BMW has revealed a special limited edition of its 7 Series halo sedan that marks 40 years of the luxury limo, ahead of its official public debut at the Frankfurt motor show in September and an Australian arrival towards the end of the year.
The exclusive 7 Series Edition 40 Jahre will be limited to just 200 examples worldwide and while exact Australian allocation and pricing is yet to be confirmed, a number will be making their way to local driveways and garages.
Customers are offered a selection of bespoke treatments that enhance interior and exterior design of any 7 Series variant in the current range.
Each version will be available in a choice of either Frozen Silver ‘silk-matte’ metallic or Petrol Mica metallic paint, while the exterior package also includes a full M Aerodynamic pack, gloss black Shadow Line trims and 20-inch V-spoke alloy wheels.
The 40-year celebration continues on the inside where comfort seats are fitted as standard in both front and rear rows, and upholstered in a choice of Smoke White and Cohiba (a type of cigar) or Smoke White and black Merino leather.
Interiors are finished off with a Smoke White synthetic suede roof line, a choice of piano black or eucalyptus trims, and the 40 Jahre design applied to front headrests, floor mats and a pair of rear seat cushions.
The 7 Series becomes the third model in the BMW line-up to wear the anniversary Jahre (years) plate, following the M5 and M3 that were given the treatment in 2014 and 2016 respectively for 30 years of service.
Unlike the power pair that headline the 3 Series and 5 Series ranges, the 7 Series has never been offered as a track-focused M version. BMW has always stuck to its guns with its flagship and insists the M-badge should only be applied to uncompromising driver-focused models and not a car like the 7 Series which trades as an executive express.
But that hasn’t stopped the car maker coming close to a coveted M7, with a number of models that punctuate its 40-year evolution, and some memorable hardware.
In its original E23 generation, the 7 Series was offered with an all six-cylinder range including two particularly fizzy versions. When sold in Europe, the 745i was powered by the company’s so-called ‘big six’ M30 engine that was fed by a single turbocharger for 185kW – more than the Ferrari 308 of the same year.
Slotting the same engine into a right hand drive version was impossible with the steering column occupying the space needed for the turbo, but BMW managed to produce an even more potent 745i for South Africa thanks to the 213kW M88 M-power engine borrowed from the original M5. A true M7?
For its second-generation, the E32 7 Series gained V8 and V12 power to match increasing size and weight, but neither engine resulted in M-car pace. Had an experimental version made it through to production however, and the story could have been very different.
Dubbed the Goldfisch, BMW’s experimental engine gained four extra cylinders over the V12 and a subsequent bump in capacity to 6.7 litres. Yup, it was packing a V16. An E32 7 Series was the mule for the engine but was never widely talked about outside BMW walls.
The massive engine left no room under the bonnet for radiators, which had to be relocated to the boot complete with crude side-pod air ducting. Had it been let off the leash, its 300kW and 613Nm would have likely matched M-car pace of the late 1980s.
BMW applied previously M-car only colours, big wheels and body kits to the E38 7 Series Sport (below) but performance was not pumped beyond the standard V8 and V12 outputs, and it was almost the same story with the E65.
When the F01 arrived in 2008, it marked a return to more driver-focused drivetrains with all engines turbocharged with the exception of a base 3.0-litre six that was not offered in Australia, but the next and current generation (G11) broke new 7 Series ground and the first model yet to actually wear an M boot badge.
It might not be a pure M-car, but the M760Li packs a mighty twin turbocharged 6.6-litre V12 with a 448kW/800Nm punch, for zero to 100km/h acceleration in just 3.7 seconds.
Until BMW changes its principles on the BMW 7 Series model, this is as fast as the brand’s luxury limo will go.