Introduced in 2016, BMW calls the sixth generation of its 7 Series the most successful version of the brand's full-size sedan model to date. That's a trend the German automaker is clearly keen to continue with the rollout of a refreshed 7 Series for the 2020 model year.
As refreshes go, this is a significant one. There are the expected cosmetic updates, but also big changes to the 7 Series sedan's powertrains and luxury and tech offerings.
The 7 Series entry point in Canada remains the 750i, which gets a reworked 4.4L V8 that gains 80 hp and 74 lb-ft of torque, for new totals of 523 hp and 553 lb-ft.
A plug-in hybrid (PHEV) powertrain returns in the 745e, but switches out last year's 740e's four-cylinder gas engine for a more potent six-cylinder. That new motor and a larger battery pack boast an extra 72 hp and 73 lb-ft for 394 hp and 442 lb-ft when working together. UPDATE THISAs of this writing, BMW had yet to publish the car's promised all-electric driving range, but we suspect it will be better than the outgoing car's 45 km.UPDATE THIS
The flagship M760i's 6.6L V12 is carried over with its 600 hp and 627 lb-ft.
All three versions of the car use an eight-speed transmission and xDrive AWD.
The changes help BMW keep up with high-tech competitors like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and Audi A8. These are not cars that many people can afford, but those who do expect to get a lot for their money, and the 7 Series' new luxury and technology quotients help fulfill that desire.
While the 745e and 750i's new engines promise more performance, BMW says it added sound deadening materials to the car's body to create a more serene environment regardless of what's under the hood.
There is new stuff in the cabin, too. iDrive 7.0 is here, along with a new digital gauge cluster, standard wireless phone charging and the BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant, which responds to voice commands to operate certain functions.
Leather seating is standard, naturally, but a rear executive lounge seating option turns the 7 Series -- especially in its long-wheelbase form -- into a veritable limo, with ventilated and power-adjustable seats and a Blu-ray player that broadcasts to a pair of 10-inch screens.
Standard safety items include cruise control with braking, frontal collision and pedestrian warning with automatic city-speed braking, alerts for lane departure and unsafe lane changes, rear collision prevention and cross-traffic alert. The M760i comes standard with what BMW calls the driving assistance professional package, which brings semi-autonomous driving capability. There's a traffic jam assistant, active lane keeping assist with side collision avoidance, automatic lane changes, evasion assist and cross traffic alert. This package is an option in the V8 and PHEV versions of the 7 Series.
We don't expect much change to fuel consumption estimates for the 750i and M760i models, which were 13.3/9.2 L/100 km (city/highway) in the former and 17.7/11.9 for the latter.
We do suspect the 745e's new setup to at least match the outgoing 740e's 3.6 Le/100 all-electric estimate, and do better than the 9.5/8.0 L/100 km (city/highway) figures for the old car running on a combo of gas and electricity.
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