ACROFAN

BMW Sixth Generation New 7 Series 730d xDrive

Published : Sunday, December 13, 2015, 11:14 pm
ACROFAN=Yong-Man Kwon | yongman.kwon@acrofan.com | SNS
If it’s not for particular cases of cars, generally, ‘Flagship’ is commonly settled down for its size, glamour, and price. Flagship of most of mass production automobile manufactures at domestic and abroad is the biggest and most luxury car that the brand could produce. Since it is the biggest and heaviest, it has strong engine and a smooth ride. Accordingly, one brand’s sedan with flagship-level becoming a ‘Chauffeur driven’ was a flow like a fate.

In symbolistic aspect of flagship car, whether it is possible to compromise a gap between physical reality and images that the whole brand had and expected is also an important part. At this part, even in flagship sedan with a characteristic of big and luxury ‘chauffeur driven’, BMW faced to a hard problem of how to integrate the pleasure of ‘owner driven’ that the whole brand had. Therefore, that 7 series so far went the other way from other brands is the result of its worries.

Completely new sixth generation ‘New 7 Series’ filled a gap between chauffeur driven and owner driven, which is one of the dilemmas that 7 series had so far, and it suggests ‘driving luxury’ combined with luxury as much as other competitive models and still good driving performance. A new design expressing modern luxury with light weight design using carbon core, a bigger look, and comfortable and luxurious interior specifications with various new technologies have meanings of suggesting new type of flagship sedan like BMW.

 
▲ New 7 Series has a bigger frame, but becomes lighter with the latest specifications.

 
▲ ‘Executive Lounge’ provides convenience equivalent to that of first class airplane seat.

Sixth generation new 7 series suggests ‘driving luxury’ by applying a new design expressing modern luxury with light weight design using carbon core, a bigger look, and comfortable and luxurious interior specifications with various new technologies. It doubled differentiation with differentiated design factors, the bigger size, and apparently continuing the latest family looks that maintain a brand’s consistency. Particularly at the front part, ‘active air stream kidney grille’ is applied for the first so that newness in aspect of design and cooling effect of engine are also added.

At sides, it completed unbroken line by Hofmeister kink composed of a single frame with strong feeling of thick character lines, minimized air resistance by equipping BMW aerodynamic technology reflected air breather and enhanced fuel efficiency. The back part shows grandeur and stable feeling by applying ‘L’ shaped LED rear light and horizontal line. Twin muffler configuration becomes a point that visually doubles balance and sportiness.

Interior has consistency with car’s exterior for luxurious ambience. It makes a driver feel the most comfortable and convenient ambience by providing the best Nappa leather seat with style from horizontal surface and line, and motor-control comfort seat with memory function.

(Styling from horizontal surface and line and providing the best Nappa leather seat with motor-control comfort seat with memory function)

Also, ‘sky lounge panorama glass roof’ provides wide openness assessment during the daytime, and it directs completely different interior ambience by lightening 15,000 ambient lights with six colors selectable at night.

Especially, ‘executive lounge’ provided to 750i xDrive Prestige model makes the space for backseats to the space equivalent to that of the first class airplane seat. It is possible to rest conveniently as a passenger seat can be moved up to 9cm adding on a wide legroom, and do simple office work by table positioned at center console. Also, a monitor at the backseat supports a mirroring function that plays smartphone screen as it is, so one can enjoy entertainment and work more conveniently even when riding a car.

 
▲ A point of substantial lightening that 7 series shows is ‘carbon’

 
▲ Engine lineup has luxurious configuration of 3L L6 diesel turbo and 4.4L V8 gasoline turbo.

Sixth generation BMW new 7 series reduced the weight to maximum 130kg compared to the previous generation through a carbon core vehicle body structure based on BMW’s EfficientLightweight strategy. Therefore, it enhanced stiffness and strength of passenger space, passenger’s safety and fuel efficiency. Also, ultralight design philosophy applied aluminum on car body and specific parts of chassis, and at the same time, it additionally improved even in very detail parts systematically. It finally realized lower centroid with 50:50 ratio as weight division per axle.

For lightening, aluminum is used into trunk cover apart from doors, and BMW reduced unsprung mass by widely applying ultra-lightening design to wheel, suspension, brake and even wheel and increased comfortableness. In addition, insulation and soundproof fundamentally block heat and noise created by engine, and reduce general volume and essential insulator’s weight at the same time. Through this new insulation, they finally realized outstanding interior silence.

