Munich - When we first sampled BMW’s latest 7 Series we were impressed with the technology and luxury on offer, but felt that the styling was just too subtle, as if it was appealing to Very Important People that want to keep a low profile.

But BMW’s large luxury cruise liner has gone for bold with its midlife facelift, revealed in China on Wednesday, which gives the sedan a front grille that’s gigantic enough to ensure that you’ll never again accuse the 7 Series of lacking presence.

In fact, it’s downright imposing.

For the record, the new front end is 50mm taller than before, while the single-piece grille surround is 40 percent larger, creating a greater contrast to the headlights, which are now smaller, and optionally available with BMW’s Laserlight technology.

The tail end has also been given an extensive redesign, highlighted by slimmer 3D-effect tail lights with red and black surfacing, as well as reshaped apron contours and larger chrome exhaust surrounds.

New paint colours and fresh alloy wheel designs round off the external changes, while subtle cabin revisions include new wood trim strips and extended quilting for the Nappa leather seat upholstery. The BMW Touch Command system, meanwhile, gets upgraded hardware and the latest BMW Operating System 7.0 software as seen on other recently introduced models.

Furthermore, the optional rear-seat entertainment system now comes with a pair of 25.4cm full-HD touchscreen displays.

Occupants can look forward to an even plusher drive, thanks to improved sound deadening, while certain versions also boast improved performance.

To that end, the 750i and 750Li receive a new 4.4-litre V8 engine that pushes 390kW, which is a 60kW improvement over its predecessor.

The 750Li will be offered in South Africa, alongside the potent 760Li, which gets a gasoline particulate filter to reduce emissions, although the output is also reduced from 448kW to 430kW.

Local buyers with a more frugal mindset will get to choose between the more traditional 730Ld, featuring a 195kW 3-litre turbodiesel, and a new 745Le plug-in-hybrid that mates a six-cylinder petrol engine to an electric motor for a system output of 290kW. As its name implies, you can also plug it in for a claimed all-electric range of up to 58km.

South Africans don’t have long to wait for the new 7 Series, with the launch scheduled for the second quarter of this year. Only long-wheelbase versions will be offered and all but the 730Ld diesel model will feature xDrive all-wheel-drive.

Prices will be listed on the BMW website shortly.

IOL Motoring