Johannesburg - Soon there will be no such thing as keeping a low profile while wafting around in a 7 Series, as the facelifted version of BMW’s grandest sedan has just gone on sale sporting a far more imposing look than ever.

This is largely thanks to a gigantic new front grille that’s 40 percent larger and 50mm taller than before, while the redesigned headlights are now smaller, and also optionally available with BMW Laserlight technology. Round back you’ll find slimmer 3D-effect tail lights with red and black surfacing, along with larger chrome exhaust surrounds and reshaped apron contours.

Fresh paint colours and new alloy wheel designs round off the external revisions, while subtle interior enhancements come in the form of new wood trim strips and extended quilting for the Nappa leather seat upholstery.

The new 7 gets an infotainment upgrade with the fitment of BMW’s latest Operating System 7.0, complete with the ‘artificial intelligence’ digital Personal Assistant, a new digital instrument cluster as well as new (optional) 25.4cm full-HD touchscreen displays for rear seat occupants.

Much more power from redesigned V8

The biggest mechanical changes take place beneath the bonnet of the 740Li model, which get’s BMW’s new 4.4-litre V8. Producing 60kW more than before, the V8 is now good for 390kW and 750Nm. 

If you’re looking for something more frugal, BMW also offers a new plug-in hybrid variant that mates BMW’s 3-litre, six-cylinder turbopetrol engine to an electric motor for a combined output of 290kW, while the 15.0 kWh battery is said to offer an electric only range of up to 58km.

Alternatively, BMW is still offering the familiar 3-litre quad-turbo diesel motor, with 195kW and 620Nm.

At the opposite end of the scale is a slightly revised M760Li model, which gets a new gasoline particulate filter to reduce emissions, although the output is also reduced from 448kW to 430kW.

What you get for your money

A cushy ride in all BMW 7 Series models is ensured by the standard fitment of air suspension on both axles, while Integral Active Steering is an optional extra.

Also standard is a vast range of driver assistance gadgets, including the Driving Assistant Professional package that enables semi-autonomous driving, thanks to the steering assist and Stop&Go functions, as well as Active Park Assist and High Beam Assist.

As for creature comforts, every 7 Series comes with four-zone climate control, ambient lighting, Gesture Control, BMW’s digital Display Key, electric roller blinds for the side and rear windows, and ‘comfort’ front seats with electric adjustment upfront as well as active seat ventilation.

The long list of optional extras includes items such as a Bowers & Wilkins Diamond surround sound system, at R81 600, Rear-seat entertainment Experience with Touch Command and two 25.4cm screens (R44 700), Electrically adjustable rear comfort seats (R31 800), Remote Control Parking (R8000), BMW Night Vision with object recognition (R32 000) and much more.

PRICES

740Li R1 638 400
730Ld R1 669 400
745Le xDrive R1 755 300
750Li xDrive R2 156 700
M760Li xDrive R2 806 400
M760Li xDrive Excellence R2 806 400

IOL Motoring