Centennial 7 celebrates 100 years of BMW

Centennial 7 celebrates 100 years of BMW

Munich, Germany – BMW is to build 100 examples of this very special long-wheelbase 7 Series model, not only to celebrate its centenary, but also to kick off the next 100 years with a state-of-the-art plug-in hybrid option.

And of those 100, just three have been allocated to South Africa, for delivery in the first quarter of 2017.

As every anorak knows, the Bavarian Motor Works was formed on 7 March 1916 to manufacture aircraft engines for the Imperial Air Service – hence the iconic ‘propeller’ logo. Its first production unit, the BMW III, was a 19.1-litre, overhead camshaft straight-six that produced 138kW at 1400rpm.

In 1917 designer Max Fritz inserted a butterfly valve to create a ‘high-altitude carburettor’ that not only boosted its output to 150kW, it also allowed it to use special high-octane fuel and produce peak power at up to 2000 metres, outperforming any other contemporary engine at high altitudes.

The BMW IIIa cemented the young company’s reputation as a maker of high-performance straight-six engines that endures to this day.

BMW 7 Series luxury liner docks in SA 

Exactly a century later, the 7 Series centennial model is being offered with a choice of three drivetrains – ironically, none of them a straight six – starting with the 740Le iPerformance, which combines a TwinPower turbopetrol four with a synchronous electric motor for a total system output of 240kW, in either rear-wheel drive or xDrive all-wheel drive format.

Then there’s the 750Li, with a new 4.4-litre TwinPower turbopetrol V8 for which BMW quotes 330kW and 650Nm, also offered in rear or all-wheel drive, and capable of 0-100km/h in less than five seconds.

The range-topping 6.6-litre TwinPower turbopetrol V12 760Li recalls the 1987 flagship of the second-generation 7 Series, which boasted the first production BMW V12 engine in post-war Germany. The 2016 version delivers 448kW, launches the Centennial Seven off the line to 100km/h in 3.7 seconds, and is only available in all-wheel drive.

All centenary-model 7 Series will feature air suspension all round, with automatic self-levelling and dynamic damper control, as well as integral active steering, and active roll stabilisation with data-based predictive function.

SHE’S GOT THE LOOK

The centenary model 7 Series comes with exclusive, multi-layer Centennial Blue paint, 20 inch BMW Individual alloy rims in V-spoke design with a two-tone silver and grey finish, full leather trim in special fine-grain merino, and a lot of BMW Individual bespoke interior details.

There’s a special handmade signet announcing “THE NEXT 100 YEARS” on each B-pillar, on the trim strip above the glove compartment and on each of the four head restraints, while the cover of the cup holder on the centre console is proudly engraved “1 of 100”.

The special leather trim in a very pale blue-grey (it’s actually the same colour as the big puff of smoke that you see just before a racing car’s engine self-destructs) has been gently processed, says BMW, to give it a natural open-pore structure, with quilted seat surfaces and hand-woven piping.

The flooring, floor mats, seat belts and alcantara synthetic suede headliner are all finished in the same smokey blue-grey, set off by wood-veneer trim strips and steering-wheel insets in piano black.

One very special feature of the Centennial Seven is stationary air-conditioning, which can be run for long enough to cool (or warm up) the cabin to a comfortable ambience without starting the engine.

And of course, every centenary model can be ordered with the full range of 7 Series options, from ambient lighting and concert-grade sound system to the Executive Lounge package with individual, heated and cooled massage seats, rear centre console and seven inch removable Touch Command tablet computer.

THE WRITE STUFF

Each BMW Individual 7 Series The Next 100 Years model (no, we’re not kidding, that’s what Munich is calling it) also comes with an exclusive ‘Montblanc for BMW’ Centennial fountain pen, finished in the same special blue as the car’s paintwork and featuring a rhodium-plated 18-carat gold nib engraved to resemble the special backstitching on the car’s upholstery – and BMW has promised that only 100 will ever be made and that you will never be able to buy one separately.

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