BMW 7 Series

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BMW 7 Series
BMW 2015 M7 7-Series 477881 (cropped).jpg
Manufacturer BMW
Production 1977–present
Body and chassis
Class Full-size luxury car (F)
Body style 4-door sedan
Layout FR layout,
F4 layout (xDrive models)
Predecessor BMW New Six

The BMW 7 Series is a full-size luxury sedan produced by the German automaker BMW since 1977. It is the successor to the BMW E3 "New Six" sedan and is currently in its sixth generation.

The 7 Series is BMW's flagship car and is only available as a sedan (including long wheelbase and limousine models). It traditionally introduces technologies and exterior design themes before they trickle down to other models in BMW's lineup.[1]

The first generation 7 Series was powered by straight-6 petrol engines, and following generations have been powered by inline-4, straight-6, V8 and V12 engines with both natural aspiration and turbocharging. Since 1995, diesel engines have been included in the 7 Series range.

Unlike the 3 Series and 5 Series sedans, BMW has not produced an M model for the 7 Series (ie an "M7"). However, in 2016 an "M Performance" model became available for the 7 Series.

First generation (E23; 1977–1986)[edit]

BMW 733i sedan (US)
BMW 735i sedan (Australia)

The E23 is the first generation 7 Series, and was produced from 1977 to 1987. It was built in a 4-door sedan body style with 6-cylinder engines, to replace the E3 sedans. From 1983 to 1986, a turbocharged 6-cylinder engine was available.

The E23 introduced many electronic features for the first time in a BMW, including an on-board computer, service interval indicator, a "check control panel" (warning lights to indicate system faults to the driver), a dictaphone and complex climate control systems. It was also the first BMW to offer an anti-lock braking system (ABS), a driver's airbag and double-link front suspension.

Second generation (E32; 1986–1994)[edit]

BMW 740iL sedan
BMW 750i sedan

The E32 is the second generation of 7 Series, which was produced from 1986 to 1994. It was initially available with a straight-six or V12 engine. In 1992, V8 engines became available.

The E32 introduced the following features for the first time in a BMW: Electronic Damper Control,[2] V12 and V8 engines, double glazing, the CAN bus electronic protocol,[3] Xenon headlamps,[4] traction control[5] and dual-zone climate control.[6] The E32 750i was the first car adhering to BMW's self-imposed speed limit of 250 km/h (155 mph).[7] The 'iL' models were the first time that a long-wheelbase option was offered by BMW.

Third generation (E38; 1994–2001)[edit]

BMW 7 Series
BMW 735i sedan (Australia)

The E38 is the third generation of the 7 Series, which was produced from 1995 to 2001. The model range consisted of standard length and long wheelbase ("iL" models) sedans.

The petrol engines available consisted of straight-six, V8 and V12 engines. The E38 was the first 7 Series to be available with a diesel engine; initially a turbo straight-six, which was joined by a turbo V8 in 1998.

The E38 was the first car available with curtain airbags. It was also the first European car to offer satellite navigation[8] and the first BMW to offer an in-built television.

Fourth generation (E65/E66/E67/E68; 2002–2008)[edit]

BMW 740Li sedan
Facelift BMW 730d (Germany)

The fourth generation E65 7 Series was produced from 2001 to 2008 (released as 2002–2008 models). The Hydrogen 7 is the first production BMW to be powered by hydrogen. Although previous generations of the 7 Series had long-wheelbase and protection variants, the E65 was the first iteration to use specific chassis codes for each version. E65 was the designation of the standard-wheelbase version, E66 was the long-wheelbase version, E67 of the high-security (armored) version and E68 of the Hydrogen 7.

The BMW 745i/Li (2002–2005) models featured a 4.4L V8 engine outputting 325 hp. Later on, the BMW 750i/Li (2006–2008) models featured a slightly more powerful 4.8L V8 engine outputting 360 hp. Moreover, the BMW 760i/Li (2002–2005) and 760Li (2006–2008) features a vastly more powerful, performance-tuned 6.0L V12 engine with 438 hp.

The E65 generated more controversy, due to its radical styling and iDrive user difficulties. Nonetheless, the E65 broke records to become the best-selling 7 Series iteration ever, especially after its 2006 facelift. The E65/66 has been a subject of various media forms in pop culture during the early 2000s.

Fifth generation (F01/F02/F03; 2008–2015)[edit]

BMW 730d xDrive
BMW 730d (Australia)

The fifth generation F01/F02 went on sale in November 2008. The F01/F02 was the first 7 Series available with an 8-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. It is the first 7 Series where all engines are turbocharged (except for markets like Thailand, where the 730Li remains non-turbocharged). The ActiveHybrid7 was the first 7 Series to use an electric motor.

The front suspension is a double wishbone design, instead of the MacPherson struts used on previous generations.

It is in this generation that BMW changed the nomenclature from E to F01, thereby making it the first BMW to have so.

Also the model numbers have been changed for the new engine lineup - 730d/Ld for the 3.0l inline six 258 bhp diesel, ActiveHybrid 7 for the 3.0l inline six 310 bhp petrol hybrid, 750i/Li for the 4.4l V8 473 bhp petrol, 750d/Ld for the 3.0l inline six 385 bhp triple turbo diesel and 760Li for the 6.0l V12 544 bhp petrol.

