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New 2016 BMW 7 Series Unveiled in Munich - Henny Hemmes At-Event Report +VIDEO

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BMW's Harald Kruger Presenting The 2016 7 Series

SEE ALSO: 2016 BMW 7 Series Specs, Pricing and Options
SEE ALSO: First Drive 2016 BMW 7 Series Prototype By Henny Hemmes

By Henny Hemmes
Senior European Editor
The Auto Channel

MUNICH, Germany: Some three months before the official world premiere at the IAA auto show in Frankfurt, Harald Kruger, since a few month at the helm of the BMW Group. It was not meant to be this early, but leaked images forced BMW to change their plans and to invite some 250 members if the international media for a presentation in BMW Welt in Munich, which took place yesterday evening.

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The event also marked the first official ‘performance’ of Harald Krüger as Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG. Earlier that day, Mr. Krüger was handed the key of the new car by Josef Kerscher, head of Plant Dingolfing, at the employee event to mark the start of production. Since the introduction of the 7 Series in 1977, more than 1.6 million units have been produced. Nowadays, China, North America, Germany, the Middle East, Russia, Korea and Great-Britain.

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After the presentation of the new flagship I sat down with some colleagues for dinner with Dr.-Ing Klaus Dräger, Member of the board, who was responsible for Research and Development when models such as the BMW i3 and i8 and were developed as well as the new generation 7 Series. Dr. Dräger said that the most important aspect of the new ‘7’ is the light weight structure. BMW calls it a Carbon Core body structure, a combination of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP), steel and aluminum which cuts the weight of the 7 Series by 130 kg/286 pounds.

Dr. Dräger: “Although we have developed the i3 and i8, with respect to working with CFRP we are still in a learning curve. Processing the material for series production is not simple.” He said to fully stand behind the construction of the i8: “It is absolutely on point. I would exactly make it that way again.”

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Aluminum is used for specific sections of the body and chassis. Apart from the doors, now also the boot lid is made from aluminum. I already wrote about the lightweight measures for suspension, brakes and wheels in my story of the First Drive of the prototype of the new 7 Series

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Standard, the new 7 Series gets self-leveling air suspension up front and at the rear and Dynamic Damper Control. Integral active Steering will be available as an option, as well as the chassis control system Executive drive Pro, a system to reduce body roll under dynamic cornering.

Full LED-headlights are standard and also the rear lights are full LED now. It speaks for itself that BMW has packed its flag ship with the latest innovations, such as fully automatic remote control parking and gesture control, wireless charging and an active kidney grille, that automatically closes or opens according to the need of air cooling.

Design chief Adrian van Hooydonk underlined the fact that the car may look wider, thanks to the horizontally pronounced lines, it has still the very same width as the outgoing model.

In the interior design there also are more pronounced horizontal lines. Knobs and buttons are chrome and customers have a choice of aluminum or weed trim.

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The executive Lounge Seating offers the possibility to recline the backrest of the rear seat behind the passenger seat by up to 42.5 degrees. The passenger seat can slide forward by an extra 3.5 inches and its backrest can be tilted forward, while the head restraint can be folded down for a good view to the front.

The 7 Series will also become available in a long version, both from market launch as 740i, 750ixDrive and in a number of markets as 730d with or without xDrive all-wheel-drive. Besides the M Sport package there is a Pure Excellence and a BMW Individual design Composition package available.

The North American market will only get the long wheelbase 740i and 750i xDrive, with respectively a 320 hp strong 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder in line and a 445 hp 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8. Both engines are teamed to the renewed 8-speed automatic transmission, which links to the navigation system, so that gear selection can be adapted to the route and driving situation.

In 2016, BMW will also introduce a PHEV model of the 7 Series. The driveline will consist of a 2.0-liter turbo engine and an electric motor. The lithium-ion battery pack will be placed under the back seat.

The 2016 BMW 7 Series will arrive in BMW showrooms as from October 24 and will be priced from $ 74,950