New shine for BMW's crown jewel

by Michel Deslauriers . Feb 01 2019
BMW’s updated iDrive infotainment system includes a personal assistant that follows commands after being prompted, ‘Hey BMW.’

BMW’s updated iDrive infotainment system includes a personal assistant that follows commands after being prompted, ‘Hey BMW.’

BMW has updated its flagship 7 Series sedan for the 2020 model year, which will go on sale in April, with refreshed styling, new powertrains and new high-end technologies.

Changes to the 7 Series’ exterior design extend to the hood, the headlights, the bumpers, the front fenders and the tail lights. The sharper, taller grille now bears a stronger resemblance to the one found on the 2019 BMW X7 SUV, which will soon be on sale. Said grille gets an aluminum satin finish, with a blacked-out treatment when the M Sport package is ordered, while the M760Li xDrive variant’s grille is finished in Cerium Grey.

Slimmer, full LED headlights and tail lights are now standard, and BMW Laserlight headlight clusters are available as an option. New paint colours are offered, as are redesigned alloy wheels ranging from 19 to 21 inches in size, wrapped in all-season or summer performance tires.

The 750i and 750Li get the newest generation of the twin-turbo, 4.4-litre V-8 that’s also found in the new BMW 8 Series coupe and convertible. It produces 523 horsepower and 553 lb.-ft. of torque between 1,800 and 4,600 r.p.m. BMW claims a 0-100 km/h time of four seconds. The range-topping M760Li flaunts a twin-turbo, 6.6-litre V-12 engine that belts out 600 horsepower and 627 lb.-ft. of torque.

The 745Le is the 7 Series’ new plug-in hybrid variant, equipped with a turbocharged six-cylinder engine, an electric motor and a 12-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Combined output is rated at 394 horsepower and 442 lb.-ft. of torque, allowing the PHEV to hit 100 km/h in 5.1 seconds. EV driving range hasn’t yet been announced, but it should be significantly higher than the current 740Le’s estimated 23 km.

Every 7 Series sold in Canada will boast all-wheel drive, an eight-speed automatic transmission and a two-axle adaptive air suspension. Integral Active Steering, which includes a rear-wheel steering system, is offered as an option, as is Active Comfort Drive with Road Preview, which adjusts the suspension in real time to make BMW’s flagship even more comfortable.

Thanks to a cockpit-mounted Mobileye camera, the Extended Traffic Jam Assist system can ease the pain of stop-and-go highway traffic by allowing the driver to let go of the steering wheel at speeds of up to 60 km/h — as long as they’re attentive at the helm. Other technological goodies include Parking Assistance Plus, Back-up Assistant and the latest version of the company’s iDrive infotainment system that includes a personal assistant — à la Google Home, Amazon Alexa and Mercedes-Benz MBUX — that follows our command after being prompted, “Hey BMW.”

Pricing for the 2020 BMW 7 Series will be announced closer to the on-sale date.

— LC Media

PHOTOS BY BMWChanges to the 7 Series sedan’s exterior design extend to the hood, headlights, bumpers, front fenders and tail lights.

PHOTOS BY BMW

Changes to the 7 Series sedan’s exterior design extend to the hood, headlights, bumpers, front fenders and tail lights.