As promised, here are the questions and answers from the BMW 7 Series Webcast.
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Is BMW planning to offer a diesel version of the car in the US?
BMW Advanced Diesel models are quite popular in other markets so we haven’t ruled this out.
Will you offer a hybrid version of the new 7 Series?
BMW has announced that the 7 Series ActiveHybrid will go into series production within one year’s time.
Will you offer a turbo inline-6 (gasoline) version of the new 7 Series?
At this early stage, such an engine for the 7 Series hasn’t been ruled out.
When can we expect to see some 4-cylinder BMWs back in the US market?
While you obviously won’t see a 4-cylinder in the 7 Series anytime soon, new technological developments like High Precision direct injection and updated turbocharging techniques could make this possible for other models.
When will the new 7 go on sale in the USA?
March 6, 2009 (as a 2009 Model Year) as both a 750i and 750Li.
Why launch the long-wheelbase version right from the start this time?
The long-wheelbase model has accounted for roughly 80% of the sales volume in the US, and accounts for about half of unit sales worldwide, so doing so is logical.
What is the price for the new 7 Series models?
The 750i will have a base MSRP of $81,125 and the 750Li will have a base price of $85,025. These prices include the $825 Destination & Handling charge.
Will you offer an xDrive derivative of the new 7 Series?
At this early stage, an xDrive derivative of the 7 Series hasn’t been ruled out.
Will you offer a V12 or other range-topping derivative of the new 7 Series?
At this early stage, such an engine for the 7 Series hasn’t been confirmed or ruled out.
In your communication you focus to a great extent on vehicle comfort. Is the 7 Series still a performer?
The new 7 Series clearly proves that the terms comfort and dynamics are by no means a contradiction. That’s the beauty of the new 7, which is indeed both the best-riding and best-handling 7 Series yet.
Given the state of the global economy, isn’t this the wrong time to launch a car like a new 7 Series?
It’s true that the current environment is hardly ideal. Given the challenges, however, we believe that the advantage will go to the manufacturer with the newest, most innovative product. In this segment that is the all-new 7 Series.
Is there any chance you’ll offer a 7 Series with a 7 or 8 speed gearbox?
BMW only introduces a new technology or component into production when that component has been demonstrated to meet BMW’s exacting standards for performance, reliability, and feel. Thus, such a gearbox hasn’t been ruled out for future 7 Series developments.
What are the most significant improvements to the iDrive system?
The 4th-generation iDrive controller features more intuitive operation and expanded functionality. It features a new high-resolution 10.2-inch display, and the new menu structure can be accessed by direct-select keys located just in front of the rotary controller. An additional, significant feature is an 80GB hard drive that allows the system to quickly access the navigation maps and points-of-interest database, and store personal music collection.
Who is the supplier for navigation data in the new 7 Series?
The new 7 Series features a map and points-of-interest database supplied by TeleAtlas, enabling the navigation system to display topographical and cityscape 3D features.
What cities are shown in 3D?
More than 50 US cities and 30 European cities are currently detailed in 3D for the new 7 Series navigation system.
What is the purpose of the Programmable Memory Keys?
Programmable Memory Keys are an iDrive enhancement recently introduced on other BMW models which further enhance convenience in the new 7. Located above the audio controls, these eight keys allow the user to store favorite or frequently-used functions (e.g.- radio stations, phone numbers, navigation destinations) on the various keys and recall them instantly. The stored functions can be as specific and detailed as a navigation map in the preferred scale, an audio balance setting or a selected chapter in the new Integrated Owner’s Manual.
How did the previous 7 Series sell and what do you expect for the new one?
The peak year of previous generation 7 Series sales was 2002 at 22,005. We hope to surpass that with the new 7 Series.
What are the biggest sales markets for the new 7 Series?
The United States, China, and Germany are the largest sales markets for the new 7 Series (based on previous generation sales data).
What is “black panel” technology?
Black panel technology refers to the deep, sheer black appearance of the instrument cluster and center-mounted HVAC controls when the vehicle is “asleep.” The displays “wake up” in a progressive sequence from door-unlock through ignition and engine-start. The lower portion of the instrument cluster is actually a high-resolution screen that allows superb presentation of more information than is available with a traditional cluster configuration.
How does Integral Active Steering work?
Integral Active Steering (part of the optional Sport Package) combines BMW’s speed-sensitive variable ratio front steering with rear wheels that turn opposite the front wheels (up to 3 degrees) at speeds up to 38mph to increase agility and reduce turning radius by 0.7m (2.3 feet). Also, above 50mph the rear wheels turn same-direction as the front, which reduces lateral loads and increases stability and passenger comfort. Finally, the rear wheels add a further dimension to the capability of the Dynamic Stability Control system to prevent skids. The rear wheels are steered by an electromechanical drive motor on the rear axle.
Does Pedestrian Detection (a feature of the Night Vision option) have any operational limitations?
Pedestrian Detection is designed to work at night (twilight/ darkness) and in ambient temperatures at or below 82 F. The system warns the driver of pedestrians and cyclists that appear to be moving into the vehicle’s line of travel. Pedestrian Detection begins issuing warnings above 25mph to reduce false warnings. A symbol is displayed when Pedestrian Detection is not available.
