Print 23 comment(s) - last by Pessimism.. on Aug 11 at 8:24 AM

BMW's next 7-Series will make heavy use of aluminum and carbon fiber-reinforced plastic

Ford isn’t the only manufacturer looking to expensive, lightweight materials to save weight on its vehicles. BMW’s flagship 7-Series sedan has put on a few pounds over the past decade and a half, and the German luxury automaker is looking to completely erase that weight gain.
According to a new report by AutoCar, the next generation 7-Series will make extension use of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CRFP), aluminum, and magnesium to achieve its targeted curb weight goals. BMW makes heavy use of these materials in the i3 and i8 electric vehicles, so it was only a matter of time before their use started to spread to more mainstream luxury models.
And given the 7-Series’ position as the flagship of BMW’s luxury sedan lineup, the company has more leeway to adjust its pricing accordingly.

2014 BMW 750Li
Aluminum will be heavily used in the suspension components, high-strength steel will be used in the body structure, aluminum will likely be used in the doors, and CRFP will be used for the hood, roof, and “load-bearing areas in the floorpan and body” according to AutoCar.
“It will set a new standard in its class in terms of weight saving,” said BMW AG CEO Norbert Reithofer.
The weight saving measures will allow the next generation 7-Series to shed roughly 440 pounds compared to the current generation model. AutoCar also notes that an “extra-long-wheelbase” model will join the existing standard- and long-wheelbase models.
Late last month, Ford rolled out a 2014 F-150 Lariat Crewcab 4x4 and its 2015 counterpart to show the dramatic weight difference between the two vehicles. The 2015 model with its aluminum body tipped the scales at 4,972 pounds while the steel-bodied 2014 model weighed in at a hefty 5,647 pounds; a 732-pound difference.

Source: AutoCar

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By flyingpants1 on 8/7/2014 9:54:54 PM , Rating: 3
According to a new report by AutoCar, the next generation 7-Series will make extension use of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CRFP)

The latest from BMW.. Carbon Riber Feinforced Plastic.

By Pessimism on 8/11/2014 8:24:34 AM , Rating: 2
Fee-Enforced plastic sounds about right to me...

By Reclaimer77 on 8/7/14, Rating: -1
RE: Market's
By zinc0099 on 8/7/2014 10:38:15 AM , Rating: 3
It does not really matter as long as they reach the same goal. Making more fuel efficient cars is good for everyone. CAFE just is another push, might be law but its still a good push. Oil is not unlimited and these rules are much more future thinking. We cant stay short sighted and say "gas is cheap f' it." Cars take almost 8 years from drawing board to production.

BTW the 7 series is not really the normal market. It is a high end luxury car.

RE: Market's
By Jeffk464 on 8/8/2014 2:16:04 PM , Rating: 2
They should drop 400 pounds and $5000 off of the BMW 3 series.

RE: Market's
By Jeffk464 on 8/8/2014 2:31:07 PM , Rating: 2
For me they could save money on the luxury fluff and just give me the cool chassis and power train.

RE: Market's
By protomech on 8/7/2014 10:54:08 AM , Rating: 5
"Nobody want's to give up their powerful larger vehicles, so saving weight is the only way to move forward."

There's been a consistent trend of people moving from eight-cylinder to six-cylinder engines in trucks, and from six-cylinder engines to four-cylinder engines in cars. Granted, some of this is due to the availability of high-quality turbo fours that can produce as much or more power than the older six cylinders.

And even the more powerful, heavier vehicles are significantly more fuel efficient.

2000 740iL => 2015 740 Li
4.4L 282hp V8 => 3.0L 315hp turbo I6
6.8s 0-60 => 5.6s 0-60
4288 lbs => 4350 lbs
18 mpg => 22 mpg

2000 750iL => 2015 750 Li
5.4L 322hp V12 => 4.4L 445hp twin-turbo V8
6.6s => 4.8s 0-60
4597 lbs => 4660 lbs
14 mpg => 20 mpg

Certainly weight-reducing technologies like aluminum, high-strength steel, and CFRP will help reduce some of the weight bloat from added technology and features. But more gears in the transmission, more advanced computer control of the engine, direct injection, small turbos all help increase fuel economy as well.

RE: Market's
By Spuke on 8/7/14, Rating: 0
RE: Market's
By OoklaTheMok on 8/11/2014 1:08:55 AM , Rating: 2
BMW is on a roll with their new engine and transmission tech. They have developed a very scalable engine design with their new .5L per cylinder design.

I think a lot of BMW's fuel efficiency, and performance gains are because they have been making very smart tech decisions.

RE: Market's
By hughlle on 8/7/2014 11:13:39 AM , Rating: 3
Meanwhile in the rest of the world... where filling up your tank can easily cost 5-10% of a monthly income for minimum wage workers (of which there are MANY) few people want to keep their big powerful cars. We are happy to have big powerful cars, but the majority want the cheapest running ones there are. Hence the prevalence of hatchbacks that you don't really see in the states.

