CarandDriver | Joey Capparella | 01/16/2019

The BMW flagship sedan also gets revised engines and plenty of new tech.

BMW’s flagship sedan, the 7-series, now matches its new X7 SUV counterpart thanks to its drastically enlarged kidney grilles. By BMW’s own measurement, they’re 40 percent bigger than before, and they lend a newfound sense of presence to the biggest Bimmer four-door, even if they look a bit ridiculous. Other changes to the 2020 7-series include updates for the optional V-8 engine, a revised plug-in hybrid model, and plenty of new tech features—including an option for hands-free driving under certain circumstances.

As before, the lineup starts with a six-cylinder 740i model and tops out with a V-12 M760i model, and both of those engines are unchanged. The next-rung-up 750i, though, gets the same updated twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8 from the 8-series; it makes 523 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque, increases of 80 hp and 74 lb-ft. All-wheel drive is now standard on the 750i, making the base 740i the only rear-wheel-drive 7-series left.

A plug-in-hybrid variant continues but gets an entirely different powertrain, which triggers a name change from 740e to 745e. Like the plug-in X5 SUV, the 7-series swaps its turbo-four gas engine for a turbo six, which begets a combined 389 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque, up 67 hp and 73 lb-ft from the 740e. That power is still routed through an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. A new 12.0-kWh lithium-ion battery pack will presumably increase electric-only driving range, although BMW isn’t releasing official numbers yet.

A wide range of new technology features is available, including BMW’s new voice assistant for the infotainment system, optional laser headlights, a digital gauge cluster, and the latest iDrive 7.0 software with updated graphics and menus. New optional active-safety features include the Extended Traffic Jam Assistant, a system that made its debut in the X5. It allows the driver to take his or her hands off the wheel at up to 37 mph while it manages steering, acceleration, and braking and uses a camera to make sure the driver is still paying attention to the road.

Beyond the massive new grille, other visual changes include different taillights, new wheel designs ranging from 18 to 20 inches, and several new color choices, some of which are part of BMW’s Individual customization program. Under the skin, there is additional sound deadening material and—to get really specific—new power-window motors that are said to be smoother.

The updated 2020 7-series models go on sale in April. Prices haven’t been announced yet, but shouldn’t change much from the current car, which ranges from $84,645 for the 740i up to $159,395 for the top-dog M760i.