By on August 29, 2016

2016 BMW 7 Series

The sixth-generation BMW 7 Series didn’t go over exactly as the automaker might have hoped, so it’s planning to ditch two doors and hope for the best.

Sources close to the company’s plans tell Bloomberg that a coupe version of the flagship sedan is in development as BMW tries to catch up to the more successful Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

An updated and restyled 7 Series bowed for the 2016 model year, but the hoped-for sales turnaround hasn’t been stellar. After a 2009 sales dip caused by the recession, U.S. 7 Series sales have fallen every year since 2010, dipping below the 10,000 mark in 2014 and 2015. Year-to-date sales are higher than the first seven months of 2015, but not by much.

In contrast, sales of the S-Class topped 20,000 during each of the past two years, more than double that of the 7 Series. BMW’s plan, which hasn’t been made public, is to create more versions of its top-shelf passenger car to boost overall sales.

According to the report, the need to increase sales is as much about image and reputation as it is about revenue. BMW isn’t used to being an also-ran in the luxury game, yet it finds its turf threatened not just by German rivals (the next-generation Audi A8 lands in 2017 as a 2018 model), but by premium upstarts like the Tesla Model S.

“The 7 Series hasn’t managed the same ‘aha’ effect as the new S-Class,” Juergen Pieper, an analyst at Bankhaus Metzler, told Bloomberg. “It’s lacking that special something.”

The same sources claim BMW blames a boring design and too few technological advances for the lackluster response. That’s a problem, as the next A8 is expected to surpass both BMW and Mercedes-Benz with its available tech, especially its self-driving system.

Mercedes-Benz is flinging out different S-Class variants six ways to Sunday, a strategy BMW will now follow. The coupe variant likely won’t be the only new 7 Series. The automaker plans to flesh out the model with a high-performance version, a plug-in hybrid, and an ultra-luxury version to take on Mercedes-Maybach, the sources claim.

[Image: BMW Group]

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49 Comments on “BMW to Build a 7 Series Coupe Because the Sedan Ain’t Cutting It: Report...”


  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    If anything BMW needs an X7, not another 8 series. What’s this gonna do or have that the 6 series doesn’t?

  • avatar
    hubcap

    “Mercedes-Benz is flinging out different S-Class variants six ways to Sunday, a strategy BMW will now follow. The coupe variant likely won’t be the only new 7 Series. The automaker plans to flesh out the model with a high-performance version, a plug-in hybrid, and an ultra-luxury version to take on Mercedes-Maybach, the sources claim.”

    I know you reported that BMW won’t follow Mercedes lead by flinging out different 7 Series variants. Yet, different variants appear to be in the pipeline. Perhaps they won’t be “flung” out but merely placed at the feet of consumers?

  • avatar
    scwmcan

    All well and good, but aren’t the Rolls Royce’s the ultra luxury 7 series meant to take on Mercedes Maybach? ( or is the Maybach trim not high end enough to take on Rolls?)

  • avatar
    carguy

    If the 7 series sedan is losing badly to the S Class sedan, what makes BMW think that a 7 series coupe will do better against the S class coupe?

    What the 7 series needs is a better interior and an improved ride not less doors.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      The 7 Series never really compared directly to the S Class in sales to begin with – a new gen S Class would hit 30k in sales as it did in 2006 whereas a new gen 7 Series would be more like 20-22k in sales.

      Sales of the G11/12 7 Series have improved the past 3 months selling a total of 3,623.

      In that same time period, the S Class sold 4,780 – so while the S Class is still clearly the leader, the 7 Series isn’t doing too badly.

      What has hurt 7 Series sales is the addition of new competitors like the Panamera, Jaguar going all-out sport with the XJ and even the Model S (albeit not quite as luxurious) for buyers looking for a flagship sedan on the sportier side.

      Doesn’t help that BMW sunk a lot of development costs into its new lightweight platform whereas the S Class doesn’t have a state-of-the-art, lightweight platform (at least not yet) and thus, Mercedes could spend its development $$ on making the interior even more lavish (if a bit gaudy).

      And there’s even the 6 Series Gran Coupe which pretty much competes against its stablemate, the 7 Series (whereas the CLS is more of an E Class competitor).

      There was recent talk of BMW moving the 6 Series coupe even further upmarket and being renamed – so wonder if this is basically stating the same thing.

    • 0 avatar
      NewQ

      I’ve driven both, I own one. The 7-Series interior is at an equal level with the S-Class in terms of quality. The S-Class, in my opinion, holds an edge in design, but that’s subjective.

      The 7-Series ride is within 90% of the S-Class on a luxury scale. The S-Class can’t touch the 7-Series on the spirited driving end of the spectrum however; thus, the 7 has a greater range of driving dynamics, even if it doesn’t extend as far in to luxury as the S.

