“LCI” or Life Cycle Impulse is BMW’s terminology for a mid-life facelift and with the 7 Series now half-way through its 7-year lifespan BMW engineers have been hard at work sprucing, fettling and updating their flagship model.
As you’d expect in such a conservative sector of the market, changes have been extensive but inconspicuous – you’re unlikely to spot an LCI 7-Series until you see one in the dark.
It’s hard to keep up with lighting innovations, they seem to change almost every year, so the 7 Series had some catching up to do. New LED headlights with the hallmark BMW corona rings and a smart accent strip, now ensure the 7 Series projects a distinctive appearance at night. The modified BMW kidney grille with nine slats – instead of the previous 12 – and revised front apron set the new model apart from its predecessor.
Elsewhere, indicators integrated into the lower section of the exterior mirrors are among the new features visible from the side. And last but not least, the powerfully chiselled rear benefits from a thin chrome strip connecting the two slim reflectors in the rear apron.
The LCI 7 Series hits the ground with new and comprehensively revised engines, channelled through an intelligent new eight-speed automatic transmission. The engines feature the latest Efficient Dynamics technology such as the Auto Start-Stop function, Brake Energy Regeneration and the second-generation Driving Experience Control switch with ECO PRO mode and a coasting function to reduce fuel consumption.
Alongside the flagship BMW 760i with its 12-cylinder powerplant, customers can choose from the new six-cylinder in-line engine powering the BMW 740i and the revised V8 petrol engine earmarked for the BMW 750i.
The six-cylinder diesel engines in the BMW 730d and BMW 740d likewise offer drivers the combination of increased output and lower fuel consumption in the new 7 Series.
Making its debut, is the new BMW 750d xDrive – powered by a new 3-litre TwinPower turbo six-cylinder diesel engine – first seen in the M550d, X5 50d and X6 50d – with 376bhp and a whopping 558lb-ft (740Nm) of torque – making it the most powerful diesel engine of its kind.
The 750d xDrive is capable of 0-62mph in 4.9 seconds the standing km in 24.0 seconds, whilst at the same time achieving 44.1 mpg (on the combined cycle) and CO2 emissions of just 169g/km.
Rounding off the range is the second-generation BMW ActiveHybrid 7 with a new six-cylinder in-line engine and significantly reduced emissions.
An impressive spread of chassis wizardry helps keep the 7 Series’ ride comfort at the top of its class. Complementing the optimised chassis set-up – with modified rubber bearings and new dampers – and the self-levelling air suspension for the rear axle is the standard-fitted Electric Power Steering. The 7 Series’ electronic control systems meanwhile have also been retuned to enhance both dynamics and comfort.
As you would expect with BMW’s flagship model, it’s now a techno-fest of the latest BMW ConnectedDrive intelligent systems – including BMW Night Vision + Dynamic Light Spot with pedestrian recognition technology (unique in the premium segment), anti-dazzle LED High-Beam Assistant, Driver Assistant Plus with Stop & Go function, Active Protection with automatic fatigue recognition and Speed Limit Info including the No Passing Info display using road sign symbols.
An innovative feature allowing convenient hands-free opening of the boot lid rounds off the function-focused highlights of the BMW 7 Series.
Inside, newly designed leather seats provide improved lateral support and long-distance comfort. Individual seats are also available as an option for the rear and can be adapted to passengers’ needs and the optional Rear Seat Entertainment package with a new 9.2-inch flatscreen monitor can be combined with a new 1,200-watt Bang & Olufsen High End Surround Sound System, delivering unimpeachable sound quality.
Its 16 speakers include an illuminated centre speaker which retracts almost fully (rather like the Audi A8) into the instrument panel.