New 7 series a combination of BMW group’s next generation V8 gasoline engine (or) series V-6 (inline 6-cylinder) diesel engine, and new steptronic 8-speed automatic transmission. The models released in domestic are configured of BMW xDrive intelligent permanent four-wheel drive system. New 730d xDrive and 730Ld xDrive are equipped with 3.0L series V-6 (L6) twin-power turbo diesel engine with 265horsepower for the maximum output, 63.3kg.m for the maximum torque. Also, new 750Li xDrive’s BMW twin-power turbo 4.4L V8 gasoline engine has 450horsepower for the maximum output and 66.3kg.m for the maximum torque.

At the same time, front and rear ‘air suspension’ and ‘dynamic damper control’ with automatic self-leveling function are provided. The latest integral active steering system, active roll stabilization system called ‘executive drive pro’ raises comfortability, dynamics, senses of balance and confidence. Electromechanical anti-roll bar reduces rolling of the car’s body during dynamic corners, and active chassis control system controls damper’s responsibility depending upon road surface. Newly designed ‘driving experience control switch’ also provides ‘adaptive mode’ that automatically controls the characteristic according to situations.

 
▲ Among BMW’s models released in domestic, new 7 series is the first model to adopt laser light.

 
▲ A builtin tablet is available to be used at controlling car seats and etc.

BMW laser light first introduced with BMW i8 is equipped to new 7 series, and this is the first time among BMW’s models released in domestic. It doesn’t cause glare, and it helps a safe driving by providing 600m of wide investigation range when there is no car at the front, and a driver is driving in more than the speed of 60km/h at night and presses a high beam assistance button. Through a next generation ‘surround view’ system, control display makes a driver conveniently check surroundings with top view, 3D view, and panorama side view.

New 7 series is equipped with a new navigation that is applied with data from domestic map data provider, so it provides accurate geographic information. Touch panel screen is applied for the first on iDrive control system monitor, so that it can simply control various infotainment functions in intuitive way through sensing hand movements. At the same time, a BMW touch-command tablet positioned on backseat’s armrest is provided to all the cars to increase car controllability.

Also, BMW display key that LCD display is applied is provided to all the trims. It lets us check much information about the car such as whether a door is opened or not, possible driving distance, existence of car’s abnormalities and etc., and the recognition range is maximum 300m. It also supports remote parking system to provide convenience for parking and getting off at small space. It is possible to charge mobile devices and BMW display key at the same time as there is a separate space for wireless charging at the middle of a driver’s seat, arm rest console.

 
▲ Luxurious, but not dizzily glossy, and points like BMW as usual are shown.

Acrofan attended to the sixth generation new BMW 7 series released media event, and had a test drive of the sixth generation new BMW 7 series’ basic model, 730d xDrive. 730d xDrive, equivalent to the level of new BMW 7 series’ entry, introduced in domestic combined drive performance and economics through outstanding drive performance with 3L diesel engine, and among 7 series, it has a bit relatively heavier configuration to owner driven.

When first ride on a car, it maintains BMW’s atmosphere as usual, but there are more generous amount of space, convenient and luxurious. When see it nonchalantly, it is BMW as usual. However, when see it again, everywhere in a car is covered with luxurious material. This is because of not stressing luxury with chrome or etc, like chauffeur driven sedan as usual, or maintaining the unity of image from 1 series to 7 series even the interior. Therefore, a driver doesn’t have to be confused at control when suddenly riding on 7 series.

Noise and vibration when starting a car are not much big, but it couldn’t completely remove noise and vibration like other cars with gasoline model. This might be limitation from using L6 arrangement, rather than V6 arrangement, of large displacement diesel engine, or it can be seen as a general characteristic of BMW diesel engine. However, a characteristic of diesel engine, having relatively low available RPM bands, can be expected to reduce noise during drive. In this part, I believe it had a good result and (of) soundproof prevention as a flagship.

 
▲ There are four properties prepared, but its movement in sports is still calm.

When a driver moves a car after sitting on the seat, he/she first gets a feeling of smoothness and easy to handle. Starting is light, steering is not heavy, and even engine noise is (almost) blocked. Of course the speed rapidly goes up with deeply stepping on accelerator, but the level of noise expected from engine or etc. is very low. This point seems to be focused on chauffeur driven’s characteristic, but it actually not bad for owner driven.

