BMW rolls out a new 7 Se­ries sedan

Los Angeles Times - - HIGHWAY 1 - By Charles Flem­ing charles.flem­ing@la­times.com

BMW has pulled the cov­ers off its 2016 7 Se­ries sedan, the sixth gen­er­a­tion of the Ger­man luxury car­maker’s flag­ship ve­hi­cle.

The 740i and 750i xDrive mod­els should hit U.S. show­rooms in late 2015. They will be priced at about $82,000 and $98,000, re­spec­tively. A hy­brid ver­sion will be avail­able in 2016, BMW said.

The 750i xDrive is pow­ered by a 4.4-liter, tur­bocharged V-8 en­gine, teamed with an eight-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion and all­wheel-drive that pro­duces 445 horse­power and 480 pound-feet of torque. The 740i boasts a 3-liter, tur­bocharged in­line six-cylin­der mo­tor that makes 320 horse­power and 330 pound-feet of torque.

The in­creased use of alu­minum and car­bon fiber parts, the com­pany said, has cut weight by 190 pounds — even though the 2016 ver­sions are roomier than any pre­vi­ous 7-Se­ries ve­hi­cles. New fea­tures in the 7 Se­ries in­clude wire­less phone charg­ing, the abil­ity to con­trol cer­tain op­er­a­tions with sim­ple hand ges­tures, and au­ton­o­mous park­ing.

Like many of its luxury com­peti­tors, the 7 Se­ries will come stan­dard with a suite of safety and semi­au­tonomous driv­ing fea­tures. The car will keep to its own lane and main­tain a safe dis­tance from ve­hi­cles around it. It can also au­to­mat­i­cally drive at posted speed lim­its, and watch out for pedes­tri­ans, cross traf­fic and ob­sta­cles near the ve­hi­cle.

Us­ing a “traf­fic jam” fea­ture, the car will do the stop- and-go brak­ing and ac­cel­er­at­ing func­tions in heavy traf­fic all by it­self. An ad­di­tional James Bond-like fea­ture — is this the 7 Se­ries, or the 007 Se­ries? — al­lows a front grill to open au­to­mat­i­cally when high tem­per­a­tures or hot driv­ing re­quire ex­tra en­gine and brak­ing cool­ing.

The rear seats also in­clude un­usual luxury, per­haps a sign that BMW is think­ing of China in its back­seat-driver de­sign, be­cause luxury car own­ers in that fast-grow­ing car mar­ket of­ten do not drive their own ve­hi­cles.

Fea­tur­ing first-class air­liner com­po­nents, the rear seats are also heated and cooled, as are the arm­rests. The rear pas­sen­ger com­part­ment in­cludes swingout ta­bles, stor­age ar­eas and cup hold­ers, and can re­cline to an al­most-hor­i­zon­tal po­si­tion. The rear seats also of­fer elec­tron­i­cally ad­justable en­ter­tain­ment screens and foot rests.

Although the front seats of­fer eight dif­fer­ent mas­sage pro­grams to re­lax and stim­u­late the mus­cles, the rear seats of­fer a “vi­tal­ity pro­gram,” ex­clu­sive to the 7 Se­ries, that will en­able pas­sen­gers to “en­gage in ac­tive train­ing to re­vi­tal­ize the body on longer jour­neys.”

The 7 Se­ries ve­hi­cles avail­able to Euro­pean buy­ers will be even more so­phis­ti­cated. They will be able to park them­selves in par­al­lel or per­pen­dic­u­lar spa­ces, even when the driv­ers aren’t in the ve­hi­cles. The Amer­i­can ver­sion may one day fea­ture this tech­nol­ogy, the com­pany said, pending ap­proval by U.S. reg­u­la­tors.

BMW USA

THE FRONT seats of­fer eight mas­sage pro­grams to re­lax and stim­u­late mus­cles.

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