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Bodystyle, dimensions and technical details

Open the driver’s door and you’ll find a badge on the 7 Series’ inner B-pillar proclaiming something BMW calls a ‘carbon core’.

This is nothing like a carbonfibre tub of the sort that Munich designed for the i8 or that McLaren uses for its models, but it does allow BMW to rightfully claim to be using machine-manufactured carbonfibre-reinforced polymer (CFRP) as a structural ingredient.

Despite the long wheelbase, BMW has shortened the turning circle by offering optional four-wheel steer

The car’s body-in-white is predominantly a mix of aluminium and high-strength steel. It differs from type where BMW grafts long fillets of CFRP to the skeleton, notably along the pillars, roof rails, sills and transmission tunnel.

Being both light and strong under torsion and compression, CFRP allows BMW to reduce the gauge of the metalwork to which it’s bonded, all while making it more rigid. The upshot is a superstructure that’s stiffer and 40kg lighter than that of the previous model, despite being larger.

Elsewhere, new near-source thermal and acoustic shielding saves a considerable amount of weight on NVH insulation. Underneath, a lightweight, aluminium-rich suspension design makes for 15 per cent less unsprung mass, with double wishbones fitted up front and multi-links at the rear, cradling the weight via all-corner air suspension and adaptive dampers as standard. Model for model, the new 7 Series is up to 130kg lighter than its forebear.

An Integral Active Steering set-up, working through a new variable-ratio power steering system and rear-axle steering, is an option, as is an electromechanical active anti-roll bar set-up called Executive Drive Pro.

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The latter operates through the new Adaptive mode on the Drive Performance Control, armed with data from the sat-nav, a stereo camera and analysis of your driving style, to keep the 7 Series’ ride as smooth as possible on a predictive basis.

Our test car came with both the Integral Active Steering and Executive Drive Pro options. It also had BMW’s entry-level engine, the 3.0-litre diesel – making 261bhp and 457lb ft – and the long-wheelbase body, stretched by 140mm compared with the standard car.

As for the other engine choices, there is the 315bhp 740d (which uses a different tune of the engine in our test car), while there are four petrol options including, the 321bhp 740Li, the 444bhp V8 750i and the four-cylinder hybrid 740e. Heading the range is the 592bhp 6.6-litre V12 M760Li, which is apparently capable of 205mph.

In light of all that tech, BMW might have been bolder with the styling. Evidently the company decided that 7 Series buyers like a familiar face and a formal aesthetic.

Perhaps the memory of Chris Bangle’s ‘flame-surfaced’ E65 7 Series, and the criticism it attracted more than a decade ago, is still too fresh for BMW to take a risk with the look of this car – but it seems a shame.