“Never Fall Behind,” should be the subtitle to every BMW tagline, this year “Designed for Driving Pleasure.” Indeed, it’s always been a game between all the major automakers, constantly developing their vehicles to stay one step ahead or one step more unique than the rest. For the flagship 2019 BMW 7-Series, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and Audi A8 have been putting the pressure on BMW to keep the 7-Series relevant. A mid-cycle refresh, or “LCI” in BMW-speak, could be just the ticket, including some styling upgrades and technology additions, just in time for the 2019 model year.
Recently, the 2019 BMW 7-Series LCI has been seen on test tracks and even public roads, heavily camouflaged in the front and rear, which tells us the bumpers, headlights and taillights, grille, hood, and fenders are getting some attention this time around. Everything points to a more dynamic-looking profile and a slightly different take on the classic BMW kidney grille. We can’t wait to see what the final product will look like, particularly the headlights and outer taillights, though the trunk lid appears to be untouched. Spy shots are inconclusive as to whether the 2019 refresh will retain the divisive and controversial “hockey stick” trim on the bottom of the door panels and front fender, though.
Inside, less-easily seen, the 2019 BMW 7-Series LCI will get some technology upgrades, under the hood, in the cabin, and in the brains. Under the hood, the car is likely to get a new range of engines and powertrain options – more power, more range, less fuel, and fewer emissions, as well as choices of rear-wheel and all-wheel drive.
Reliable news on safety and technology upgrades is sparse, but the 2019 BMW 7-Series is highly likely to feature Level 3 Autonomous Driving features, competing with the upcoming Audi A8. Level 3 Highly Automated Driving would allow the driver “to disengage from driving for extended periods of time,” such as to read a book or watch a movie. BMW Personal CoPilot would still need a human driver for driving tasks, such as evasive maneuvers, parking, or city traffic, but we won’t see Level 4 or Level 5 Autonomous Driving, zero driver interaction, for another decade, no matter what marque.
The 2019 BMW 7-Series will be a stunning luxury sedan and technological wonder. For MSRPs starting from $84,000 to $140,000 for the current model year, we’d expect to see a few thousand tacked on for inflation and technology upgrades, but will the upgrades turn heads away from the competition?