A Diesel and Hybrid Version Of The BMW 7-Series For 2016

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What changes will make it different?

From what we’ve been seeing and hearing, the 2016 model year of BMW’s flagship 7-Series sedan is expected to be a redesigned sixth generation of the nameplate. While we shouldn’t expect anything too radical with the styling, the upgrades underneath that big-body shell should be pretty significant.

Why should I wait for the 2016?

If you’re in the market for a vehicle of this stature, you’re unlikely to be too tempted by a good price on a soon-to-be-replaced model. With so much happening in ’16, you’d be wise to wait.

Should I buy a 2015 edition instead?

This series is renowned for being one of the most technologically advanced sedans in the world, and the ’15 version is tremendous. But with a redesign on the near horizon, it’s hard to make a case for taking the plunge on it.

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Will the styling be different?

Evolution rather than revolution is the name of the game with vehicles in this class, so don’t expect the upcoming model to look radically different. New lighting and an updated grille seem to be in the cards, while spy shots show rectangular exhaust tips at the rear and wheels that haven’t been seen previously.

Any mechanical changes?

The series will be built on an entirely new platform with a new chassis that could utilize both aluminum and carbon fiber to attain a weight decrease of around 450 pounds. BMW’s new modular engine architecture is also expected to be a prominent part of the new car, and while most manufacturers are introducing smaller, lighter and more modern engines to even their biggest cars these days, we don’t expect the German automaker to be so bold as to drop anything smaller than a six-cylinder into the series. We haven’t heard much about new transmissions just yet, so the eight-speed automatic units that were introduced across the range a couple of years ago could remain as part of the upcoming large luxury sedan.

Will fuel economy improve?

With cutting-edge materials and manufacturing techniques dropping the weight of the car considerably, there’s every reason to expect better gas mileage. Add into the equation a new generation of fuel-efficient engines, and it seems certain that we’ll see something better than what model-year 2015 offers: 19 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway for the 740 even in xDrive all-wheel-drive form and 22 and 30 mpg, respectively, from the Active Hybrid 7. If you want the very best economy from your luxury sedan, the diesel is likely to remain the best, as it already delivers an impressive 23 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway.

Will it have new features?

Although a car as premium as the 7-Series comes with just about everything you could want, this isn’t the BMW model that gets the most cutting-edge technology first; the 5-Series generally acts as the testing ground. Expect to see more connectivity and safety features than ever before, but some of the semi-autonomous driving tech that may be appearing in the ’16 5-Series may not be part of this offering for a little while.

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How will the pricing be different?

Prices stayed the same for ’15, which probably paves the way for an increase for the upcoming model. Pricing isn’t as sensitive with cars like this as it is with vehicles lower down the food chain, but that still doesn’t mean the automaker can easily get away with a big boost in the current starting MSRP of $74,000 for the 740i in rear-wheel drive.

When will it come out?

Development and testing appear to be at a fairly advanced stage, so the car should have a release date sometime in the second half of 2015.

Best competitors

Jaguar XJ, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Audi A8, Aston Martin Rapide S

What changes would make it better?

The technology could be a little more user-friendly, and the ActiveHybrid 7 really does need to be smoother if it is ever going to make an impression in a segment as luxurious and opulent as this one. Despite being an extremely good car, the 2016 version will have to be a home run to become most buyers’ first choice ahead of the Mercedes S-Class and the Audi A8.

Quick hit

This series treads a fine line between its sport sedan roots and its desire to be an opulent palace-come-office on wheels. With a lineup that offers the car in 740i, 750i, 760i, Active Hybrid 7, the top-performance Alpina B7 and now a diesel-powered 740Ld xDrive form, there’s a car to suit most potential buyers, and that looks to continue into ’16.

About Chuck Giametta

This nationally recognized, award-winning writer brings to Carpreview.com two decades of automotive testing and reporting for newspapers, books, magazines, and the Internet. The former Executive Auto Editor of Consumer Guide, Chuck has covered cars for HowStuffWorks.com, Collectible Automobile magazine, and the Publications International Ltd. automotive book series. This ex-newspaper reporter has also appeared as an automotive expert on network television and radio. He’s a charter member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, the president of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Media association, and a juror for the annual Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year awards. Chuck writes from Colorado Springs, Colo. If you have a question for Chuck, write to him at [email protected]