The fifth generation BMW 7-series will debut at the Paris motor show
5 July 2008

This is the new BMW 7-series, the fifth generation of the model that BMW hopes will dramatically revive the fortunes of its flagship executive saloon.

The new BMW 7-series will go on sale following its public debut at the Paris motor show in late September, with right-hand-drive UK sales set to kick off in November. It can't come quickly enough for BMW; sales of the current 7-series have fallen to record lows in recent months.

Developed completely from scratch, with record investment from BMW, the new 7-series is the beginning of a renewed push by BMW for technological superiority.

The biggest advance on the new model is the car's rear-wheel-steer system, called Integral Active Steering. BMW claims the technology gives the 7-series class-leading agility and unparalleled low-speed manoeuvrability.

It's the first production car to offer internet access on the move as part of BMW's ConnectedDrive system. It also has a night-vision system, like the S-class, but this one can distinguish between humans and objects and will sound an alarm if it thinks an accident is likely.

The big news, though particularly given the current focus on environmental compatibility, is the promise of a petrol/electric hybrid model using the two-mode system developed with General Motors and Daimler.

Although not part of the launch line-up, it will go on sale within the next 12 months, kicking off what BMW insiders say will become a large range of hybrids.

The new BMW 7-series' looks are bound to polarise opinion, especially as it is tipped to act as a design template for all upcoming BMW models. This car is distinctively edgier - incorporating flatter surfaces and tauter forms - than the one it replaces.

Our Verdict

BMW 7 Series

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

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BMW has done away with the current car's distinctive double-hump dashboard top, using a design similar to the fascia on the 3-series and 5-series' instead. And the column gear selector has been replaced by a joystick-style shifter, mounted in the centre console.

It's lightly bigger than the current 7-series - 33mm longer at 5072mm - but the same width and 12mm lower. The wheelbase has also been extended by 83mm to 3073mm, reducing the overhangs and, in combination with wider tracks giving the new car a more confident stance. A long-wheelbase Li model will also be available, adding 140mm to the rear doors for improved access and added legroom.

At launch there will be three engine options. They include BMW's twin-turbocharged, 3.0-litre, six-cylinder petrol engine, with 326bhp and 332lb ft of torque in the 740i. It is joined by a reworked version of the 3.0-litre, six-cylinder diesel with 245bhp and 422lb ft in the 730d. This will be the best-selling 7-series in the UK, thanks to 39.2mpg and 192g/km of CO2.

Heading the initial line-up is the 750i, with the new twin-turbo, 4.4-litre V8 petrol engine from the X6. With 407bhp and 442lb ft, it packs 47bhp and 82lb ft more than the old 750i - sufficient, claims BMW, for 0-62mph in 5.2sec.

Read the full technical story or watch the video of BMW's new luxury saloon.

Greg Kable

Join the debate


5 July 2008

Whoever clicked '+50%' on the kidney grille during the design process did this car no favours.

5 July 2008

This new design brings back the elegance and classic look that the last design lacked. I do think it's longer than it needs to be and the L version looks awkward because of its extended wheelbase.

I also think the car would look better in the metal than it does in photos. I personally prefer this new 7 styling to the S Class Merc.

The interior design looks cohesive and logical - true of every BMW all the way down to the 1-series.

Hopefully the ride is not ruined by run flat tires. It will be interesting to see the curb weight data once BMW releases the specification of this new 7.

I know everyone thinks this new design looks tame, but conversely I think it will still look fresh 7 years from now.

5 July 2008

I think it looks pretty good inside and out, but like NiallOswald said, it doesn't look quite right front-on.

5 July 2008

I think it looks better than the current model, and it isn't as frumpy as before, but I still think they could've been a bit more daring inside considering the new front and rear lights. The dials are still old-looking, with no special interest. Compare these to those found in an S-Class or an Audi A8, and the 7-Series starts to look slightly bland. But I think the proportions of the new model are better, and it is overall a little prettier. It's still awkward in LWB format, but it's a sure improvement, and if they can apply the less-fussy details to future BMWs, then I think they'll start to look a bit more appealing again.

"The creative adult is the child who survived."

5 July 2008

I see yet another ugly car from BMW, the 7-series always was a dog. They are living up to their name in styling, Blind Mans Wheels.

If you want class and technical excellence then stick to the best, the Mercedes S-class.

5 July 2008

I don't believe it. Is that IT? First impressions, how incredibly dull and bland - hope it looks better in real life - 2nd impressions - um..... why is there absolutely nothing of any note in the exterior design to applaud? Why didn't they graft on the front end of their CS Concept? It looks dated and old-hat already. And that bonnet! Yuck, yuck, yuck. How can the CS Concept look so good and this THING so awful? The pre-bangle 7 series looked better! MUCH better.

6 July 2008

Unbelievably unexciting. I had three E38s in the 1990s and later models never floated my boat. They just looked like boats. As with rivals this one's clearly been styled to appeal to the people most likely to buy it: Americans and Chinese factory owners. In white with chrome wheels, natch.

6 July 2008

"The Sexiest Seven Ever?

For starters, it’s vastly better looking. At 199.7 inches, it is now 1.3 inches longer than before and just as wide; height is down a half-inch. The subtle redesign does wonders to mask the new Seven’s enormity—something the previous model, with its slab sides and blunt fascias, never did. Rather, with its lower nose and tidier tush, the ’09 model’s overall appearance is more lithe, less like a land whale, and more befitting a BMW flagship."

Check this out. Can't believe they think it's good looking! Although it looks slightly better in black.

7 July 2008

Personally. i found the previous generation 7 series polarising but it had real presence... This new generation looks bland and bloated from the front, great from the rear and well acceptable from inside. I think final judgment will have to come when i see it in the flesh.. BMW needs some Mercedes design flair!

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