      That style of design and type of ride quality are what consumers in the segment are looking for though. The 7 and the S are equals and perfect rivals, but the S holds the advantage in areas most preferred by the clientele in this segment.

  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    It’s just not special enough. The A8 and the S-class always have unique interiors compared to lesser A6s and Es (although the latest E is the closest to the S inside that it’s ever been) but the new 7 has that same old, same old BMW look that they’ve been using for years. I don’t think anyone cares about the hand gesture controls, and what else does it really do that’s all that interesting?

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I don’t think the A8 looks terribly different from the other models until you get into W12 territory.

      The S-Class is a segment leader because it defined the segment, and epitomizes it. Hell, Mercedes-Benz’ entire lineup pretty much consists of taking the S-Class experience and distilling it into different packages, especially with the new styling.

      BMW, on the other hand, has the compact 3-Series as its bread-and-butter. That’s a recipe that is simply going to be less-successful in a flagship sedan. The flagship will feel like a scaled-up compact sport-sedan, which won’t impress people looking for a big luxury car, and it will feel too heavy and tech-laden to please the sport-sedan lovers.

      And aside from that, the new G11/G12 7-Series doesn’t look appreciably different from the old F01/F02 model.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        I think you hit the nail on the head. This is how it has been since the 7-series debuted in the late 70s. It has always been a bit of an afterthought and an also-ran.

        The latest one is technically interesting under the skin, but very few buyers care about that. It’s boring on the outside, and not up to MB on the inside.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Don’t know why people even mention Audi, since (at least in the US) Audi isn’t even on the same plane when it comes to luxury sedan sales at the mid-upper range.

      The best the A8 has ever done is hit 6k in sales; the 7 Series is already over that for the year.

      Historically, the 7 Series has been closer to the S Class in sales than the A8 has been to the 7 Series.

      In the midsize segment, the A6 isn’t even in 3rd place.

      The 5 Series also used to be ahead of the E Class, but in recent years, the E Class has pulled ahead of the 5 Series.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    The Bangle styling started the downhill slide, and continual fiddling with the design since then rather than a major do-over have made it stale. Everyone else has moved on entirely by now. It’s also not a great car, at the base of it.

    The S-Class IS a great car.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Good point. Everything about the 7-series exterior looks dated, while the S class is more elegant and modern. Just compare the rears of the two.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        Eh, the exterior of the S Class is basically a blob and the interior, while lavish, is a bit gaudy in going for that retro speedboat look (which I usually like, but don’t like MB’s interpretation of it).

        That being said, BMW’s exterior design has also gone downhill.

        Mercedes has stuck to the tried and true formula for the luxury market – plush, compliant ride and a lavish interior.

        BMW has spent more of its R&D $$ on developing a lightweight platform – which makes the 7 Series the better handler, but that’s not what the majority of luxury buyers in this segment are looking for and for those looking for something sportier, there are simply more options these days – Panamera, XJ, 6 Series GC, Model S, Quattroporte.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Actually, the Bangle-mangle era set huge sales records for both the 7 and the 5. The slide started when BMW made them more conservative. Though I would not imply any correlation and causation in that – making them more conservative also coincided with the rise of the luxury SUV and the debut of more competition in the luxury sedan class. There is only so much market for $65-125K vehicles, the pie is getting sliced thinner even thought the pie IS getting bigger too.

      I have long said – imagine how many Bangle-era cars they would have sold if they had actually looked good?

      • 0 avatar
        CV Neuves

        The sales records may have something to do with the Chinese market coming on line. Back, eg. the 1995-01 E38 sold about 1000 there. These days the figure would be above 25K. Speaking of it: just a couple of days ago I saw an E38; still a gorgeous car! It oozes elegance. The current G11 seems to be more in line with Chinese tastes, and at a quick glance the difference in sale numbers between 2000 7er and today’s seems to be pretty much exactly what China takes.

  • avatar
    Astigmatism

    It used to be that a BMW was the “ultimate driving machine,” and you bought one because you wanted to have a more engaging driving experience than other cars in the segment. The W140 S-Class was a bigger, softer limo than an E38, but the E38 was actually worth driving.

    Why the hell would anyone buy a 7-series today? What’s the sales proposition? “You can spend just as much for a techno-luxo-barge as your neighbor’s S-Class, but get a bit less luxury and have everyone think you spent $30k less”?

  • avatar
    stingray65

    US sales are important, but not critical for the 7 series, because I am sure that BMW sells at least as many in Europe, and probably a lot more in China – so global sales are still decent. Since it share a platform with the 5 and 6 series, the development and production costs are also reduced – so I suspect it is still pretty profitable for BMW even with disappointing US sales. Contrast with Cadillac, which also has disappointing sedan sales in the US, but almost zero sales in Europe and fewer than BMW in China, and it doesn’t help their luxury image to know they share platforms and engines with down-market Chevrolet. But the way things are going with CUV/SUV sales – it will be interesting if any luxury car maker will even bother with traditional sedans in a few years.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I say it depends on sales overseas. I can’t speak for Asia but in Europe the current crop of owners seems to have more sense than the fools, er buyers, in Amerika.