All the engines are twin turbocharged for maximum efficiency and power.

For 2014 it received BMW's new second generation iDrive touchpad.

This generation also shares the same platform with the Rolls-Royce Ghost, the Rolls-Royce Wraith, and the Rolls-Royce Dawn. Both companies say that 20% of the parts are shared with the cars.

Sixth generation (G11/G12; 2016–present)[edit]

BMW 750Li - G12
BMW 740i - G11

The sixth generation of the 7 Series was revealed on June 10, 2015 at BMW's headquarters in Munich.[9] The G11 and G12, which is the codename for the extended wheelbase model, are the first passenger vehicles of BMW to be based on the modular BMW CLAR platform (cluster architecture).[10] As development was heavily focused on reducing weight and increasing structural strength, the body construction uses a combination of carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP), high-tensile steel and aluminium. The suspension received air springs at both axles that are adjustable with electronic shock absorbers.

The powertrain line-up consists of a 4.4 litre V8 and three engines from BMW's modular B-series engine architecture – two 3.0 litre inline-six engines in petrol and diesel form, as well a 2.0 litre inline-four engine for the plug-in hybrid model known as 740e. Initially, each engine will be available with an 8-speed automatic transmission that can be linked with the satellite navigation system.

The G11 is the first 7 Series to feature a plug-in hybrid variant, called the 740e. This new model effectively replaces the rather undersold ActiveHybrid7, which evolved from a 750i based mild hybrid to a 740i based full hybrid in 2014 post-LCI (Life Cycle Impulse) variant. The 740e is marketed as a BMW iPerformance car, not as a member of the BMW i sub-brand.[11][12][13]

Notable improvements to the infotainment and driver assistance systems include an automatic parking system that is controllable with a digital key fob and a more intuitive version of the iDrive vehicle operating system, featuring touchscreen input and gesture recognition controls.

The sixth generation 7 Series entered production in June 2015,[14] with European sales being scheduled to begin in October 2015.[15][16]

BMW Alpina B7 (xDrive)

In February 2016 BMW North America announced the Alpina B7 (xDrive) which features a 608 hp 4.4 litre biturbo V8 engine delivering 800 N.m of torque. The Alpina B7 is a sportier version of the BMW 7 Series. It runs from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.7s [0-60 mph: 3.6s], (RWD model, RHD only: 0-100 km/h: 4.2s) and to a topspeed of 310 km/h (193 mph).

BMW M760Li xDrive

A few days later BMW announced the M760Li xDrive with a version of the 6.6L twin-turbo V12 from the Rolls-Royce Ghost, Wraith and Dawn, including all-wheel-drive, boasting 600 bhp and 800Nm (590 lb-ft) of torque. As advertised it would hit from standstill 100 km/h in 3.9s. But when it was unveiled at the 2016 Geneva Auto Show, the numbers were changed: From the same 6.6l V12, now 610 bhp (+10 bhp), 800Nm (unchanged) and 0-100 km/h: 3.7s (0.2s less). Top speed is limited to 250 km/h (155 mph), but with the optional M Driver's Package, the limiter goes to 305 km/h (189 mph). The M760Li xDrive is the first all-wheel-drive passenger car with V12 motor that has the front differential gear housing mounted adjacent to the side of the engine (rather than behind or front of the engine), along with transfer case sending the power to the front axle.

BMW 740e iPerformance

Also in February 2016, BMW announced the introduction of the "iPerformance" model designation, which will be given to all BMW plug-in hybrid vehicles from July 2016. The aim is to provide a visible indicator of the transfer of technology from BMW i to the BMW core brand. The new designation will be used first on the plug-in hybrid variants of the latest BMW 7 Series, the BMW 740e iPerformance being the first of such plug-in hybrids.[17]

BMW 740e concept plug-in hybrid

The 740e iPerformance was unveiled at the 2016 Geneva International Motor Show, together with the BMW M760Li xDrive (see above) and the BMW i8 Protonic Red Edition special-edition model.[17] Sales of the 740e iPerformance are scheduled to begin by mid-2016. The 740e iPerformance features the same drivetrain as the already launched BMW X5 xDrive40e plug-in hybrid, and has an all-electric range is 25 mi (40 km) (dropping to 23 mi (37 km) in the xDrive version).[18]

Production and sales[edit]

Calendar year Total production US sales (hybrid) China sales
1995 22,638[19]
1996 22,775
1997 49,700[20] -
1998 47,300[20] -
1999 43,000[20] 18,233[21]
2000 39,000[20] 16,619
2001 32,749[20] 13,389[22]
2002 53,504[20] 22,006
2003 57,899[20] 20,473[23]
2004 47,689[20] 16,155[24]
2005 50,062[20] 18,165[25]
2006 50,227[20] 17,796
2007 44,421[26] 14,773
2008 38,835[27] 12,276
2009 52,680[28] 9,254[29] 16,006[30]
2010 65,814[31] 12,253 (101)[32] 26,553[33]
2011 68,774 11,299[34] 33,500[35]
2012 59,184 11,098 26,808[36]
2013 56,001[37] 10,932[38] 25,916[39]
2014 48,519 9,744[40] (45)[41] 21,896[42]
2015 36,364[43] 9,292[44] (12) 13,692[45]
2016 61,514[46] 12,918[47] (1)[48]


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