BMW’s next-gen luxury saloon promises radical weight loss, as latest pictures reveal its shape
11 May 2015

The new BMW 7 Series has been spotted undisguised as its public debut at the Frankfurt motor show in September edges closer.

This side profile picture, which shows the car completely undisguised, was first published to BimmerToday and reveals more of the new luxury model's detailing than ever before. Previously, the 7 Series has only been spotted testing in camouflage.

Sales of the sixth-generation 7 Series are due to get underway later this year. Key among the goals for the new 7 Series is a significant weight reduction via the use of a combination of aluminium, magnesium, high-strength steel and carbonfibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP), the latter of which is set to be used not only for the bonnet and roof but also in load-bearing areas in the floorpan and body.

Autocar has already driven a pre-production prototype of the new 7 Series, in 740i form, which will be one of the first models to arrive in the UK. The initial line-up will also include 750i and 740d models.

Speaking about the new car, BMW boss Norbert Reithofer said: “It will set a new standard in its class in terms of weight saving.”

Engineers say processes developed for the i3 and i8 have been adopted on the new BMW flagship in a bid to shed up to 200kg over its predecessor. This should ensure that the successor to the lightest of today’s 7 Series models, the 740i, tips the scales at around 1650kg, or less than the existing 535i.

BMW's next 5 and 3 series should also benefit from this lightweight technology.

Prototypes seen testing reveal that the new 7 Series retains similar dimensions to those of the current model, launched in 2008. As with its predecessor, the luxury saloon will be built in standard and long-wheelbase guises, but plans also exist for an extra-long-wheelbase model.

Underpinning the new car is a modular platform that forms part of a longitudinal engine matrix that is already used by the 3 and 4-series and is set to be adopted by replacements for the 5 and 6-series.

The light but rigid structure is allied to an aluminium-intensive suspension system that uses double wishbones up front and a multi-link rear set-up at the rear together with a new generation of air springs and road-scanning technology. That's in combination with stereo cameras, with the package aimed at giving the new BMW greater levels of ride comfort and better refinement than before. 

The new model will be offered with a range of turbocharged four, six, eight and 12-cylinder petrol and diesel engines, a standard nine-speed automatic transmission and the option of rear or four-wheel drive. 

The petrol engines are based around a new modular architecture with a 500cc individual cylinder capacity. A heavily updated version of today’s 3.0-litre, in-line six-cylinder engine is planned, along with a new 4.0-litre V8 and a 6.0-litre V12, the latter two set for use by Rolls-Royce.

Diesels will include a 2.0-litre four in a new entry-level model and 3.0-litre in-line six, the latter of which will appear in three states of tune and both twin and triple-turbocharged forms.   

To further boost the model’s presence in the luxury performance market, BMW is looking at creating a new M7 or M750i M Performance version, likely to receive a heavily tuned version of the M5’s twin-turbo 4.4-litre V8 producing more than 600bhp.

Also planned from the off is a plug-in petrol-electric hybrid, the 740e, which will bring zero-emission capability to the line-up for the first time.

The Future Luxury concept seen at the Beijing show provided the first hints not only of BMW’s new design language but also its in-car technology, which will rely heavily on speech recognition in a move aimed at reducing the number of controls and lessen dependency on the rotary iDrive controller.

Among the key rivals for BMW's 7 Series will be the new Audi A8, which has also been spotted testing, and the latest Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

Read more:

2015 BMW 7 Series 740iL prototype review

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Our Verdict

The BMW 7-series features a new platform and entirely new bodyshell

Technology-laden BMW 7-series looks better than its predecessors, but is ultimately disappointing

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Comments
21

7 August 2014
It's only Autocar's interpretation of what the car MIGHT look like, not the actual car. Of course it will probably be conservatively styled. That's what people who are actually buying this type of car want (as opposed to most commentators here who are simply dreaming). Far more important is the story that the car will be much lighter than before, which can only be a good thing so far as performance and efficiency is concerned.