  • avatar

    YES _ FINALLY

    THE 6GC ISNT UTTING IT EITHER

  • avatar
    JEFFSHADOW

    I’d rather drive my ’75’-series Buick Riviera! No “Break My Wallet” needed here. . .

  • avatar
    MartyToo

    I noticed one from a distance on a recent interstate trip. Coming at me I wondered if it was a lost relative of a Buick. In the rear view mirror it reminded me of an Avalon or a Camry.

    ¿Should it sell in numbers between these two?

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    I can’t even remember the last time I saw a 7 series of any vintage. They must have never sold worth a damn ever.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      They did sell a lot of them from the late ’80s through the mid ’00s, they just aren’t on the road anymore because maintenance.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        I did see a nice E39 525i today, though its rather compact dimensions compared to the modern 5 had me thinking it was a 3 series!

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          I preferred the larger looking one prior to the E39. The rounded shapes and short wheelbase on the E39 didn’t work for me. Never did like the headlamps either.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            Was that the one with body colored “scallops” under the headlights surrounded by black trim? I never liked that.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            This.

            http://www.autogaleria.hu/autok/bmw/530i-sedan-e39-2000-03/bmw_530i-sedan-e39-2000-03_r7.jpg

            I hate this.

            You’re thinking of a similar vintage 3-Series.
            http://smg.photobucket.com/user/spoolnvr4/media/7.jpg.html

            Don’t like that a -lot-, but it’s not as bad as the 5 IMO.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            No, I’m thinking of this.

            https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/53/BMW_525i_E34.jpg

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Ha, yeah that’s the 5-Series where I like the looks.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            I like the one before that and the one after that. Someone I never met in community college drove an E28 528e, the second coolest college parking lot car I’ve encountered after the Alfa 164 Quadrifoglio.

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      I saw one being driven (or ridden in) by a client of mine who’s a big enough deal that I can’t tell you anything more identifying than that he’s had a major impact on the current presidential campaign. So the 7 is still finding its mark in some circles, at least.

      But I agree with other posters: Personally, I’d go for the S-Class over the 7, if only for the interior. It’s *nice* and all, but ‘nice’ is what I expect out of my Sonata, not out of a six-figure statement of personal power.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Bill Clinton likes the 7-Series and simulation machines! Omg!

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Don’t make me hate the 7.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            You seem more like an A8 customer to me, anyway.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I go against the grain: XJ 351.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Well done, plucky chap!

            I don’t care for the hunched over look of the current one, and those big black C-pillar trims. Almost like a really messed up take on the Citroen C6 back there. If the X350 had not existed, then I might be okay with the X351.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            X350/8 was better but what are ya gonna do?

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I’m gonna think of how the platform woulda made a great Lincoln RWD full-size, and make Adams haz sads.

            Staying on topic, Jag has completely lost the plot to me! The proposition of spending a lot of money on a luxurious British car just makes me lean toward a Range Rover instead. They cost just about the same if we’re talking V8 models.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            So you feel LR models should be cheaper or more expensive than the comparable Jaguar?

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Well, generally more expensive. Jaguar was always the “value proposition” on the luxury market – as good as the others but noticeably better on the cost side. LR never had this value idea anywhere in the equation. Ever since they got power windows, they’ve been successfully adding onto the base price and base level of luxury.

            I think that’s part of Jag losing the way forward.

            Same with the new F-Pace. That should be cheaper than the larger Discovery, and at loaded level, cheaper than the RR Sport. From what I’ve seen, the F-Pace gets quite expensive rather quickly. That’ll have people opting for the better LR badge.

          • 0 avatar
            Adam Tonge

            Damnit Corey

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Haha

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            The MSRP of a MY00 XJ8 varied between $55,9 and $80,9 for VDP S/C, while the MSRP of an MY00 Range Rover was between $58,3 and $68.

            http://www.cars.com/land-rover/range-rover/2000/snapshot

            http://www.cars.com/jaguar/xj8/2000/

            If by value proposition you refer to X-type or Freelander vs other marques… eh…

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            In my estimation, the Jaguar brand does not have the same prestige it had in those days. The competition has broadened and improved on all sides – sedan and lux SUV.

            The XJ should not cost more than a Panamera.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Nothing is more prestigious, every brand has gone down several pegs and every brand builds its share of pure junk these days. X-type has gone mainstream.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    The rear windows will probably be fixed, too…

    No sale.

  • avatar

    I’ve been saying this for years: dump the design director. The guy lacks vision. The new BMW 7 Series is just another 7 Series. Can’t see why this should be considered “the new one” compared to the previous one.


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