BMW has taken the wraps off the mid-cycle refresh it has bestowed upon its top tier 7 Series sedan for 2013. This refresh brings new technology, better power trains and other goodies to help make the 7 series a top tier competitor once again.
Styling changes on the exterior of the 2013 7 series are very minimal with the majority of the changes taking place at the front of the car. The iconic twin kidney grilles now features nine slats instead of the older twelve slat layout that was found on the previous generation model, and are encased in re-worked chrome surround pieces which are slightly larger than before. The headlights flanking both grilles have also been reworked, and now feature LED running lights for better visibility. BMW designers also redesigned the lower front fascia and air intake which now houses brand new fog lamps and small chrome strips which have been placed in the outer sections.
In addition to the styling tweaks, the company also added numerous power train upgrades for 2013. The base 740i model shelves its older 3.0 liter twin turbo “N54″ inline six cylinder engine for the current “N55″ inline six cylinder which now features a single turbocharger. The output remains unchanged at 315 horsepower and 330lb ft of torque, but BMW claims that the new engine will be much more efficient than its predecessor, which should help please fuel economy-conscious customers. The 740i also receives BMW’s xDrive all wheel drive system, but it is only available on the long wheelbase 740Li model.
The mid range 750i variant will retain its 4.4 liter V8, but thanks to subtle tweaks, the power plant gets a 45 horsepower bump and an extra 30 lb-ft of torque for a grand total of 445 horsepower and 480 lb ft of torque. To help optimize the fuel economy of both models, BMW engineers have axed the old six speed automatic in favor of a new eight speed automatic transmission which teams up with a brand new auto/start system to help increase efficiency even further. The top of the line 760i is the only model not affected by the new engine upgrades and will continue wielding its familiar 6.0 Liter twin turbo V12 for the foreseeable future.
The focal point of these mechanical updates however centers around the greenest iteration of the 7 Series, the Active Hybrid 7. The previous generation ActiveHybrid 7 was designed and engineered to be a “performance hybrid” which promised to blend world class performance and fuel economy together into a dynamic and fuel efficient package. Unfortunately, it excelled in neither of those categories and it showed with lukewarm sales when compared with its competitors as well as compromised performance characteristics. To help make sure those two items wouldn’t happen again for 2013 BMW designers and engineers went back to the drawing board to not only reinvent the model, but to also shift its focus towards higher fuel economy which is what many buyers in the hybrid car market look for when considering a purchase. To help achieve this new direction, BMW swapped the old model’s V8 powerplant for the 740i’s “N55″ turbocharged inline six and paired it with a 55 horsepower synchronous electric motor. Total combined output from both motors is a stout 349 horsepower and 367 lb ft of torque while energy for the electric motor is drawn from a lithium ion battery pack. In addition to these impressive performance numbers, the 2013 ActiveHybrid 7 is also capable of all-electric operation for up to 2 miles and can reach a top speed of 37 mph on electric power only. Power in both modes is transmitted to the road through an eight speed transmission that is exclusive to the ActiveHybrid 7.
To help enhance the driving experience even further, all 7 Series models will come equipped with a new Dynamic Driving Control system which allows owners to personally alter and customize many of the car’s systems to suit their own unique tastes. The system offers five different preset modes, each of which bring a different driving experience to the 7 Series. The mode that stands out from the others is the Eco Pro mode, which serves as a fuel saver mode. A key element of this particular mode is that it utilizes many of the vehicles features such as the heated seats, power train mapping, and air conditioning and alters them to operate as efficiently as possible. BMW claims that when combined with a restrained right foot, it is capable of reducing fuel consumption by up to 20 percent (which should translate to a significant MPG boost for the ActiveHybrid 7 and a more modest increase for non hybrid versions). As a bonus, the ActiveHybrid 7 gets its own coasting mode which allows the gas engine to shut off when not in use to achieve emission-free motoring. In addition to Dynamic Driving Control, all variants of the 2013 7 Series will also be equipped with Dynamic Damper Control. BMW claims that this is the worlds first system to feature special shock absorbers that are individually adjusted to cope with road surface conditions and driving style.
The interior of the 7 Series will mostly carry over into 2013 unchanged, but the company has made small revisions to enhance the overall experience of the cabin. They include the use of new front seats which are now thinner and more comfortable, extra sound deadening material, as well as newly reworked ambient lighting elements and a navigation system that now features crisper graphics and a reworked voice activation system that can dictate and send emails without forcing the driver to take his or her hands off the steering wheel.
Expect the newly updated 2013 BMW 7 Series to arrive at a BMW dealers later this summer, with the ActiveHybrid 7 making its debut this fall. BMW has also released a pair of official videos about the 2013 7 Series which can be seen below.