When a driver starts acceleration with coming out of long straight road, beginning of acceleration is so strong that he/she can feel rear wheels spinning. This may be because of thick torque and enough output that the latest large displacement diesel engine has. Acceleration is very strong until 160km/h, but its uptrend starts to bend after 160km/h. Of course in the situation of high-speed cruising it can accelerate to 200km/h with no difficulty, and engine’s high speed noise is sometime better than gasoline.

By integrating carbon core and various lightening technologies, even though it has a big size, we can feel tenacity of matching weight ratio to 50:50 at cornering with reducing weight compared to the whole generations.

(We can feel a kind of tenacity at cornering by integrating carbon core and various lightening technologies, matching weight ratio to 50:50 with reducing weight compared to the whole generations even though it has a big size)

It can reduce much expected sense of weight at corners when controlling load by using engine brake, and go forward stably with an agile line. At the same time, air suspension and various chassis controls that automatically respond to situations make it easier to control this big body.

Of course, this sports driving has only the meaning of ‘may be able to’ as 7 series. Backseat has different feeling from a driver’s seat despite hard sports driving on tracks. If a passenger stretches out their legs on folded passenger’s seat with a button in the wide space covered with the best nappa leather, driving that makes passenger pushed around will not give undesirable feeling. Especially during corners, a person on the driver’s seat cannot feel, but at the backseat, there is a feeling of slightly sliding (at rear traction).

 
▲ Even a backseat of the basic model can be equivalent to that of business seat on airplane by pushing a passenger’s seat.

Though it couldn’t be better if it was a limousine model, space for backseat is competitive enough in flagship chauffeur driven sedan market. It can fold a passenger’s seat and put leg rest down with a button. Also, there are position controller, ventilation, massage function and even window blind that can be controlled with a button. If separated buttons are not used to, a passenger also can directly control a seat and other things with touch command tablet positioned at backseat armrest.

This ‘touch command tablet’ is a model integration of car and IT technology, and one of dream functions, but expectations and worries coexist. A touch command table that was selected as a new 7 series was the level of entry, but it was possible as it is a Samsung galaxy tab 4 7-inch model and it passed one year.

(A touch command tablet that was selected as a new 7 series was a Samsung galaxy tab 4 7-inch model that is the entry model when announced and even passed one year.)

As a lifecycle of car and tablet is extremely different, if tablet is replaced, armrest stands become useless. If tablet is left, there will be some problems of further using and long period providing, so BMW’s further response is looking forward to.

Meanwhile, some stubborn so far turned into innovation might be iDrive and navigation system. BMW used its own controller to iDrive system so far, but it seems that it focuses more on mechanical reliability rather than convenience that human can overcome. However, in 7 series, it finally became possible to directly control with a capacitive touch screen. It also made it possible to easily use various functions through gesture control during drive.

 
▲ Moved to the other way than competitors, but 7 series’ image is more closely approached.

It is clear that ‘owner driven’ characteristic that BMW 7 series wants to have is much harder than the characteristic of 5 series and below. The condition of physically big and heavy car body is due to the coexistence of ‘pleasure of driving’ from owner driven characteristic that BMW originally had. In addition, people who purchase this car will not require traditional BMW’s ‘pleasure driving’, and the result of mixing tradition’s stubborn with the latest technology and focusing on target market’s preferences might be new 7 series.

Generally new 7 series’ image is like a middle-aged muscular gentleman, dressed with nice suit. It doesn’t reveal luxury, but luxurious ambience comes out from clothes. It doesn’t stress health and dynamics, but the appearance has natural feeling. Even though the movement is not intense, activity and discipline are felt from the image. One thing that new 7 series can impose in the competition with competitive models might be ‘youthful’ image from brand image and ambience of a car.

Meanwhile, driving performance aspect is also standing out among chauffeur driven flagship sedans, and various latest technologies are making (comfortable) and driving performance coexist in a fairly high level. Without exception, this latest chauffeur driven sedan has a younger image, so a gap between chauffeur driven sedan and new 7 series that has mature image becomes narrower. Fully-changed 7 series, released at the year of 20th anniversary in Korea, might have met monumental or appropriate time period.

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