BMW's top model has been thoroughly revised and given greater presence since the sixth generation model was launched three-and-a-half years ago.
The 7 Series will continue to be available in two body variants, including the Long Wheelbase version with its 14-cm-longer wheelbase. Eighty per cent of customers opt for this version, which offers even more space in the rear.
The start of production of the facelifted 7 Series is also seeing a number of innovations happening on the factory floor.
Car and process innovations
Firstly, a plug-in hybrid will be available with a six-cylinder engine for the first time in the form of the 745e /745Le. The 286hp six-cylinder inline engine is combined with a 113hp electric motor for a total system output of 394hp.
Combined fuel consumption of the 745e /745Le are: 2.3 – 2.1 l/100 km / 2.3 – 2.2 l/100 km; combined power consumption: 15.6 – 15.1 kWh/100 km / 15.7 – 15.6 kWh/100 km; and combined CO2 emissions from fuel: 2 – 48 g/km / 53 – 50 g/km.
Furthermore, the refreshed 7 Series is the first BMW car to get a fourth-generation battery. The latest battery-cell technology gives the luxury sedan an all-electric driving range of up to 58km, ensures local emission-free driving and is virtually silent. The battery installed in the 745e / 745Le is made in Dingolfing, which serves as the hub supplying BMW plants worldwide with batteries and electric motors for production of electrified vehicles.
Another innovation that marks the facelifted 7 Series production is the increased digitalisation of workflow.
For assembly of less-ordered special equipment, like the rear centre console, the vibrating alarm of a smartwatch alerts employees on the corresponding section of the line that an “exotic” is coming up and gives them instructions for additional work steps.
Data glasses are also used in training new staff. When learning new work steps, virtual assistance is projected into the employee’s field of vision. This enables rapid, sustainable learning in pre-assembly of complex components like the rear light. This augmented-reality application is used at assembly training centres and constantly refined in working methods in co-operation between production planning and IT.
Digitalisation is also making further inroads in supplying assembly lines with components. The latest generation of autonomous tugger trains is currently being piloted on longer routes between the warehouse and assembly hall. The capabilities of driverless tugger trains go beyond automation of earlier solutions. New and smarter logistics helpers will enable dynamic route guidance according to delivery priority, with active obstacle avoidance.
Since production of the first 7 Series began in 1977, more than 1.9 million BMW 7 Series cars have been built in Dingolfing. Last year, over 90 percent of all units produced were exported abroad. The Chinese market plays an especially important role for the model: In 2018, 44 percent of global sales were delivered to customers in China.
Sharing design language
The redesigned front and rear ends give the 7 Series a more expressive look. At the front, the enlarged kidney grille contrasts with the slim headlights. It used the same design language as the 8 Series and the X7.
The rear-end design also brings fresh accents: The flatter three-dimensional rear lights are fully LEDs. Beneath the chrome bar between the two rear lights, there is now a slim six-millimetre light strip, which creates a discreetly illuminated accent when daytime running lights are switched on and produces a distinctive night-time design in the dark. There are also special rear lighting effects when the car is locked and unlocked.
The interior is now also available with extended quilting around the centre console and in the armrests integrated in the door trim. New fine-wood interior trim is also available. Improved acoustic shielding in the rear wheel arches reduces the level of tiye noise noticeable in the interior. To further enhance acoustic comfort, the side windows now also come with increased material thickness.