Mercedes creams BMW when it comes to sales of its flagship sedan in the U.S. But regardless of whether or not the 7 Series will ever beat the S-Class, BMW’s entry receives meaningful updates for the 2020 model year.
A new look helps solidify the sedan’s stance at the top of the BMW lineup. Not everyone is going to like it, but the grille is much larger than before, taking cues from the three-row X7 SUV. The trim surrounding the dual-kidney grille is also bolder. The model has a new hood, as well as redesigned lower front bumper air intakes with large air deflectors to curb turbulence around the wheel openings. In the rear, you’ll find slim taillights, which are connected by a thin light strip running across the entire tailgate.
Along with an updated exterior design, most of the engines receive more horsepower. The base turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder makes 335 hp, up from 320 hp on last year’s model. Torque remains at 330 lb-ft. The twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8 receives an even more sizable increase in power, coming in at 523 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque. That’s an increase of 80 hp and 74 lb-ft from the old model. The 6.6-liter V-12 holds steady at 600 hp, but torque has jumped to 627 lb-ft from 590 lb-ft. A Sport+ mode is now available on the top M760i xDrive trim.
Previously, BMW offered a plug-in hybrid variant with a four-cylinder engine. Now, BMW is switching out that model for a six-cylinder plug-in with a new lithium-ion battery that packs the latest battery cell tech. This variant produces a total output of 389 hp and 442 lb-ft of torque, up from 322 hp and 369 lb-ft. BMW hasn’t revealed the all-electric driving range, and fuel economy numbers have not yet been announced for any variant.
As you can imagine, models with the base engine are the slowest. BMW estimates a 0-60 time of 5.3 seconds with rear-wheel drive, or 4.8 seconds when paired with all-wheel drive. V-8 models can reach that speed in 3.9 seconds, while V-12 models can perform the task in just 3.6 seconds, according to BMW. The plug-in requires 4.9 seconds. All models are paired with an eight-speed automatic.
BMW promises a quieter cabin on the refreshed model, too. This has been achieved with new shielding in the rear wheel arches, improved sound insulation near the B-pillar and other areas, and thicker glass for the windscreen, side windows, and rear window.
Inside the cabin, the 7 Series adopts the latest iDrive operating system. There is a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, which has been redesigned so that there is room for a navigation map in the center. Standard features on the 2020 BMW 7 Series include soft-close automatic doors, wireless charging, gesture control, Wi-Fi hotspot, a Harman/Kardon surround sound system, and ambient lighting. Drivers can make use of BMW’s personal assistant to ask for parking suggestions, traffic information, and more.