BMW 7 Series E65
BMW's all-new flagship luxury car is a major step forward in automotive design and marks a new design direction for the company. BMW's designers and technicians have created an entirely new look and feel for the BMW 7 Series E65 and developed a revolutionary interior concept called iDrive.
Under the skin is a technological tour de force, which combines cutting edge body, engine and chassis technology with the latest in electronic and computer know-how. The combination of performance and economy are peerless in the luxury sector and refinement is second to none.
|2005 BMW 7 Series E65 Sedan|
|Power||170kW | 231HP||225kW | 306HP|
|Top Speed||244km/h | 155mph||238km/h | 155mph||250km/h | 155mph|
|Fuel Consumption (l/100km | mpg)|
|City||14.6 | 19.9||11.3 | 24.5||16.3 | 12.2|
|Highway||7.5 | 37.3||6.4 | 40.5||8.2 | 26.7|
|Combined||10.1 | 28.3||8.2 | 32.6||11.2 | 18.6|
|Power||270kW | 367HP||327kW | 445HP|
|Top Speed||250km/h | 155mph||250km/h | 155mph||250km/h | 155mph|
|Fuel Consumption (l/100km | mpg)|
|City||13.5 | 19.9||16.9 | 24.5||20.2 | 12.2|
|Highway||7.2 | 37.3||8.3 | 40.5||9.5 | 26.7|
|Combined||9.5 | 28.3||11.4 | 32.6||13.4 | 18.6|
Source for technical specifications: BMW.com.
Exterior design of the E65
The fourth-generation 7-Series (E65, launched 2002) was acclaimed as a superb driver's car which did not compromise on comfort or refinement, but there was one major objection: its challenging appearance. Viewed alongside its elegant but conservative predecessor (E38), the aggressively angular E65 polarized opinion - to put it mildly - and there were even calls in the motoring media for the resignation of styling chief Chris Bangle. In 2005 the design of the 7 Series was watered-down. The startled 'eyebrows' over the headlamps have gone, for a start, and the tail has benefited from a subtle tweak. Addressing the other main criticism, BMW has also revised the complicated i-Drive control system, adding a simpler menu and more direct access to certain functions.
Lightweight materials have been used extensively, like aluminium and high-strength steel. Although the new
7 Series is longer (+45 mm), wider (+40 mm) and higher (+57 mm) than the previous model and packed with new systems
and extra equipment, it is only marginally heavier (+20 kg).
The new body is also extremely aerodynamic which helps deliver the impressive fuel consumption figures.
Interior of the E65
BMW has rewritten the rulebook on automotive interior design with its new iDrive concept. Faced with the conundrum of ever-increasing vehicle systems and technology, yet limited space for the resultant proliferation of knobs, buttons and switches on the dashboards of luxury cars, BMW has found this radical solution.
iDrive is an intuitive, ergonomic design concept which puts the driver back at the centre of vehicle control. It splits the control systems into two main areas within the cockpit - the driving area, immediately in front of the driver and the comfort area, running up the centre console and the middle of the dash, dominated by the large circular knob (the Controller) and the Control Display. Even if some said is hard to operate and had some "bugs" in its infancy, all the other luxury manufacturers like the Mercedes Benz with the S-Klasse and the Audi with the A8 developed their own "i-Drive". Once again BMW stands out as a pioneer in the automotive industry.
All the primary controls needed to drive the car are directly in front of the driver. The gearshift is controlled by a stalk on the steering column and the parking brake is operated by a button on the dashboard, within easy reach.
The rest of the dashboard is almost devoid of switches and buttons, giving the interior clean lines and a feeling of light and space.
Exceptions are the primary heater controls and the sound system on/off knob. All remaining secondary controls are operated via the Controller - a large circular knob positioned on the centre console.
Control areas are selected via a menu-driven display at the top of the dashboard. The Controller and Control Display has been structured to be highly intuitive and easy to use - and at the same time to reduce driver distraction. Optional voice control of many of the systems makes life even easier.
One of the most significant innovations within this system is the world's first mobile internet gateway, called BMW ONLINE. This will give access to services like email, Yellow Pages, news and local guides.
Interior materials have been selected from the finest available and the 7 Series has an air of opulence and luxury. Standard specification is generous; including satellite navigation, telephone and leather upholstery and the option list is virtually limitless. Passenger space has increased compared to the previous model in every dimension and most notably, rear passengers have 42 mm extra knee room.
Endless power and dynamic brilliance
Most noteworthy, though, is the revised engine line-up: a modified 4.8-litre (367bhp) V8 in the 750i replaces the 745i unit, an updated 4.0-litre (306bhp) V8 in the 740i replaces the 735i and the all-new ultra-lightweight straight-six (258bhp) is fitted in the 730i and the 730d's 231bhp unit has been updated. The 760i V12 (445bhp) continues unchanged. Minor enhancements have been made to the chassis and suspension, and there are more options for further tweaks: the Adaptive Drive set-up now includes continuously adjustable damper control and Dynamic Drive, as in the 5-Series, to reduce body roll.
Given that the 7-Series engine range has, as its range topper, a V12 with twice the power and displacement, you'd be forgiven for thinking the 730d goes like a slug. Well, with a 0-62mph time of 7.8 seconds and a top speed of 149mph (limited), that's just not the case. The 231bhp straight-six is responsive and punchy, especially in the mid-range. And, as you'd expect, refinement is simply superb. The V8 acquits itself very well, too, with a 0-62mph sprint in just 5.9secs and a top speed limited to 155mph. The six-speed automatic gearbox with Steptronic sequential-shift facility is quick-acting, intelligent and flexible, working particularly well with the large V8 engine.
An extremely stiff chassis and a new active suspension system are complemented by the latest in electronic driving stability aids, to serve up the ultimate driving experience for a luxury car.
But however hard the car is driven, the refinement and ride quality remain sublime. Dynamic Drive active anti-roll is a standard feature. Sensors detect when the car begins to corner and hydraulic actuators rotate the asymmetric roll bars to lift the car on the outside of the bend. This does not load the suspension (like some other systems) so the ride quality remains perfect.
Body roll is reduced dramatically, although not eliminated, as this feels rather unnatural, and helps to keep all occupants in even greater comfort.
An optional Electronic Damper Control system (EDC-K) has a Sport and Comfort setting, but in each mode it constantly adjusts the damping rate to suit the driving conditions at any given moment.
In Sport mode the dampers are stiffer and the steering has more weight. As well as BMW's highly praised electronic active safety systems, such as Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), Dynamic Traction Control (DTC) and Cornering Braking Control (CBC), there is a new one called Fading Brake Support (FBC). Temperature sensors in the brake discs detect excessive heat build-up and apply extra force to the discs to compensate for any fade. Under really extreme driving conditions, when disc temperature exceeds 600ºC, engine torque is electronically reduced by 25 per cent to allow the brakes to cool.
Front, side, head and curtain airbags are fitted, plus active head restraints; the structure should be exceptionally solid and protective in the event of an impact, and there's a huge array of electronic traction control and stability aids to help keep you out of trouble in the first place. And with the iDrive system less fiddly, drivers are less likely to get distracted. New features for 2005 include the standard fitting of xenon headlamps (active cornering lamps are optional) and two-stage brakelight display, with LEDs that glow brighter under hard deceleration. The keyless entry system with electronic fobs make it well-nigh impossible to force the locks, and security should be excellent - though if you're still worried, BMW can provide fully-armoured, bullet-resistant versions.