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2009 BMW 7 Series Preview - VIDEO ENHANCED

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New 2009 BMW 7 Series-Loaded With Innovations


By Henny Hemmes
Senior European Editor The Auto Channel

In September, the Paris auto show will host BMW for the world premiere of the new 7 Series. Last week, the media were invited to Bavaria for the first look at the fifth generation of BMW’s flagship

Of course, Adrian van Hooydonk, Chief designer for the BMW brand was present to tell us about the philosophy behind the new styling. As soon as the friendly and enthusiastic Dutchman starts explaining, he takes his audience for a tour around the car.

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The typical BMW kidneys are somewhat bolder than before: “The height increased because of the European pedestrian safety regulations,” Van Hooydonk says. “We also have to take into account a certain distance between the engine and the hood.” That is why BMW placed the engine inch lower. By moving the front axle more ahead, it was possible to place the engine behind and it also resulted in a 3.1 inches longer wheel base. By shortening the front overhang the car is just over an inch longer than the current generation.

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Van Hooydonk: “The new lines of the ‘flowing’ hood gives the impression of a sports car, the front overhang is shorter than before and the sleek body gives a dynamic feel. But most important for the sporty looks of the fifth generation BMW 7 Series is the design of the front. The sharp line on top of the front fenders is not only a styling element, but it is a necessity as well. Because room had to be created for the new suspension.”

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Other styling elements are the ‘eyebrows’ above the headlights and the horizontal stripes in the rear lights that open up for LED lamps. LEDs are also used for the door handles, direction lamps and in the interior.
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The new BMW is 121 lbs lighter because of the use of aluminium for the hood, fenders and suspension.

Gone is the 12-cylinder, but two brand new gasoline engines will be available: a 3.0-liter V-8 with 326 hp and 331 lb.-ft. of torque, and a 4.4-liter V-8 with 407 hp and 443lb.-ft. of torque, both with twin turbo technology. For Europe and some other markets there is a new and very clean common-rail 3.0-liter inline six diesel engine with 245 hp and 398 lb.-ft.. All power plants will be teamed to a 6-speed automatic transmission. A new ZF 8-speed is expected by the end of 2009.

New Innovations

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The interior of the new 7 Series got a new dashboard with a nice flowing line, that replaces the two ‘bulges’ above the IP and the navigation screen. The new material of the dashboard and door panels is soft and its structure comes very close to that of leather.

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The iDrive system has been renewed for easier access to its functions and is voice operated a function that can be applied by the button on the steering wheel. New is the large, 9.8 inch high resolution (12280 x 480 pixels) LCD screen. Furthermore, the 7 Series is the first production car in the world with internet access on board via ConnectDrive.

BMW’s flagship is also the first with Side view cameras on both sides. They are placed in the front fenders directly before the wheels and ‘look’ along the car to the rear. Another innovation is the speed relative Integral Active Steering that influences steering forces that can also change the steering angle of the rear wheels by up to 3 degrees for optimal control. It also results in a up to 70 cm smaller turning circle depending on the road speed.

Click PLAY to watch The Auto Channel's 2009 7 Series promo video

World Premier
The 7 Series’ night vision has been supplemented for the first time by the detection and recognition of individual persons and their behaviour. A control unit analyses video data and uses intelligent algorithms to look specifically for pedestrians show in yellow in the video. Especially if they are moving towards the road or are already on the road. The driver is warned with a symbol in the control display and if the car has HUD, head-up-display, the warning is also projected on the windscreen.

Cruise control has a standard brake function, while Stop&Go is an option. Lane Change Warning and Lane Departure Warning are offered for the first time in the 7 Series. In combination with a navigation system and Lane Change Warning, there is another exclusive function: Speed Limit Display, that informs the driver of the speed limit on the road he is taking. A camera, fitted near the interior mirror, monitors the signs by the road as well as the variable signs on overhead displays on motorways

The new 7 Series will arrive in North America in 2009. By the end of the month we will get the first opportunity to drive a prototype on BMW’s proving ground in France. So please stay tuned.

HHR 2008