What's the news?
It's facelift time for the sixth-generation BMW 7 Series and... AAAAAAARGH! GOOD GRIEF! WHAT HAVE THEY DONE TO ITS POOR FACE?!
We don't really know what to say here. We mean, we *could* draw your attention to the fact the facelifted 7 Series has a newly designed front bumper and headlights. And a larger BMW badge, sitting on a re-sculpted bonnet. Or vertical side air breathers aft of the front wheels, with fresh designs of alloy and additional paint finishes to choose from. Or its clever rear-end redesign, which features 35mm slimmer lamp clusters, reshaped exhaust trims and a full-width light strip beneath the chrome trim, that's actually linked to the daytime running lights - meaning there's always some illumination at the back of the Beemer. All very nice.
But all of these details pale into utter insignificance, thanks to the redesigned kidney grilles. Someone, somewhere in the bowels of the 'Vierzylinder' building that is BMW's Munich HQ, has clearly got it into their heads that 'the bigger, the better' is the styling tenet to follow. The forthcoming X7 SUV and the futuristic Vision iNext both have some whopping kidneys (they're not even grilles, when it comes to the iNext...), but this is another level altogether. On the facelifted Seven, the grille is fully 40 per cent bigger than the pre-facelift model, and it's a single-piece affair too... and, sorry, we know looks are subjective and all that, but it's truly hideous. BMW: please, please, please start downscaling the kidney grilles. We're begging you.
So, after breathing into a brown paper bag for a few minutes, to try and stop the hyperventilation brought about by the kidney grille debacle, onto other details. The laminated side glass around the passenger compartment is 5.1mm thicker than before and there's extra sound-deadening enveloping the rear wheel arches, as well as the B-pillar interiors, meaning 'greater acoustic comfort' for those residing in the Seven's magnificent cabin. There's also the latest Operating System 7.0 for the BMW iDrive, while BMW Live Cockpit Professional also upgrades the instrument cluster of the 7 Series and the steering wheel has been redesigned, too.
BMW's made some changes to the motive power of all models of 7 Series, as all models meet the Euro-6d Temp emissions regulations. On the M760Li, a gasoline particulate filter has been added, which (rather regrettably) strangles peak power down from 610- to 585hp and adds a tenth of a second to the vehicle's 0-100km/h time. Meanwhile, the 750i-badged variants with the 4.4-litre V8 biturbo gain a huge 80hp in the facelift, taking their peak outputs up to 530hp, while the three diesels continue - outputs of between 265- and 400hp are attainable, thanks to the use of up to four turbochargers on the madhouse 750d.
However, the big news is over with the plug-in electric hybrid version, which was previously known as the 740e. That's because it had a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine as its onboard internal combustion engine component, whereas in the facelifted line-up, we have the 745e. This now uses a straight-six petrol 3.0-litre instead, lifting the PHEV's peak outputs from 326hp/500Nm on the 740e to 394hp/600Nm on the 745e. This enhanced hybrid, capable of 0-100km/h in 5.1 seconds and a 250km/h limited top speed, has a theoretical maximum electric range of 54km and emits as little as 52g/km of CO2, with a best economy quoted at 122.8mpg (2.3 litres/100km).
The revised BMW 7 Series is making further strides towards automated driving, as it gains standard-fit Parking Assistant that now also includes Reversing Assistant, while Driving Assistant Professional with Steering and Lane Control Assistant is also part of its technical make-up.
Irish prices start at €96,160 and the new BMW 7 Series officially goes on sale in April.