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Seventh Heaven

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Story by Cort Nielsen

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With a new more powerful V8 engine, its enhanced exterior and even more luxurious interior, the 2006 BMW 7 Series seeks to reinforce its position in the marketplace. Not only is it a technological leader, it also offers a unique blend of dynamics, sportiness, elegance, and comfort. The new BMW 7 Series recently made its worldwide debut at the Geneva Motorshow and made its Canadian Premiere at the Pacific International Autoshow in Vancouver in early April. There have been changes to the rear and front fascia along with minor body modifications to the side skirts.

While this presents a fresh update to the benchmark, the real changes are to be found in the engine and interior. All of which reminds one that at BMW, the pace of evolution and improvement never slows; so it is as of March 2005 production, a significantly evolved 7 Series makes its retail debut. Highlights of the 7 Series include, a redesign of the front fascia (hood, grille, lighting clusters, bumper/spoiler), and the side sills/rocker panels and rear fascia (trunk lid, taillight clusters, bumper/spoiler), along with a re-contoured hood.

Also, the rear bumper’s wraparound tucks in more noticeably at the wheel-well and thus visually emphasizes a 14- mm wide rear track while providing a more aggressive stance. Under the hood there is a new 4.8-litre V-8 engine, up from 4.4-litre displacement, which produces 360 hp and 360 ft/lb vs. the previous engines specifications of 325 hp and 330 ft/lb. This increase in displacement has resulted in the model designation being changed to the 750i and 750Li.

Under both models’ aluminum hoods lies further proof of the technologically advanced and unique N62 V-8 engine. This unit continues with BMW’s revolutionary Valvetronic system, which controls engine power by varying valve lift instead of relying on a conventional throttle. Compared with conventional valve gear, Valvetronic enhances torque and efficiency. With 9.1 percent more displacement (up from 4.4 to 4.8 litres), the new 750i/Li engine achieves even greater specific power than its predecessor. Horsepower is up 10.8 percent from 325 to 360 hp.

Likewise, its torque curve is richer; the new, higher torque peak of 360 lb-ft. (up from 330) occurs at 3400 rpm, down 200 rpm from the predecessor. The freshened interior features new refinements, such as the standard three spoke steering wheel’s design, with less surface area at its centre and a thicker rim for a firmer, sportier grip. New climate-control knobs present improved tactile feel to the user, and are trimmed in an elegant new titanium material that also appears throughout the cabin.

The iDrive system’s controllers, located between the front seats, and in the rear, (when the optional Rear Entertainment Package is present) have a handier shape and handsome leather insert on top. Functional enhancements include, the audio system’s hard controls for AM/FM

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and entertainment source selection. Encompassing an extensive array of features and functions within its pioneering color-display and-controller concept, iDrive has again been refined and made more user friendly. Beyond the more pleasing controller, enhancements include easier-to-read graphics, clearer color-coding of individual menus, scrollable lists where it’s easier to find the desired choice, better visualization of selected functions, an all-new climate menu, and expansion of information in the on-board data menu. Recently introduced to the Canadian Automotive Press in Marbella, Spain, the new 7 Series is achieving excellent reviews. Initial media impressions include:

“Pre-makeover, the 7 Series was a delightful car to drive. The revisions to the newly named 750i and its long-wheelbase derivative transform it into a dynamic automobile that both handles like the dickens and elegantly pampers the riders.”

– Graeme Fletcher of CanWest News Service

“The various modifications to the 2006 7 Series, especially in the areas of enhanced power and chassis updates, result in a major upgrade. The flagship of the BMW brand continues to be an excellent combination of dynamics and comfort, a big, luxurious, prestigious sedan that is also prepared to play.”

– Richard Russell of The Globe and Mail

Where the 7 Series always excelled was in being a large, powerful car that felt much smaller and nimbler than it really was. It’s more true now than before. The three-spoke sport steering wheel (now standard equipment in our market) guides laser-accurate steering that, if it maybe isn’t the model of communication and clarity of something like a Z4’s rack, is still a benchmark for the class and appropriately refined, given the 7’s dual purpose of limousine and sports sedan. As ever the brakes are phenomenal, the transmission is almost telepathically responsive (you can shift it with buttons on the steering wheel, and there’s also a more aggressive sport mode), and the handling is frankly amazing for a car of this size.”

– Laurance Yap of the Toronto Star

The BMW 7 Series combines two cars in one: It is at once a genuine BMW offering typical BMW virtues such as driving pleasure, agility, and nimble handling for the ambitious self-driving customer. As well as a highly prestigious luxury sedan offering generous space and supreme comfort at both the front and rear. Book your appointment today to test the flagship of the ‘Ultimate Driving Experience’.

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