By Matt DeLorenzo
The time and effort taken by BMW in making over its flagship 7 Series, the first major redesign in seven years, are apparent in the attention to detail, improvements in ride and handling, and above all, groundbreaking technology in infotainment and driver assists. BMW will again be bringing only its long-wheelbase models to America, offering two turbocharged engines, an inline-6 and a V8, the former for the rear-drive 740i, the latter for the all-wheel-drive 750i xDrive. For now, the 2016 BMW 7 Series will not have a V12 option; the 2015 model will have to suffice. Also, BMW has dropped the 6-cylinder turbodiesel and Active Hybrid in favor of adding a fuel-sipping plug-in hybrid later.
For those who hanker for prestige, swift acceleration and finely tuned handling, the BMW 7 Series is the ticket with a more compliant ride, thanks to a new air-suspension system. BMW has long prided itself on building the Ultimate Driving Machine, and now it has a silky-smooth ride to go with it.
Don't look here for the latest edition of Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Despite all the advancements in its infotainment and connectivity, the new BMW 7 Series doesn’t have these two emerging platforms as options.
This is a new 7 Series inside and out, with an all-new high-strength-steel, aluminum and carbon-fiber structure that reduces weight even as the car grows in overall length and adds features and technology. The revamped suspension on the 2016 7 Series incorporates air springs and active rear steering.
The 2016 BMW 7 Series retains its nimble spirit of athleticism, but has greatly enhanced ride comfort without sacrificing the car’s road-holding abilities. With the new air suspension come adjustable...
... dampers that can be equipped with an option that reads the road ahead to adapt to conditions in real time. Driver modes include Comfort, Comfort+ and Sport. There’s also an Adaptive mode that allows the system to monitor your driving style and automatically adjust the car’s response to match inputs. A revamped 8-speed automatic transmission offers smooth transitions between gears, and a new feature integrates data from the navigation system to anticipate the road ahead in its shift patterns. For the enthusiast, the 2016 BMW 7 Series retains the traditional manual paddle shifters, and also has a launch-control mode for high-performance starts.
SMART KEY FOB
It’s not just any key fob, this stand-alone option incorporates a small touch screen that allows you to remotely control and monitor any number of vehicle features and systems on the 2016 BMW 7 Series including fuel status, range and maintenance requirements.
As part of the fifth generation of BMW’s iDrive, the 2016 7 Series introduces gesture control. With a sweep of your hand, you can accept or decline a phone call, adjust the volume or program a specific command, like telling the navigation system to map a route home by pointing two fingers at the dash.
The new BMW 7 Series interior features elegant wood veneer, aluminum trim and chrome accents. On 740i models, buyers choose from five colors of Dakota leather with Nappa leather as an option, while 750i xDrive models are all equipped with the latter. There’s plenty of room in the rear seat thanks to the car’s long wheelbase design. All models are equipped with a 2-section panoramic moonroof. A Rear Executive Lounge Seating package features seatbacks that recline and a fold-out footrest. This package comes with a Touch Command Tablet for rear-seat passengers to control seat adjustments, as well as navigation and infotainment.
The 6th-generation BMW 7 Series can best be described as an evolution of the previous model despite its all-new sheet metal and extended overall length. The twin-kidney grille is more pronounced, and it incorporates a new active-shutter system to improve aerodynamics and fuel efficiency by remaining closed until cooling air is needed. The profile of the car features a striking new chrome accent that drops down from the front fender vent and sweeps rearward. The side glass is framed by a chrome strip and the famed Hofmeister kink at the C-pillar is incorporated into the rear door. In back are LED taillights and twin chrome exhaust tips.
The 2016 BMW 740i comes equipped with 10-way-power driver’s seat (20-way seats in the 750i xDrive), 600-watt harman/kardon sound system, leather heated seats, rearview camera, iDrive 5.0 with touch pad, 10.2-inch touch screen and eight programmable memory buttons, navigation, keyless entry and start, power trunklid, soft-close doors, panoramic moonroof, 4-zone climate control, power tilt/telescope steering column, rain-sensing wipers and park-distance control. New for this year is gesture control, wireless charging and a redesigned head-up display on 750i models. Standard safety items include front and side airbags as well as BMW’s Active Protection System, which pretensions the seatbelts, closes windows and moonroof and activates post-crash braking.
A full suite of driver assists is available: night vision, 3D surround-view cameras, rear-crossing traffic warnings, lane-departure warning and assist, frontal-collision and pedestrian warnings, blind-spot detection and cruise control with stop-and-go function. The new generation of parking assistant can automatically park the car in both parallel and perpendicular spaces and has an autonomous braking feature. Optional audio is a Bowers & Wilkens Diamond surround-sound system featuring a 10 channel amp with 1,400 watts delivering sound to 16 speakers. An optional Panoramic Sky Lounge roof uses LED modules to light etchings in the moonroof to create a starlit-sky effect in a choice of six different colors.
With just two models at launch, the 2016 BMW 740i and 2016 BMW 750i xDrive, the powertrain choices have been dramatically pared back for the new model year, as both the diesel and Active Hybrid models have been dropped, though a plug-in hybrid will join the lineup sometime during the 2016 calendar year. Also, the high-performance Alpine B7 model will not be initially available as a 2016, nor is there a V12 model. The only transmission is an 8-speed automatic.
3.0-liter twin-turbocharged inline-6 (740i)
320 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm
330 lb-ft of torque @ 1,380 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/29 mpg
4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 (750i xDrive)
445 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
480 lb-ft of torque @ 1,800-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/25 mpg
With just two basic models on offer in the 2016 BMW 7 Series lineup, pricing is also streamlined with the 740i model starting with a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $81,300 plus $995 destination, while the 750i xDrive is $97,400 plus $995 delivery. The twin-turbo 6-cylinder BMW 740i compares favorably with the base 2016 Mercedes-Benz S550 sedan, which is V8-powered and lists at $96,650 plus $925 destination. The 2016 Mercedes-Benz S550 4Matic, which is similar to the 750i xDrive, lists at $98,650 plus 925 destination. Do check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price to see what folks in your area are paying for their new 7 Series BMW. While this is a new 7 Series, it should be noted that resale values for the big BMW tend towards average rather than exceptional.