First Drive: 2013 BMW 7 Series 750i and ActiveHybrid7 by Henny Hemmes +VIDEO

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2013 BMW 7 Series 750i

You Get More Than You See; Important Changes Under The New 2013 BMW 7 Series' Beautiiful Skin

By Henny Hemmes
Senior European Editor
The Auto Channel

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia - July 21, 2012: Hearing the word face lift, many people would expect a worked over, fresh face, even if it’s about cars. No such thing for the BMW 7 Series, that now is four years under way and gets a mid-life facelift with minimal cosmetic changes.

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The BMW designers (and their bosses) are still very happy with the styling of the ‘7’, which indeed is not outdated at all.

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The 2013 model’s only visible ‘corrections’ are a new kidney grille with 9-slat kidney instead of 12, a modified front apron, new exterior mirrors with integrated indicators and a thin chrome strip on the rear, that connects the two reflectors in the rear apron. New is also the availability of full-LED headlights

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In the cabin there is more important news, such as the application of the new iDrive system, the high resolution 3 D graphics of the Control Display in the IP, a new range of display options through the screen in the dashboard, a rear-seat entertainment package with 9.2-inch monitors and the Bang & Olufsen High-End Surround Sound system.

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The real improvements of BMW’s flagship are in the technical field. All engines will now standard be teamed to the 8-speed automatic transmission that in the meantime has proven its excellence in the 5- 3 and 1 Series. All models will also have the start-stop function, brake energy regeneration and BMW’s Driving Experience Control with Eco Pro mode for additional fuel saving.

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The 12-cylinder 760i remains unchanged, but the 750i will have the updated the 4.4-liter V8, that now has two turbochargers, Valvetronic, Double-Vanos and high precision direct injection. It delivers 330 kW/450 hp and 479 pound-feet of torque. Fuel consumption is not hurt by the 10 percent more power and 8.5 per cent more torque than of the current V8. With 32.9 mpg (in the EU cycle) the CO2 emission is rated at 199 g/kg In China the 750i gets a 4.0-liter variant of the V8 with 408 hp and 443 lb-ft of torque.

The 740i gets the new 3.0-liter Twin Power Turbo 6-cylinder inline engine with 320 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque. It offers better fuel efficiency (35.8 mpg) and 184 g/k CO2, which is 21 per cent less than in its predecessor.

The 730i is unchanged, but because it is now working together with the 8-speed automatic, fuel efficiency and CO2 emission are reduced to 32.9 mph and 199 g/kg respectively.

The new 3.0-liter tri-turbo inline six-cylinder diesel engine will now be offered in the 750d xDrive. This power plant made its debut in the M550 D xDrive . In Europe and other ‘diesel-markets’ also the 730d, 740d and 750d will be available. Last but not least is the new ActiveHybrid7, in which we find the 740i’s 3.0-liter engine. combined with a 40 kW/55 hp synchronous electric motor, placed in the front of the housing of the 8-speed automatic transmission. This is the same technology that we know from the ActiveHybrid 5 and ActiveHybrid3 which we recently tested. In the 7-Series, the system’s combined output is 354 hp and 369 lb-ft.

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Our first test route with the 750i leads through the crowded St. Petersburg (nearly 5 million inhabitants). Inside you cannot hear wind or road noise and only when you push the throttle you hear a V8 rumble in the back ground. The 8-speed transmission, about which I chanted earlier, shifts unnoticeable at the right moments to offer the right amount of power. Boy, if you want, this 7 can be really fast. It only takes 4.8 seconds to reach 62 mph from standstill.

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Noticeable is the bigger difference between Sport and Comfort than in the outgoing model. Steering input in Sport feels the same as before, but in Comfort it is lighter. Also the suspension has been adapted and is a bit more comfortable than before.

When asked, Johann Kistler, project manager for the 7 Series, says that this indeed is the case: “We wanted to offer a bit more comfort in the regular setting. That is why we also have changed the set up of front and rear suspension. While the self-leveling air suspension at the rear excel (standard, HH) enhances this.” According to Mr. Kistler, customers in Asia will especially like this ride comfort.

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We also jumped behind the steering wheel of the ActiveHybrid7, which is even faster. We were able to coast in electric mode and saw in the display that this would save us a couple of miles. Until at the end of the day we got in a hurry to meet the guide for an exclusive visit to the Catherine Palace. Then the word ‘Active’ in ActiveHybrid shows its true meaning.

But the result was that we did not see any fuel saved at the end of the day. Under normal conditions, BMW says that the average economy should be 34.6 mpg with a CO2-emission of 219 g/km, or 14 per cent over the new 750i.

Watcht eh 2013 BMW 7 Series on the road

With all innovations and new technology that BMW has developed so far, the 2013 model of the 7 Series is again the true flag ship of the brand and will be the bench mark in its segment..

The new BMW 7 Series will make its public debut in Paris in September and will arrive at US dealerships soon after. The ActiveHybrid7 will arrive early fall.

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