Does the Pedestrian Detection system (a feature of the Night Vision option) require the Heads-Up Display (HUD) option?
While the HUD option is not required for Pedestrian Detection, 7 Series vehicles equipped with both HUD and Night Vision will display pedestrian warnings in the HUD as well as in the central screen where the Night Vision thermal image is displayed.
What systems does Driving Dynamics Control affect?
The vehicle’s dynamic behavior comprised of steering response, shift points, throttle response, Active Roll Stabilization stiffness (Sport package), and Dynamic Damper Control are all managed through Driving Dynamics Control’s large rocker switch on the center console.
How is the Dynamic Damping Control different from BMW’s familiar Electronic Damping Control?
Dynamic Damping Control is faster than EDC because it is managed via the new FlexRay electronic communication protocol, which is the fastest of its kind in the industry. This means that at highway speeds, DDC is capable of sensing that the right-front wheel, for example, has impacted a pothole, and can adjust shock damping at the right-rear wheel before it reaches the same pothole. DDC also plays a role to help tame squat and dive under all conditions.
What is FlexRay?
FlexRay is a new super-fast automotive network communication protocol developed by a consortium led by BMW. The new BMW 7 Series is the first vehicle to fully-implement FlexRay, meaning all of the driving systems are linked with tremendous speed. The BMW X5 SAV implements FlexRay to a lesser extent. (FMI: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flexray)
Is the nose on the new 7 Series taller than the nose on the previous generation 7?
Take another look; the new 7 Series is slightly lower than the previous 7 Series when measured at the nose, the roof, and the trunklid.
What are the dimensional differences of the new 7 Series compared to the previous generation?
Externally, the new 750i is 0.4 inches lower, 1.4 inches longer, and the same width as its predecessor. The new 750i also has a wheelbase that is 3.2 inches longer, weighs 78 lbs more, and features 1.4 inches more front headroom than its predecessor. Differences in the long-wheelbase models are similar.
Is the new 7 Series made of aluminum?
The new BMW 7 Series “body in white” uses a combination of advanced materials, including aluminum (4% of the body skeleton weight), multiphase steels (18% of the body skeleton weight), and hot-formed high-strength steel (16% of the body skeleton weight). The roof, hood, door skins, front spring mounts, and many suspension/drivetrain components are aluminum, which lowers the 7’s center of gravity and preserves balance.
Is the new 7 Series structurally stiffer than the previous generation?
Through the intelligent mix of structural materials and the use of high-strength steels, the torsional rigidity of the new 7 Series has been improved to 37,500 Nm per degree (vs. 31,200 Nm per degree for the previous generation).
Is the fuel efficiency better or worse for the new 7 Series compared to its predecessor?
The new 7 Series makes 11% more horsepower and 22% more torque than its predecessor. It is about 2% more efficient on the European test cycle and slightly less efficient (~1mpg combined) on the EPA test cycle. Given its performance, the 7 Series’ fuel efficiency is competitive:
Brand: Model: MPG (EPA city/hwy): 0-60mph (sec):
BMW 750i 15/22 5.1
BMW 750Li 14/22 5.2
M-B S550 14/22 5.4
Audi A8 16/23 5.9
Lexus LS 460 16/24 5.4
Lexus LS460L 16/24 5.4
What are the contents of the optional “ceramic controls” feature?
This $650 stand-alone option replaces high-usage secondary controls (shift lever, iDrive knob, dials for radio and HVAC) with units made of the extremely durable ceramic material used in fine watch cases. This provides excellent resistance to wear and scratching, and adds a distinct touch to the interior’s appearance.
What, if any, manufacturing innovations are involved in production of the new 7 Series?
Perhaps the most innovative manufacturing innovation on the new 7 Series is found with the vehicle’s bonded aluminum roof panel. The placement of an aluminum roof panel on a steel body skeleton is one of the engineering highlights on the new 7’s bodyshell. The aluminum roof panel is bonded with a new-generation adhesive, and features patented shaping to compensate for thermal expansion and contraction. The result of this effort is a weight reduction of 8.4kg (18.5 lbs) for the sunroof version, lower center of gravity, and improved driving dynamics. Using this technique, a roof rack capacity of 100kg (220 lbs) is still possible.
What design direction will BMW go now that Chris Bangle has announced his departure?
Mr. Bangle is with BMW through the end of February, and leaves his post to longtime colleague Adrian van Hooydonk. While our design language is constantly evolving, no immediate, dramatic change should be expected.
Why have you decided to go with exposed exhaust pipes on the new 7 Series?
It was a decision made by the design team to highlight the enhanced performance of the new 7 Series, which is one of the vehicle’s most distinct strengths.
Will there be a hydrogen version of the new 7 Series available for sale?
While this is technically possible, the more important question is one of a hydrogen mining and filling infrastructure. As the 7 Series ad campaign stated, the BMW Hydrogen 7 is “Ready for the world when the world is ready.”