Subtle changes in appearance coupled with a host of welcome feature enhancements and significant powertrain upgrades add even more appeal to the 2013 BMW 7 Series lineup. Every iteration of the automaker's flagship sedan -- including the now even greener and more fuel-efficient ActiveHybrid 7 -- steps up its game on every level.
Exterior changes to the 2013 BMW 7 Series are modest, and largely confined to understated tweaks to the fascia. These are highlighted by wider grille frames filled with nine instead of 12 blade elements and reshaped lower air intakes. While the 740i/750i and their long wheelbase "Li" siblings are fitted with standard Adaptive Xenon headlights, both will be available with full-LED upgrades for 2013 lamps that are included on the new 760Li.
Inside, the 2013 BMW 7 Series further refines the luxurious look and feel of its predecessor while gaining even better isolation characteristics. Redesigned seats add comfort and support while new graphics for the main instrument cluster and the central information display plus improved interface software promise to make all man-machine interactions more pleasant. Similar improvements are found in the upgraded navigation system that offers 3D graphics along with a host of new features including full speech recognition with optimized voice control. A new Bang & Olufsen High-End Surround Sound System joins the options roster of the new 7 Series and the available Rear Seat Entertainment Package has been redone, gaining its own iDrive controller as well as a pair of 9.2-inch LCD screens, each of which appears to be "floating" against the front seatback.
All versions of the 2013 BMW 7 Series benefit from some type of powertrain enhancement. The 740i/740Li are fitted with a revised version of BMW's 3.0-liter TwinPower Turbo inline-6 that continues to turn out 315 horsepower but is now backed by a new 8-speed Steptronic automatic used in all other 7 Series models instead of the previous 6-speed autoshifter. That new pairing is expected to generate a significant boost in EPA ratings. Bolstering that mileage-maxing effort - as they will in all new 7 Series models - are Auto Start-Stop, Brake Energy Regeneration and the second-generation of the automaker's Driving Dynamics Control with ECO PRO mode that includes a new "coasting mode" that can completely decouple the engine from the driving wheels at speeds between 30-100 mph. For the first time, BMW will offer its xDrive intelligent all-wheel-drive system as an option on the 740Li.
The 4.4-liter TwinPower Turbo V8 in the 750i/750Li enjoys even more of these good things, adding BMW's Valvetronic intake system to its twin-turbo plumbing, changes that bumps output from 400 to 445 horsepower and brings 30 lb ft of additional peak torque. In addition to improving performance, this upgrade also promises some major gains -- on the order of 20-25 percent - in fuel efficiency.
While the 535-horspower/6.0-liter V12 in the flagship 760Li model carries over intact, it's a far different story for the ActiveHybrid 7, which will only be offered in the U.S. with a long-wheelbase configuration. For 2013, the 4.4-liter V8 used in the past gets replaced with the 315-horsepower inline-6 fitted to the revamped 740i/Li. It's matched with a 55-horse electric motor linked to a lithium-ion battery pack and an 8-speed Steptronic autotrans. Combined system output is now 349 horsepower and 367 lb-ft of torque, and while hard numbers have yet to be released, the ActiveHybrid 7's fuel economy definitely will be higher and its emissions levels lower.
Other changes of note include revamped suspension tuning that includes new self-leveling rear air suspension on all models as well as driver-selectable Dynamic Damper Control. Rear-drive 7 Series models can now be ordered with Integral Active Steering that combines BMW's Active Steering system for the front wheels with rear-wheel steering.
The 2013 BMW 740i/740Li, 750i/750Lio and 760Li will arrive in showrooms this summer with the 2013 ActiveHybrid 7 set to show up early this fall.