adaptive LED headlights.
Known internally as the G70, the seventh generation 7 Series marks another change in the moniker’s 45 year history by being the first since the original not to offer a long wheelbase derivative. Compared to the outgoing G11, the G70 is 123 mm longer (5 391 mm), 65 mm higher (1 544 mm), 48 mm wider (1 950 mm) and five millimetres longer (3 125 mm) in the wheelbase department. Inside, the iX inspired interior sees most of the major functions moving to the 14.9-inch Curved Display infotainment system, flanked by a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and what BMW calls an “interaction bar” at the base of the dash itself.
Arguably the biggest inclusion is the new 31.8-inch drop-down rear screen with 4K called BMW Theatre Screen. Along with a pair of wireless Bluetooth earphones, rear window shades, two 5.5-inch displays integrated into the door handles and seats able to recline 42.5-degrees, the setup, developed in collaboration with Hollywood film composer Hans Zimmer, sports an optional 36-speaker Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround system capable of delivering 1 965-watts.
As before, a myriad of materials, fibres and colours can be selected, in addition to the panoramic sky lounge roof and Merino leather/cashmere. For South Africa, the 7 Series line-up comprises three trim levels; Design Pure Excellence, M Sport and M Sport Pro, all available with a choice of three engines. In the case of the 740i, a 3.0-litre turbocharged straight-six with mild-hybrid assistance features with outputs of 280kW/520Nm. Backing it up is the 740d xDrive that makes 210kW/650Nm from its 3.0-litre straight-six turbodiesel.
Both units are mated as standard to an eight-speed Steptronic gearbox, though in the case of the oil-burner, drive is routed to all four corners via the xDrive all-wheel-drive system. At the top of the range is the all-electric i7 which replaces the M760Li xDrive now offered in select markets only. Powered by a 101.7-kWh lithium-ion battery pack, the i7 xDrive 60 makes 400kW/745Nm, which allows it to get from 0-100 km/h in 4.7 seconds and on to a top speed of 250 km/h. The claimed range is 628 km. Availability is set to commence from the fourth quarter of this year.
As the first model to receive the split headlight design, the X7 immediately copped extensive criticism as it provided the preview for the 7 Series as mentioned. While little changed at the rear, the tweaks inside to the four year old interior include the Curved Display, a new steering wheel and seats, the new centre console with a toggle switch for the eight-speed Steptronic ‘box and standard quad-zone climate control.
Unlike the 7 Series, the BMW Theatre Screen is not available at present, with the flagship being two dual screens and a 20-speaker 3D Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound system individually available from the options list. As with the international range, the X7’s engine line-up for South Africa has been cut to two with the xDrive 30d, xDrive 50i and quad-turbodiesel M50d falling completely away, leaving the xDrive 40d and the M60i. A no-no is the xDrive 40i offered elsewhere.
Redesigned internally, the former comprises the familiar 3.0-litre straight-six being paired to a 48-volt mild-hybrid system, which ups torque from 700 Nm to 720 Nm for short periods. Power is otherwise unchanged at 250 kW. Like the 7 Series, the X7 xDrive 40d is offered in three trim levels; Design Pure Excellence, M Sport and M Sport Pro. For the M60i, the M Performance and M Sport Pro trim grades have been selected, however, neither comes with any power and torque adjustments, meaning figures of 390kW/750Nm from the mild-hybrid 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8. As with the 7 Series, availability of the X7 will start from the fourth quarter of the year. At the time of going to print, pricing for Botswana market was still to be provided.