3 February 2005

Three-and-a-half years after its introduction, the controversial BMW 7-series has been given a thorough makeover and a new range of in-line six-cylinder and V8 petrol and diesel engines. Up front, there are curvy new headlights, a larger grille, a new bonnet that’s set 20mm higher, and a revised bumper with chrome highlights.

At the rear, BMW’s designers have incorporated a restyled bootlid that sits 3mm higher and now carries a chrome strip intersecting with larger tail lamps. There’s also a deeper rear bumper, chunkier side sills and new wheel designs in either standard 18-inch or optional 19-inch format. As a sign of the rapid pace of engine development at BMW these days, the only engine that survives from today’s model is the 760i’s 439bhp 6.0-litre V12.

It will be joined by BMW’s latest 3.0-litre inline six with 254bhp in the entry level 730i. A new 4.0-litre V8 delivers 302bhp (34bhp up on the 3.6-litre V8 it replaces). Also new is a 4.8-litre V8 with 362bhp in the 750i – up by 34bhp on old 4.4-litre V8.

BMW has upgraded the 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesel with piezo injectors (which give greater fuel efficiency) and a third-generation common-rail system. It provides the 730d with 228bhp and 384lb ft – up by 13bhp and 15lb ft. Not yet confirmed for the UK is the 745d 4.4-litre V8 diesel offering 300bhp and 516lb ft– 42bhp and 74lb ft more than than the old V8. All versions get ZF’s six-speed automatic gearbox as standard.

An extra 14mm is added to the rear track and the rear suspension is revised. BMW claims the changes imbue the rear-wheel drive Seven with improved handling and enhanced high-speed stability. Buyers can choose either a standard suspension, Adaptive Drive (with electronic damping control and Dynamic Drive) or Sport suspension.

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