The new BMW 7-series will get four-wheel drive for the first time
5 July 2008

Four wheel steering

New to the BMW 7-series is Integrated Active Steer, which uses an electric motor to turn the rear wheels by up to three degrees. At low speeds they turn in the opposite direction to the fronts ones, to reduce the turning circle by up to 70cm. At higher speeds they turn in the same direction, reducing the yaw and improving the vehicle's stability.

The concept's nothing new - the Mazda 626 and Honda Prelude had 4WS in the 1980s - but the technology's been dramatically improved by today's more powerful electronics. They can reduce the number of mechanical linkages needed and provide artificially created feel to compensate for the unnatural feedback created by the movement of the rear wheels.

All wheel drive

The 7-series will get four-wheel-drive for the first time, helping it take on the A8 quattro and increasingly popular S-class 4Matic. It will get BMW's torque-vectoring system, which the company has said will be fitted to all four-wheel-drive models. Only two cars on sale, both from Japan, have four-wheel steering and four-wheel drive: the Honda Legend and the new Nissan GT-R.

One big mechanical change is the replacement of MacPherson strut front suspension with an all-new double wishbone design that, like the multi-link arrangement at the rear, is made almost entirely from aluminium. The change has been made, BMW says, to provide improved camber control for better front-end grip.

Damper Dynamism

All models come with Dynamic Damping Control as standard. This new system represents a major advance on existing arrangements, as it can alter the compression and rebound characteristics independently of each other. In addition, the 740Li and 750Li get air springs at the rear.

In line with the promise of increased driveability, the new 7-series comes with BMW's new Dynamic Driving Control. This system can alter the damping, steering and throttle mapping in four levels: Comfort, Normal, Sport and Sport Plus.

Our Verdict

BMW 7 Series

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

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5 July 2008

So, does it not have full air suspension, then? If not, this will be a limiting factor, compared to the A8 and S-Class.

7 July 2008

I would be interested to see a back to back test of the new 730d versus the 730d 4x4, and ditto for the S320 CDi versus the S320 CDi 4-Matic. Perhaps such a test would reveal the real-world advantages of having full time 4-wheel drive in a luxury sedan.

I do realize that for super-powerful cars like the Audi RS6, full-time all-wheel-drive is almost essential.

7 July 2008

Rabbit hutch boot - gone

Flame surfacing - gone

Runny egg headlight shape - gone

Bangle - apparently still here? But somehow curtailed?

PS And is it me or is BMW, Audi and Merc design language converging? Take away the Hofmeister kink and this could be an Audi or Merc in profile or even the rear. Look at the 3 Series Coupe and the A5 - in profile and rear view again almost identical.

9 July 2008

The new 7-Series together with the X6 series makes me wonder if BMW has lost the plot. The design is dull and i violently agree with the post above that says take away the Hofmeister kink and it could be just about any large saloon rather than distinctly a BMW.

9 July 2008

I do have this theory that the prestige manufacturers are being hamstrung by the strictness of their own styling cues. By the time that you list all the things that a BMW "must" have and "must" be from a styling point of view, you are already well into the territory of deeply compromised design. Would be maybe nice to see them just make something that was good looking for its own sake and where the rules on the BMW styling DNA were relaxed a little.

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