11 May 2015
LP in Brighton wrote:
It's only Autocar's interpretation of what the car MIGHT look like, not the actual car. Of course it will probably be conservatively styled. That's what people who are actually buying this type of car want (as opposed to most commentators here who are simply dreaming). Far more important is the story that the car will be much lighter than before, which can only be a good thing so far as performance and efficiency is concerned.
Folks, that is the car. It is not an interpretation. I was one of a few people invited to a secret unveiling April 12. Even though all smartphones were confiscated, I managed to get 3 photos of front, back and inside of a 730LD (with my 2nd phone ;-) ). I can't share those photos, otherwise they will hunt me down and shoot me at dawn. Things you might not have read before: The Hoffmeister 'kick' and back window surround is honed from solid aluminium - an engineering feat (apparently). It enables a surround without a joint. The ICE and tablet were branded Samsung, but this will disappear from production models. Yes folks, those gestures are the same ones as your tele. I got a blank face when I asked after Apple CarPlay. I wonder why... I hope they implement CarPlay in a car like this. Far superior tech. The headlights bore a blue trim interior signalling optional lasers. Car length 524cm for LD model, 5m for standard model. Extra length goes straight to your legs. Car width and height remain the same. Car weight 100kg less than outgoing model. Pricing not set yet, but the model I saw on display is in the 130K-150K euros band. Very nice, extremely comfortable, aerated reclining seats. The seat behind the front passenger reclines further with foot rest à la 'Business Class'in the LD model. Oh, almost forgot, they have a "Skylounge" option for the top of the range model's sun roof - a sort of poor man's rolls royce LED roof-lighting. The sun roof is sandwiched between 3 layers of glass that are etched with 'stars' and side-lit by LEDS in one of up to six or seven ambient lighting colours. Not bad, but it wouldn't be my first choice of option. Multi-colour ambiance lighting is standard, I think... All in all, very nice, sleeker than the outgoing model but not as rakish as the 6 Gran Coupé. Seriously tempting.

11 May 2015
Jinx59 wrote:
LP in Brighton wrote:
It's only Autocar's interpretation of what the car MIGHT look like, not the actual car. Of course it will probably be conservatively styled. That's what people who are actually buying this type of car want (as opposed to most commentators here who are simply dreaming). Far more important is the story that the car will be much lighter than before, which can only be a good thing so far as performance and efficiency is concerned.
Folks, that is the car. It is not an interpretation. I was one of a few people invited to a secret unveiling April 12. Even though all smartphones were confiscated, I managed to get 3 photos of front, back and inside of a 730LD (with my 2nd phone ;-) ). I can't share those photos, otherwise they will hunt me down and shoot me at dawn. Things you might not have read before: The Hoffmeister 'kick' and back window surround is honed from solid aluminium - an engineering feat (apparently). It enables a surround without a joint. The ICE and tablet were branded Samsung, but this will disappear from production models. Yes folks, those gestures are the same ones as your tele. I got a blank face when I asked after Apple CarPlay. I wonder why... I hope they implement CarPlay in a car like this. Far superior tech. The headlights bore a blue trim interior signalling optional lasers. Car length 524cm for LD model, 5m for standard model. Extra length goes straight to your legs. Car width and height remain the same. Car weight 100kg less than outgoing model. Pricing not set yet, but the model I saw on display is in the 130K-150K euros band. Very nice, extremely comfortable, aerated reclining seats. The seat behind the front passenger reclines further with foot rest à la 'Business Class'in the LD model. Oh, almost forgot, they have a "Skylounge" option for the top of the range model's sun roof - a sort of poor man's rolls royce LED roof-lighting. The sun roof is sandwiched between 3 layers of glass that are etched with 'stars' and side-lit by LEDS in one of up to six or seven ambient lighting colours. Not bad, but it wouldn't be my first choice of option. Multi-colour ambiance lighting is standard, I think... All in all, very nice, sleeker than the outgoing model but not as rakish as the 6 Gran Coupé. Seriously tempting.
Good info. You've replied to a post from last year though

