BMW has revealed the all-new seventh generation of its flagship 7-Series sedan, and those controversial split headlamps drafted in from the latest X7 SUV are arguably the least interesting talking points.
That’s because the 2023 7-Series also heralds the arrival of the model’s first-ever EV, the i7 xDrive60, and some pretty cool technology, like the humungous 31-inch rear screen that hangs down from the headliner to bring a whole new meaning to drive-in movies.
The arrival of a 7-Series EV is a pretty big deal, so while we’ll cover it here, along with the other variants in the range, we’ve also spun it off into a separate story (click the link below) for those that don’t want to get their electric car news contaminated with details about dirty, old fashioned fossil-fuel-burning dinosaurs.
Speaking of dinosaurs, while many buyers will be turned on by the idea of the 7-Series going electric, there’s still plenty here to keep ICE fans happy, including an entry-level car that’s 40 hp (41 PS) more powerful than before. The base 740i costs $93,300 (plus $995 destination) and comes with a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six featuring 48-volt mild-hybrid technology, and developing 375 hp (380 PS) and up to 398 lb-ft (540 Nm) in electrically-boosted mode.
Step up to the $113,600 (+ $995) 760i xDrive and you gain all-wheel drive, swap a six for a V8, still with mild-hybrid tech, and now have 536 hp (543 PS) and 553 lb-ft (750 Nm) at your disposal. That’s enough to chop 0.8 seconds from the 740i’s 5-second 0-60 mph (96 km/h) time.
Sadly, there’s no V12 in the range this time around, meaning the $119,300 (+ $995) i7 xDrive60 is the new flagship. Featuring two highly electric motors with a combined output of 536 hp (543 PS) and 549 lb-ft (744 Nm) of torque, it will sprint from 0-60 in about 4.5 seconds and take you 300 miles before requiring a fill.
Bigger and roomier
BMW might have made an effort to reduce the carbon footprint of the 7-Series by as much as 39 percent versus the old car, but its physical footprint is bigger than ever. The latest Seven has grown by 5.1 in (126 mm) in length and now measures 212.2 in (5.4 m) between the bumpers, making the standard short wheelbase car BMW revealed today close in size to the stretched version of the old car. The 126.6-in (3.2 m) wheelbase is only 0.2 in ( 5 mm) bigger than last year’s, but some of that extra overall length means luggage capacity in ICE versions gets a boost from 18.2 cu ft to 19.1 cu ft (the i7 makes do with 17.7 cu ft).
Like the latest X7, the 7-Series mates a huge pair of grille kidneys with a tiny set of headlamps, or at least that’s what BMW’s stylists want you to think. In fact, the top set of lights is merely DRLs, while the main headlight units are slightly hidden in a bumper recess below.
There are some interesting design changes along the side, too, in the form of flush door handles and a thick chunk of chrome on the C-pillar that really draws your eye to BMW’s famous Hofmeister kink. And taking a leaf out of Mercedes’ Maybach book, BMW is offering two-tone paint options through its BMW Individual service.
Choose M Sport Professional for maximum intimidation
But if you prefer your 7-Series to exude a sportier look, you’ll be heading for the M Sport package instead. Standard on the 740i and 760i xDrive and optional at no extra costs on the i7 xDrive60, it brings minor styling tweaks that can be upgraded further with the optional M Sport Package, (confusing, we know, but this one has a capital “P”) on the i7 xDrive60. Or you can go balls-out and specify the M Sport Professional Package on any of them, adding M Sport brakes with blue or black calipers, a small rear spoiler, and an extended Shadowline treatment.
7-Series introduces touch-sensitive Interaction Bar
Beyond the tautly surfaced doors, which feature Digital Key smartphone unlocking, and optional automatic opening and closing capability, there’s the now-familiar sight of BMW’s curved digital display that blends a digital instrument pack with a touchscreen infotainment system and the latest iDrive8 software. Like the BMW’s Mercedes S-Class rival, the latest 7-Series features 5G connectivity to allow passengers to watch video-on-demand services like YouTube, though not when the car is in motion.
There’s a smaller, redesigned shifter for the automatic transmission on the console, something we’ve seen on the X7, but what we haven’t seen before is the Interaction Bar, a touch-sensitive strip running right across the dashboard that provides ambient lighting while at the same time housing virtual buttons for many of the car’s features.
Back seats double as a movie theater
But for many 7-Series owners it’s what’s happening in the rear seats, and not those in the front, that really matters. Extending the voice assistant coverage to the rear compartment brings the 7-Series into line with its rivals, but the big news here is the availability of an optional 31-inch Theater Screen display suspended from a roof that sits 2-in closer to the clouds than the old car’s, resulting in a noticeable increase in rear headroom.
When passengers activate Theater Mode, the rear of the car is transformed into a private cinema, the 4K, Amazon Fire-equipped display screen is lowered, the sun shades are raised, and the seating angle and interior lighting are adjusted to help you get lost in the moving movie experience. Those rear seats can be reclined an impressive 42.5 degrees, so getting comfortable shouldn’t be an issue.
Touchpad built into each rear door
Rear occupants also get 5.5-in Touch Command digital switch pods in the doors that look like mini smartphones and allow them to operate various functions including placing calls which they’ll hear through optional headrest speakers if they spend big to upgrade the standard 655 W, 18-speaker Bowers & Wilkins hi-fi to the same company’s 1,965 W, 36-speaker Diamond Surround Sound System.
More comfort, more agility, more autonomy
Whether you’re sitting in the front or the back you’ll benefit from standard air suspension and adaptive dampers, while an optional rear-wheel steering system can reduce the turning circle by 2.5 ft (0.8 m). An also-optional active anti-roll package promises smooth progress on less than smooth roads.
But in a sign of where the 7-Series, like all luxury cars, is headed, BMW proudly says the 2023 car is capable of hands-free driving at speeds of up to 80 mph (130 km/h) when equipped with the optional Driving Assistance Professional Package. If you like the idea of driving your 7-Series rather than it driving you, this latest G70-generation car could be your last chance.
The 2023 7-Series launches in the U.S. in winter 2022, but pre-orders for the i7 open on April 20. Are you a fan of the new look, and would you buy a new 7-Series over a Mercedes S-Class? Leave a comment and let us know.