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Facelifted BMW 7 Series revealed

First pictures and details of the 2012 BMW 7 Series, which gets design tweaks and more efficient engines

BMW has released pictures and full details of the facelifted 7 Series range. The extensive changes include design tweaks, more efficient engines and a whole host of new cutting-edge technology.

The exterior styling has received a subtle makeover with new LED headlights distinguished by BMW’s signature ‘Corona’ rings, a new kidney grille with fewer slats, and a reshaped front bumper to help channel air more efficiently around the front wheels. At the rear, a new chrome strip in the bumper is the only addition.

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Inside the changes are more apparent, with new thinner front seats, more sound-proofing in the B and C-pillars and the addition of a 16-speaker Bang and Olufsen stereo. Rear passengers are also treated to larger ‘floating’ 9.2-inch monitors in the headrests, if you order the Rear Seat Entertainment package. 

An optional 10.25-inch black panel screen replaces the traditional instrument cluster – and changes its appearance based on which driving mode you’re in – Eco Pro, Comfort or Sport. For example, the display takes on a blue colour scheme in Eco Pro and the rev-counter morphs into an efficiency dial, while in Sport the panel glows red and the speedometer and current gear are most prominent.

All 7 Series models now get BMW’s eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard, as well as stop-start, brake energy recuperation and electric power steering (except for four-wheel drive xDrive models).

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The engine range has been heavily revised, too. The flagship model is still the 536bhp 760i, with its 6.0-litre V12 engine, while the 750i gets a new 444bhp 4.4-litre V8 capable of 0-62mph in 4.8 seconds and 32.9mpg – that’s a 25 per cent improvement over its slower predecessor.

Two six-cylinder petrol models are offered – the 740i and the new ActiveHybrid 7. The 740i makes 316bhp from its 3.0-litre turbocharged engine, but returns 35.8mpg and 184g/km of CO2 – a 21 per cent improvement. The ActiveHybrid 7 has ditched its V8 for this same six-cylinder unit, but twins it with a 54bhp electric motor for a total of 349bhp. Despite the extra power, the hybrid uses 14 per cent less fuel than the 740i.

A two-strong diesel line-up includes the 730d and 740d. The 309bhp 740d comes with 7bhp more power, but is 17 per cent more efficient than its predecessor, while the 254bhp 730d emits just 148g/km of CO2 - this makes it the cleanest model in the luxury saloon segment.

More efficient electromechanical steering is now included across the range as standard, as is self-levelling rear air suspension. An optional rear-wheel steering system should improve steering response, too.

The range of new safety technology is mind-boggling, and includes a new system that recognises pedestrians in the dark and highlights them with a beam of light – unique to BMW. A more powerful navigation system has sharper graphics and a 3D mode around town, while the boot can now be opened by waving your foot under the rear bumper. 

The new BMW 7 Series goes on sale in the UK on 22 September 2012, priced from £58,115 for the 730d SE to £104,050 for the 760Li M Sport. 

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