It’s been a bit of a tease fest, but the 2016 BMW 7 Series has finally made its official debut. Not only does the 7er have a new look, but it also has tons of new features to tinker around with.
In terms of appearance, the 2016 7 Series is exclusively available as the long-wheelbase version here in the U.S., making it about an inch longer than its predecessor. Also new is the more upright kidney grille with additional vertical bars, to-the-grille headlights with redesigned graphics, a stretched lower air intake, a new double swage line, a wraparound side window frame, a chrome strip that runs from the air breather just behind the front wheel toward the rear of the car, and taillight graphics that flow with the swage line.
BMW also spent time enhancing the structure of the new 7 Series, making it lighter yet more ridged. Helping in this task is carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic. This lightweight material is the basis for the 7 Series’ Carbon Core architecture, which combines with lightweight aluminum and high-strength steel, to drop the 7 Series’ weight by up to 190 pounds.
The 7 Series is initially available in three models, none of which are an M-Series. The base model is the 740i, which features a 3.0-liter inline-six engine that produces 320 horsepower – 5 more horsepower than the 2015 model — and 330 pound-feet of torque. The 750i xDrive (there is no rear-wheel-drive version of the 2016 750i) comes with a revised version of the 4.4-liter V-8 that carries on with the same 445 horsepower and 480 pound-feet of torque, but has increased efficiency.
The most notable of the 7 Series models it the new 740e xDrive plug-in hybrid, which features a 2.0-liter TwinPower Turbo engine and an electric drive unit. While BMW did not release the official output of this model, I would anticipate about 300 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque. What’s more, this hybrid can travel up to 23 miles and up to speeds of 75 mph on electricity only.
All three versions of the 2016 7 Series come standard with an eight-speed Steptronic automatic transmission. This transmission helps increase efficiency by using navigation data to plan shifting and by decoupling itself from the engine when coasting between 31 and 100 mph. Also a part of the equation are paddle shifters and launch control.
On the tech side of things, the 2016 7 Series gains the new iDrive 5.0 touch display with gesture control. This gesture control system is a first for BMW, and it uses a selected group of hand movements to access certain features. The driver can also customize this to his liking. Also included is a dynamic digital instrument cluster, wireless charging, ambient lighting, a sky lounge LED roof, an optional Bowers & Wilkins Diamond surround sound system with 1,400 watts and 16 speakers, BMW ConnectedDrive, a heads-up display, and the oft-teased new-generation Parking Assistant. The latter is the most anticipated addition to the 7 Series, as it now performs the entire act of parking for you, both into parallel and perpendicular spaces, without the driver doing anything. In the old Parking Assistant, the driver needed to handle gear shifting, braking, and accelerating.
The 2016 7 Series will arrive in dealers in the fall of 2015. The 740i will start from $81,300 and the 750i xDrive will base from $97,400. There is no pricing available for the 740e xDrive yet, but BMW does mention that it will not arrive until 2016.