Monday, 5 November 2012


The time has come for BMW South Africa to update its 7 Series range, just to keep things fresh and interesting for those of us lucky enough to be able to afford this mega executive sedan. The current-generation 7 was launched in Mzansi in March 2009.

Where changes have been made they are subtle, probably because customers in this segment are not too crazy about sudden and/ or radical change. But there are definitely changes, and some are quite notable too.

Like the new full-LED headlights, the kidney grille which, instead of the previous 12 slats, now has only 9. I guess less is more on design as well as in the engine compartment. A thin chrome strip now also runs at the rear.

The facelift 7 has even shed weight, thanks to a few initiatives, such as the use of aluminium for the doors, which save a whole 22kg. Hey, it may not seem like a lot but when trying to extract the best performance/ lowest fuel consumption combo, every kilo counts.

So now here come the engines. In their order (cheapest to most expensive) the models are: 740i, 730d, ActiveHybrid 7, 750i, 750Li, and finally the 760Li. The 740i is moved forward by the popular 3.0-litre turbo engine doing the rounds all over the BMW stable. It’s marked by its 235kW and 450Nm, with acceleration of 5.7 seconds from 0 – 100km/h, fuel consumption of 7.9 litres per 100km and 184 g/km in C02 emissions. The only diesel in this range is the 730d with another popular 3.0-litre motor worth 190kW and 560Nm at only 1500rpm. It’s said to return a remarkable 5.6 litres per 100km. Next is the new ActiveHybrid 7 with the same petrol 3.0-litre, surging the exact same amount of power and torque, as well as sprint time as the 740i, but with a claimed fuel figure of only 6.8 litres per 100km.

Then out come the roaring V8 750i and 750Li, powered by the same 4.4-litre twin turbo found in the raukus M5. At 330kW and 650Nm, the engine has been improved power-wise. Acceleration is quite brisk, said to take 4.8 seconds from standstill to 100km/h, while returning 8.6 litres per 100km at the pumps. The only difference between the two cars is that the Li is 14cm longer due to its catering for those who put the V in VIP.

Last on the list is the 760Li. I really like this car, but I wish it wasn’t this long. Its length negatively affects its potential as an M7. Nevertheless, the V12 engine is a powerhouse of good note. Dishing out 400kW and 750Nm between 1500rpm and 5000rpm, the 760Li uses its rear wheels for a 4.6 second 0 – 100km/h time. That’s not too bad at all, although in Gauteng you’ll get closer to the 5 second mark than 4.6. Still, hauling two tonnes of metal at that rate is mighty impressive. All the cars run on an 8-speed automatic gearbox.

BMW has inserted a new cockpit with plenty of features, such as the new control display with 3D graphics, a 26cm screen, front comfort seats, sunroof, ambient lighting, 4-zone climate control, keyless start, multifunction leather steering wheel, a rear electric blind, and a raft of safety systems that include lane keep assist.

The new facelifted 7 Series is available from your nearest dealership at prices listed below.

740i (R975 500)
730d (R998 000)
ActiveHybrid 7 (R1 034 500)
750i (R1 248 000)
750Li (R1 360 000)
760Li (R1 702 000)

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