The 2006 model year marks the release of two updated models for BMW. The best selling Bimmer, the 3 Series, will now be offered to consumers with more powerful engines and updated styling – which, thankfully, lacks the much-maligned shapes of recent BMW products. That takes care of the bread and butter.
Addressing prestige is the job of the 2006 BMW 7 Series, the brand’s flagship that is now characterized by smoother and more attractive body lines, a simplified iDrive system (can you hear the wealthy masses rejoicing?), and a more powerful standard V8 engine.
Whereas ads for the 2006 3 Series can be seen on nearly every channel and billboard, BMW has spent relatively little time touting the new 7 Series. One may interpret this as BMW's way of saying "Fine. You were right. The last 7 Series could have been better." A whispered admission of poor styling decisions, if you will. With the 2006 7 Series it appears that BMW is offering an olive branch of sorts – the convoluted design stays, but in a concession to consumers and complainers it now more closely resembles the more traditional, conservative 7 Series of the past.
Prices of the BMW 7 Series have modestly increased over 2005. The 2006 BMW 7 Series 750i lists for $71,195. The 750Li goes for $71,195. For $110,695, drivers can get into a 760i. And for $118,095, BMW aficionados can drive a 2006 7 Series 760Li. All prices include a $695 destination charge.
Carried over from 2005 is the V12 fitted into the 760i and 760Li models. Horsepower is rated 438 at 6,000 rpm, and torque comes in at 444 lb.-ft. at 3,950 rpm.
Connected to both engines is a six-speed adaptive automatic transmission with a manual-interactive feature.
BMW officials claim that a few suspension adjustments will aid in the 7 Series’ handling at high speeds. Front and rear suspension bushings have been revised, as have spring rates and shock absorbers. In addition to the standard suspension setup, there are optional suspension settings that include BMW’s Active Roll Stabilization system and a new sport suspension.
A new standard feature on the 2006 7 Series is BMW’s Brake Force Display, which effectively makes the brake lights appear brighter as more pressure is placed on the brake pedal. New exterior colors include Monaco Blue, Deep Green, Michigan Blue, and Barbera Red.
Inside, updates are relatively minor, with a revised steering wheel and instrument panel.
The 760i model adds 78 horsepower thanks to its 6.0-liter V12. An electronic suspension, 20-inch alloy wheels, a driver’s seat with massage, dark ash trim, and an upgraded sound system with a six-disc CD changer are also included. Besides the longer wheelbase, the 2006 BMW 7 Series 760Li swaps out the 20-inch alloys for 19s and features a unique interior ash trim.
Photos courtesy of BMW