The new 2016 G11/12 BMW 7 Series is upon us. Ready to tackle Mercedes-Benz and Audi head on in one of the most tightly contested segments on the market. With the new 7 Series comes a bevy of features new to both the 7 Series line, like air suspension and a plug-in hybrid variant, as well as the segment as a whole, like wireless charging and gesture control for the infotainment system. With all of its new technologies and groundbreaking design, the 7 Series is aiming to dethrone the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and take the segment crown for itself.
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BMW has gone to great lengths to insure that its newest 7 Series is as advanced, in terms of both luxury and technology, as possible. We all already know that the 7 Series has undergone a massive weight reduction, with BMW utilizing high-end materials, such as aluminum, magnesium and CFRP, as much as possible. Not only has this lightened the 7 Series, making each variant lightest in its respective class, but has stiffened the structure greatly, giving the new 7 Series a wonderfully solid feel.
Along with the added lightness, as Colin Chapman would have called it, comes an exciting new design. While the exterior of the car is more evolution than revolution over the previous design, it does look far better and more sorted. The whole car looks tighter and crisper. The large kidney grilles are front and center and display an air of power and opulence as the full LED headlights seem to flow out of them. The hood is also lower and leaner, giving the new 7er a more aggressive and sporting look. From the side, its profile is smooth and flows better than its predecessor, with the signature Hofmeister Kink as prominent as ever.
There’s also a new touch, an air breather, now typical of most BMWs, which has a strip of either chrome or black, depending on the Line chosen, which runs the length of the bottom of the doors.
The way this strip ends at the door makes it seem like it connects to the Hofmeister Kink above. It also continues onto the rear fender of the car. Which brings us to the newly design rump of the G11 7 Series, which looks far and away better than the old model. Where the old one looked rather large and bloated, this new 7er’s rear end seems to have been doing some squats. It’s much tighter and leaner than before and its full LED taillights have been slimmed down.
Overall, the entire car isn’t a design revolution, but neither is the new S Class or A8. The idea is to create a handsome and luxurious looking car without being too flashy or garish. In that respect, the G11 7 Series is a success. Though, an M Sport package livens things up a bit with an aerodynamics kit, 19” or 20” wheels and black shadowline trim replacing all of the chrome bits.
The interior is a different story, however, being as opulent and luxurious as possible and maybe even best in class. With a lovely array of leather, wood and aluminum, the new 7 Series’ interior has a bright, comfortable and airy feel to it. There’s a new iDrive system, version 5.0, which utilizes touchscreen inputs as well as Gesture Control.
Much like the S Class, the gauge cluster has been replaced with a 12.3” screen, displaying different gauges while in different Driving Modes. For example, when in Comfort Mode, the screen displays the typical four gauge cluster of speedo, tach, temp and fuel gauges. In Eco Pro, the tach is replaced by an EfficientDynamics gauge and when in Sport, everything is simplified with the speed, revs and gear selection all appearing as large digital readouts.
There is also an all-new graphic Head-Up Display, which can display road speed, turn-by-turn navigation as well as Check Control and warning messages. It’s the largest and most advance HUD in the industry. There’s also a mobile phone holder in the center console which can wireless charge your phone and has an LED charge status display, a segment first.
From where you sit, the leather and wood look absolutely lovely, with the seats looking every bit as comfortable as in any other high-end car in the segment. Everything within arms reach is covered in either leather, beautifully finished wood or aluminum.
There is ambient lighting everywhere, on the door trim, in the footwells and under all of the controls. It’s beautifully done and doesn’t look too flashy or silly. The rear seats get a wide array of climate and seating controls via a touchscreen display built into the armrest, which can be removed to hold in hand, as well as tray tables and optional touchscreen on the front seatbacks.
There will be some debate over whether or not this new 7 Series is good looking enough, both inside and out, to beat the current S Class. I think it’s going to be tough to decide amongst the two. Both are extremely good looking and follow a similar philosophy of calm exteriors with opulent interiors. However, that’s where the two end their similarities. The S Class, in typical Mercedes-Benz fashion, relies more on its luxury car roots, while the 7 Series is more about advanced technology and has a more modern feel. If I were to have to pick just one adjective to describe each car, for the S Class I’d have to go with beautiful but for the 7 Series I’d go with amazing.
To say which is better would be impossible until we can drive both, but just from the looks of things, the folks in Stuttgart might be getting very nervous.
2016 BMW 7 Series Interior Design
2016 BMW 7 Series Exterior Design