9 November 2004

The car that started the Bangle styling controversy at BMW is closing in on a mid-life refresh. The 7-series was the first model influenced by the radical design direction credited to BMW design chief Chris Bangle, and the luxury car’s styling will be mildly toned down when the revised car is revealed at the Geneva Motor Show in March.

Our scoop pictures show the virtually undisguised Seven on test in Germany, and what little cladding there is hides the revised headlamps and new grille. At the rear, the bulbous bootline is smoothed and there is a new bumper. The modest interior tweaks will include a simplified version of the iDrive control system.

The 7-series will also get a revamped engine range. According to our sources, the base model gets a new 3.0-litre in-line six-cylinder petrol unit with 254bhp instead of 231. The diesel line-up will be bolstered by two new offerings. The 268bhp twin-turbo 3.0-litre also going into the 3- and 5-series will be fitted to the 735d, and a stonking 300bhp 4.0-litre V8 diesel is also said to be arriving next year in the 740d.

And these engine developments aren’t all that BMW has in the pipeline for its big saloon. Autocar has heard of plans for a pair of new V8 petrol units – a 4.0-litre V8 740i with 315bhp and a 4.8-litre 750i with 424bhp.

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