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2020 BMW 7 Series brings new tech and a whole lot o' grille

Whether you want a V12 or a hybrid, the 7 Series has you covered.

BMW

The BMW 7 Series is no longer the only vehicle in BMW's lineup to carry a 7. It's now shared with the X7 three-row SUV, but the sedan has long been the automaker's bread and butter flagship, and a mid-cycle update brings a number of major improvements to ensure the sedan remains the top of the pops.

The 2020 BMW 7 Series isn't a brand new generation, but rather a hefty refresh of the automaker's sixth-gen flagship. BMW updated the look to more closely resemble the X7, which is to say it now has a grille the size of a small moon. A set of thinner headlights flanks those big ol' kidneys, and a redesigned front bumper relies more on vertical lines than it used to. Out back, there's a set of integrated tailpipes in the bumper and some updated taillights that, again, bring the look a little closer to the X7.

The interior is less radical. It's largely the same as before, with a large infotainment screen rising from a dashboard that relies heavily on horizontal lines and layers. BMW's photos show off some impressive stitchwork in the seats front and rear. Dakota leather is standard, but for a bit more scratch you can get fancier with Nappa or Merino leather.

As always, an available executive rear seat package removes the bench seat in the second row and replaces it with a pair of cushy thrones separated by a large center console. The rear-seat package also includes a BMW Touch Command tablet for manipulating the rear-seat entertainment, which includes two 10-inch displays and its own Blu-Ray player.

While the grille is stupendously large, the rest of the 2020 7 Series' body is actually quite fetching.

BMW

The glass surrounding the occupants is 0.2 inches thicker than before, to make the interior even quieter, but only V8 and V12 models get thicker glass on the sides and rear standard. Wireless phone charging is standard, and it lives just forward of the cup holders.

The full bevy of standard tech only begins with wireless charging. The 2020 7 Series' standard equipment also includes air suspension, soft-close doors, a panoramic glass roof, a Wi-Fi hotspot, Apple CarPlay, ambient lighting and gesture control. On the safety front, standard equipment includes blind spot monitoring, forward collision warning, autobrake, parking sensors and a surround-view camera.

The 7 Series also has a new trick up its sleeve -- Back-Up Assistant. This system is capable of "remembering" a driver's input when parking in a particularly tricky spot. It'll go through the motions in reverse order, helping remove itself from the parking space by controlling the steering while the driver mans the brake and gas pedals.

In terms of powertrains, buyers have a number of options. The 740i wields a 3.0-liter I6 good for 335 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque, good for a 0-to-60 sprint of 5.3 seconds. If that's not enough, the 750i upgrades to a 523-hp, 553-lb-ft V8, dropping the 0-to-60 time to 3.9 seconds. At the top of the range is the M760i, which has a 600-hp, 627-lb-ft V12 that accelerates even quicker. All-wheel drive is standard on the V8 and V12, but optional on the I6. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard across the lineup.

If you'd rather go green, there's also a plug-in hybrid model available. The 745e connects a straight-six engine to a beefy little electric motor, offering a net 389 hp and 442 lb-ft. Its 12-kWh battery is larger than before, but BMW won't give out range figures until closer to its on-sale date.

The 2020 BMW 7 Series goes on sale in the spring, and pricing will be announced closer to that time.

Update, 4:44 p.m. Eastern: Amended text that said V6 instead of the correct I6.

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