11 May 2015
gigglebug wrote:
Jinx59 wrote:
LP in Brighton wrote:
It's only Autocar's interpretation of what the car MIGHT look like, not the actual car. Of course it will probably be conservatively styled. That's what people who are actually buying this type of car want (as opposed to most commentators here who are simply dreaming). Far more important is the story that the car will be much lighter than before, which can only be a good thing so far as performance and efficiency is concerned.
Folks, that is the car. It is not an interpretation. I was one of a few people invited to a secret unveiling April 12. Even though all smartphones were confiscated, I managed to get 3 photos of front, back and inside of a 730LD (with my 2nd phone ;-) ). I can't share those photos, otherwise they will hunt me down and shoot me at dawn. Things you might not have read before: The Hoffmeister 'kick' and back window surround is honed from solid aluminium - an engineering feat (apparently). It enables a surround without a joint. The ICE and tablet were branded Samsung, but this will disappear from production models. Yes folks, those gestures are the same ones as your tele. I got a blank face when I asked after Apple CarPlay. I wonder why... I hope they implement CarPlay in a car like this. Far superior tech. The headlights bore a blue trim interior signalling optional lasers. Car length 524cm for LD model, 5m for standard model. Extra length goes straight to your legs. Car width and height remain the same. Car weight 100kg less than outgoing model. Pricing not set yet, but the model I saw on display is in the 130K-150K euros band. Very nice, extremely comfortable, aerated reclining seats. The seat behind the front passenger reclines further with foot rest à la 'Business Class'in the LD model. Oh, almost forgot, they have a "Skylounge" option for the top of the range model's sun roof - a sort of poor man's rolls royce LED roof-lighting. The sun roof is sandwiched between 3 layers of glass that are etched with 'stars' and side-lit by LEDS in one of up to six or seven ambient lighting colours. Not bad, but it wouldn't be my first choice of option. Multi-colour ambiance lighting is standard, I think... All in all, very nice, sleeker than the outgoing model but not as rakish as the 6 Gran Coupé. Seriously tempting.
Good info. You've replied to a post from last year though
Woops. How can that be? It's top of the list.

7 August 2014
That is the worst interpretation I have seen from Autocar.

8 August 2014
2 litre diesel for the 7? The World really is changing! And about time BMW started slicing some serious fat off its big cars. They've been getting way too porky of late.

7 August 2014
I wasn't sure how impressive a 1,650 kg kerb weight for the lightest next 7-Series is, so I did a little research. Currently from lightest to heaviest: Jaguar XJ 2.0 i4 Ti (1,660 kg) - Audi A8 3.0 TFSI (1,830 kg) - Maserati Quattroporte S (1,860 kg) - BMW 740i (1,900 kg) - Lexus LS 460 (1,940 kg) - Mercedes-Benz S400 (1,945 kg) - Volkswagen Phaeton 3.0 V6 (2,188 kg). The trouble is Jaguar, Audi and Lexus are replacing their range-toppers soon, too, and the first two especially are way ahead in lightweight technology. If anyone's going to crack the 1,600 kg mark first it'll be them.

7 August 2014
It is not just about aluminium. BMW has deep expertise when it comes to applying CFRP. Hence they enjoy a huge advantage over Audi and Jaguar in that department.

9 August 2014
BMW better make sure that the next generation is good looking. They already have a famous marque and the 7 already drives well enough....afterall by far the majority of buyers will not be professional drivers and will therefore be satisfied. Great to see the research and quest to shed weight. However the car must be good looking. I keep on stressing this. The F10, 5 series looks great, however the 5 Gran Turismo is ugly. We really don't want another ugly car when it can easily be a avoided. I am flabbergasted as to how ugly Toyota have managed to make the 4 Runner. Likewise their Highlander. I just hope BMW do not get lost in themselves and produce a monstrosity!

Velocity is poetry in motion. Steve Johnson.

9 August 2014
If this still largely steel car is as light as even the existing XJ or A8 I'll eat my hat! No car in this luxury category has EVER lost weight compared to its predecessor, not even the Jag or Audi.

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