BMW’s 2016 7 Series loses 286 pounds and changes settings at the wave of a hand

BMW’s upcoming 7 Series redesign is incredibly important for the German automaker. With attractive, technologically advanced rivals like the new Mercedes-Benz S-class, and potent performance challengers like Jaguar XJR, the 2016 7 Series needs to raise the bar in terms of style, efficiency, and driving dynamics.

Now that BMW has released its list of technical upgrades for the sixth generation flagship, we can see if Bimmer has done enough.

One of the most significant differences from the current car is the loss of 130 kilos/286 pounds thanks to extensive use of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP). The construction of the redesigned 7 Series was inspired by the heavy use of CFRP on BMW’s i-series models.

Next up is the engine and transmission. While we don’t have official output specs, we do know a lightened, more efficient 3.0-liter TwinPower turbo inline six-cylinder will be available for 2016. The entry-level motor is rumored to be a 2.0-liter four-cylinder, with a hybrid option to be introduced later. And most exciting, the 760i will use the 6.6-liter twin-turbo V12 from Rolls Royce.

Regardless of engine choice, all new 7 Series models will be paired with an optimized version of BMW’s Steptronic eight-speed automatic that provides navigation-assisted gear changes (technology that also comes from Rolls-Royce).

In terms of driving dynamics, BMW is introducing a two-axle air suspension system that automatically self-levels and dynamically adjusts the dampers. To access the full potential of the new system, BMW has added an “adaptive” mode on its selectable driving control unit which uses driver inputs to adjust suspension behavior. Basically, the more aggressively you drive, the stiffer the ride becomes, and visa versa.

Inside, BMW has added new functionality for its iDrive infotainment system. A touch display has been integrated to control all convenience features, and a new “Gesture Control” system is on hand to allow pre-defined hand movements to control certain infotainment functions.

Finally, safety and convenience technology have been improved significantly. You can now park your 7 Series via BMW’s Display Key while outside the vehicle. And to keep you from ruining the brand new carbon-fiber lightened body, BMW has added a few new safety goodies. Standard is a rear collision prevention system and cross-traffic alerts. For an added fee, you can add steering and directional control (the steering wheel will adjust itself to stay within the lanes), lane departure warning, and active side collision prevention.

With this new information available, it stands to reason that the official reveal of the next generation 7 Series is just around the corner.