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Kidney grilles go XXL on facelifted BMW 7 Series. Image by BMW.

Kidney grilles go XXL on facelifted BMW 7 Series
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What's all this about?

It's... it's... it's the facelifted version of the sixth-generation (G11/G12) BMW 7 Series.

Why are you being so hesitant?

We're not. Honestly. All fine here. Nothing to report. Nosiree. So, let's get into the details. BMW has subtly redesigned the front bumper and headlight clusters (AAARGH!), while simultaneously giving the Seven a more contoured bonnet with a larger BMW roundel adorning it (WHAT ON EARTH HAS HAPPENED TO ITS FACE?!). Moving around the sides (THOSE KIDNEY GRILLES!), the breathers aft of the front wheels (THOSE AWFUL KIDNEY GRILLES!) are now vertical and there are fresh alloy wheel designs/body colours (OUR EYES! THEY'RE BURNING!) to choose from. At the back, a clever design feature (WHO IN MUNICH THINKS THOSE MONSTROSITIES ARE APPEALING?!) sees a full-width light strip underneath (WHO??!?!??!?) the chrome detailing, said strip (THEY'RE AS BIG AS KENT!) linked to the daytime running lights, which is a most useful feature that'll prevent those oafs who drive at night on DRLs alone from being invisible from the back. New, 35mm-slimmer lamp clusters (WHY, BMW?! WHYYYYYYYY?!??!?) and reshaped exhaust trims round out the updates (*GIBBER*).

Do you not like the kidney grilles at the front?

*quiet whimpering*

Come on, you've got to tell me about them.

Must we? Really? For whatever arcane and demonic reason, which we cannot fathom for the life of us, BMW's design team has decided that the kidney grilles on its models must get even bigger, more distended and swollen then previous iterations as the days tick by. Honestly, at this rate, the company's automotive products will be on biweekly dialysis by 2023. We already know the forthcoming X7 luxury SUV will have some whopping front intakes, while the Vision iNext EV SUV destined for 2021 has a colossal kidney extrusion on its face, even though it doesn't actually need grilles. Thus, the poor old Seven is the recipient of a new, single-piece kidney grille that's fully 40 per cent larger than the items that adorned the pre-facelift model (which was actually a handsome car).

Kidney grilles aside, is there more to discuss?

Oh, plenty. Inside, the BMW Live Cockpit Professional brings in the Operating System 7.0 for the iDrive and a fully digital instrument cluster, while the steering wheel has been redesigned. More sound-deadening in the B-pillars and rear wheel arches, as well as 5.1mm-thicker acoustic glass around the passenger compartment, should see the placid interior of the Seven become, er... even more placider. And then there are the changes to the motive power.

Ooh, are all of these good?

Sort of. Kind of. For example, all models are now Euro-6d Temp compliant, which - in the case of the mighty M760Li xDrive - has necessitated the fitment of a gasoline particulate filter. Sadly, this has strangled its power down to 585hp, from its previous peak of 610hp, so the 6.6-litre twin-turbo V12 is slightly slower, recording a 0-62mph time of 3.8 seconds (a tenth down on the pre-facelift car). By way of compensation, the 750i has had a huge shot in the arm, gaining 80hp for a peak output of 530hp. That means there's now just 55hp between the 750i and M760Li, instead of 160hp on the pre-facelift variants. Anyway, then we have the 745e.

The 745e? Surely you mean the 740e?

No, we mean the 745e. Whereas the old G11/G12 740e had a 2.0-litre four-pot motor with electric augmentation, the 745e of the facelifted model replaces that motor with a 3.0-litre inline-six petrol. Peak outputs therefore rise from the 326hp/500Nm of the 740e to 394hp/600Nm on the 745e, with 122.8mpg, 52g/km of CO2 and a maximum electrical range of around 36 miles supposedly possible.

And are all the diesels killed off?

Nope, the 730d, 740d and ridiculous quad-turbo 750d continue, with their outputs of between 265- and 400hp. Punchy.

So, can we return to the kidney grille?

No. We cannot.

Matt Robinson - 16 Jan 2019

2019 BMW 7 Series. Image by BMW.2019 BMW 7 Series. Image by BMW.2019 BMW 7 Series. Image by BMW.2019 BMW 7 Series. Image by BMW.2019 BMW 7 Series. Image by BMW.

2019 BMW 7 Series. Image by BMW.2019 BMW 7 Series. Image by BMW.2019 BMW 7 Series. Image by BMW.2019 BMW 7 Series. Image by BMW.2019 BMW 7 Series. Image by BMW.    - BMW road tests
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