BMW’s largest sedan, the 7 Series, has been on sale since 2008, and while it’s managed to hold off competitors like the Audi A8, Jaguar XJ, and Lexus LS, the Mercedes S-Class continues to dominate the segment. BMW isn’t OK with that, and it thinks its next-generation 7 Series has the answer to sales success. The car itself has only been seen in spy photos, but BMW announced quite a few details prior to its latest big sedan’s reveal. So other than that it will be spacious and expensive, what do we know?
Perhaps the biggest news is that, like in the i8, BMW is using carbon fiber-reinforced plastic in combination with steel and aluminum to make the chassis of the new 7 Series both stronger and lighter than before. That leads to a lighter body overall and means the new 7 Series will be up to 286 pounds lighter than before. Chassis technology has been advancing rapidly lately, but BMW’s use of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic in the chassis is one of the biggest leaps forward in a very long time.
While most owners won’t notice their state-of-the-art chassis construction, they will notice the state-of-the-art technologies that the 7 Series offers. The iDrive infotainment system has been updated and finally comes with a touch screen to simplify its use. Additionally, iDrive now works with gesture-based controls as well, allowing drivers to give commands without actually touching buttons or using voice control. How intuitive the gesture controls turn out to be has yet to be shown, but it’s a fascinating feature nonetheless.
A flagship luxury sedan has to have a luxurious ride, and BMW claims that the new 7 Series is not only incredibly comfortable but surprisingly sporty as well. An automatic, self-leveling air suspension is standard, as well as an adaptive damper control system that should all the driver to change between suspension settings. The steering has been updated and improved, and BMW has also included a roll stabilization system. Working together, these systems should make the new 7 Series comfortable, quiet, and composed, even on winding roads.
Safety technology is also on the list, with the option for a Driving Assistant package or a Driving Assistant Plus package to up the level of near-autonomous driving. Lane departure warning, active side collision prevention, rear collision prevention, and rear cross-traffic alert systems are all in place, as well as adaptive cruise control that automatically detects changing speed limits. When it detects a change, the driver can push a button and the car will slow down or speed up to the new speed.
The party piece on the new 7 Series is probably its automatic parking functions. Using a key fob with a remote control and LCD display screen, the driver can control the car from outside the vehicle. At the push of a button, the car will pull into or out of either a garage or parking space entirely on its own. If it can work reliably, it will be cool to show off, and probably be useful getting into and out of tight parking spaces as well.
The next BMW 7 Series looks like it’s set to be a huge step forward compared to the current generation, but the new S-Class has already made quite a sales splash. Will the new BMW be enough to make up that ground and dethrone its rival from Mercedes? Innovative features, technology, and construction are all good things, but sales are what counts, and BMW needs more of them. If any flagship luxury sedan can beat the new Mercedes S-Class, it will be this BMW 7 Series.