BMW: BMW 7 Series 2002
More than any other model in recent BMW history, the new BMW 7 Series marks a quantum leap into the future: Creating and introducing this revolutionary car, BMW is not only offering a cavalcade of innovations in technology, but is rather re-interpreting BMW's brand values in a new design language wonderfully attuned to the character of BMW's top saloon. The new 7 Series provides a progressive and up-to date interpretation of sporting performance, power and beautiful, aesthetic looks.
The looks, design and style of the exterior are duly reflected to the last detail within the interior, where design and ergonomics team up to take a decisive step into the future: Now the human being is no longer required to adjust to his "workplace", but rather the 7 Series adjusts to the driver, the passengers and their requirements. Ergonomics of this kind consistently focusing on human needs allow and create new freedom in design.
The iDrive concept is a fascinating combination of the two - of ergonomics and design elevated to a new standard. All driving functions are arranged around the steering wheel, basic comfort functions often required remain within the instrument panel, controlled by conventional switches.
One control unit for hundreds of functions: the Controller. One of the most important features of the new 7 Series' innovative control and display concept is the Control Centre - the Controller and Control Display - operating and masterminding a large number of functions. The Controller is a very convenient, practical and useful control element at the front end of the centre armrest for intuitive use and operation comparable to a gear selector lever on a conventional car. Following the pattern of a compass, the driver gives the Controller instructions by pushing the lever to the front or rear, to the right and left, and in the four diagonal directions, then turning and pressing down the lever in order to select and operate menu functions.
BMW ASSIST Internet gateway
Introducing the new 7 Series, BMW is also launching a service system that sets new standards in every respect: BMW ASSIST for the first time gives the driver access to a mobile Internet gateway providing information and services tailored exclusively to the driver and his requirements. This makes the BMW Internet gateway another highlight of ConnectedDrive intelligently networking all information and assistance systems for the car.
Receiving and sending e-mails; checking the stock exchange and shares to buy; calling up airline timetables and planning your itinerary; booking a hotel room and a table at the restaurant; ordering tickets for the theatre or the cinema; listening to the latest news and sports results; purchasing online and taking care of bank transactions.
Two examples from the iDrive concept clearly demonstrate how this function may be optimized for even greater driving pleasure and control ease: programmable cruise control and ACC Active Cruise Control.
In addition to the functions of conventional cruise control, programmable cruise control enables the driver to record and save any random number of speed options when activated. Even with the car at a standstill, the driver is therefore able, via a lever on the steering column, to enter or erase up to 8 desired speeds by moving a cursor within the instrument cluster. This means he can pre-select speeds often required such as 30, 50, 60 or 100 km/h or 30, 55Žor 75 mph directly by pressing a button, without having to drive at precisely these speeds in advance.
ACC Active Cruise Control extends and enhances the conventional cruise control supporting the driver in keeping distances and road speeds appropriate in a given situation. In dense convoys on the motorway and country roads, for example, ACC automatically maintains a specific distance from the vehicle ahead. This automatically adjusts the speed of the car to the flow of traffic, relieving the driver of the rather monotonous job of constantly fine-tuning his speed. The driver automatically activates ACC by switching on cruise control via the lever on the steering column, an integrated switch then enabling the driver to choose any of three distances.
The 8-cylinder power units featured in the new 7 Series are absolutely new from the ground up, incorporating unique technologies once again marking the top end of the range in every respect: Featuring fully variable management and control of the intake system, all camshafts (bi-VANOS) and the intake valves (VALVETRONIC), the engines are able to adjust to all requirements with a degree of perfection never seen before. The result is an increase in fuel economy by approximately 14 per cent despite an increase in output also of about 14 per cent, unparalleled spontaneity in response and handling, and a lower noise level than ever before. Throttle-free load management - the accelerator pedal acts directly on the VALVETRONIC engine management instead of a throttle butterfly - furthermore ensures all of these benefits on every fuel grade commercially available. Acknowledged to comply in full with emission management category EU4 and allowing an oil change interval of up to 40,000 km or 25,000 miles, the new engines also reduce cost of ownership to the advantage of the driver.
Major specifications and model distinctions
The automatic transmission featured in the new 7 Series makes BMW the forerunner in technology in two respects: This is not only the first automatic transmission in the world with six gears, but also the first automatic transmission with integrated shift-by-wire technology. The absence of any mechanical connection between the selector lever and the transmission gives the driver the particular benefit of extra comfort and agility when shifting gears, enabling him to operate the transmission and Steptronic directly in or on the steering wheel. Instead of having to operate a conventional selector lever in the center console, the driver can now choose all programs or gears by means of a logical operating system with intuitive control. The central feature is the gear selector lever on the steering column presenting the schematic arrangement of gears.
Through its driving characteristics and handling, the new 7 Series clearly confirms BMW's leadership in the design, construction, set-up and production of the suspension and chassis. The foundation for this superiority is provided by the all-aluminium suspension with unsprung masses consistently reduced to a minimum for excellent driving comfort on less fuel than ever before. Aluminium wheels and extra-large aluminium brake callipers round off this lightweight construction concept also offering optimum safety on the road. Pneumatic suspension and two new active control systems serve to further enhance motoring comfort and safety: Dynamic Drive compensates body sway in bends, EDC-C adjusts the damping effect permanently and infinitely to road conditions and the car's dynamic driving behaviour.
The Intelligent Integrated Safety System (ISIS) is an all-new bus system for the intelligent activation of airbags, belt latch tensioners, active headrests, and future systems in passive safety. This gives the passengers optimum protection in the event of a collision, since the system activates the right airbag with the right intensity at the right time. Airbags not required are not opened. Contrary to current systems controlled by one single central unit, ISIS is a combined system made up of autonomous and, as a result, individually controlled units. In particular, ISIS offers extremely fast transmission rates and a supreme standard of all-round safety and reliability.
Photos: BMW AG