RE: Market's
By fteoath64 on 8/8/2014 12:40:10 AM , Rating: 2
True. Also, the price of gasoline in our parts of the world are twice or more the price in the US. Insurance costs are also almost proportionately higher so the total cost of ownership for cars in general are much higher. This leads to choice of small economical cars in order to reduce the expense per month. There is no other choice if one were to opt for a car in those markets. It tends not to increase unless the owner's income suddenly mushroomed which is rare. Besides, there are other costs such as road-tax, registration costs per year that needs to be paid as mandatory expenses.

RE: Market's
By Flunk on 8/7/2014 11:27:37 AM , Rating: 1
No, not really. The 7-series is massively overweight as is. Packed to the gills with luxury features that no one really needs. Reducing the weight of that behemoth is low-hanging fruit.

Comparing BMWs and econoboxes is silly. And if you look at sales figures more people want econoboxes than big powerful cars. Not everyone likes cars and most people need to be able to get around, it's a totally different market.

As for me, I love it when they can squeese more fuel economy out of a car without jeopardizing performance. Losing weight is the best way to do that because it's also great for handling.

RE: Market's
By Apone on 8/7/2014 11:50:46 AM , Rating: 2
However the people don't want EV's or little bubble-car econoboxes.

I don't know man, some days I feel like I'm surrounded by Nissan Leaf's, Fiat 500's, Scion iQ's, Smart Fortwo's, Toyota Prius's (both standard & C models), and Mini Coopers on the freeways of SoCal. I still have people (namely Prius drivers) who ask me why I bought my '14 Mazda3 (6sp-manual) instead of a Prius (Ugh!). They apparently can't wrap their brains around the fact that I simply wanted something that's actually fun to drive while still being able to get solid fuel economy.

Nobody want's to give up their powerful larger vehicles, so saving weight is the only way to move forward.

Agreed, but I'm also noticing many automakers are starting to install electric motors and hybridize their bigger vehicles (e.g. Ford Escape Hybrid, BMW ActiveHybrid 7, etc.) while others are offering more diesel options for better fuel economy (Chevy Cruze Diesel, Mazda Skyactiv-D Twin Turbo Diesel, etc.).

RE: Market's
By foxalopex on 8/7/2014 12:07:38 PM , Rating: 2
Despite what you might think EV's are fun cars to drive as well. The Volt actually has a decent amount of kick to it compared to say my Corolla. While it's no sports car, it's good enough for the average driver. It's also one of the few cars I know of where driving with the gas floored at every light won't waste huge amounts of gas or make it sound like you're trying to blow your engine.

RE: Market's
By Spuke on 8/7/2014 3:41:58 PM , Rating: 2
I drove a Volt. It's not a bad drive but my Solstice blows it away BY FAR in the fun to drive category (to each his own, of course). I've driven a couple Prius'. Now that's definitely a point A to B car. It's competent but vastly boring. I'd have to hypermile it to make driving that interesting.

RE: Market's
By Apone on 8/7/2014 3:49:13 PM , Rating: 3
@ foxalopex

I'm not saying EV's are not fun to drive but I simply prefer the formality of shifting the transmission myself and using a clutch pedal (neither of which an EV/hybrid can reproduce). I'm not a racer, nor do I peel/burn out at stoplights (maybe if a I had a Nissan GT-R or 911 Turbo) and the "fun to drive" factor also includes a sporty and welcoming interior (which the Mazda3 executes quite well).

RE: Market's
By Jeffk464 on 8/8/2014 2:23:45 PM , Rating: 2
'14 Mazda3 (6sp-manual) instead of a Prius (Ugh!). They apparently can't wrap their brains around the fact that I simply wanted something that's actually fun to drive while still being able to get solid fuel economy.

Yup sounds good to me. Imagine using these same weight savings in cars like the Mazda 3. Less weight = more zoom zoom and less gas. :)

RE: Market's
By Mint on 8/7/2014 12:05:37 PM , Rating: 2
As always, you got it backwards.

CAFE is more likely to result in bigger cars than smaller ones. The bigger the car (up to a limit), the lower the allowed MPG.

Expect the 7-series (and most cars) to get a bit bigger as CAFE targets get harder.

RE: Market's
By Dr of crap on 8/7/2014 12:16:35 PM , Rating: 1
Ah there's that great govt for us. Trying to do the right thing yet making loopholes, as it does in EVERYTHING.

The way ANY of those CAFE numbers are generated is so F*&Ked up no sane person understands it!

RE: Market's
By NellyFromMA on 8/7/2014 2:08:06 PM , Rating: 2
The overwhelming majority of people you are referring to don't drive 7-series and equivalent tier vehicles.

On the contrary, the vast majority buy the econoboxes you are referring to.

The CAFE restrictions are having their intended affects: make people pay a premium to continue driving less efficient cars therein expanding usage of more economical and environmentally friendly vehicles.

I have no issue with the government prodding vehicle manufacturers into offering more efficient designs, especially since the industry does not really feel so inclined to do so on its own in favor of the status quo. I have a greater issue with their mandating passenger detection systems and rear view cameras and V2V communications in vehicles, though.

RE: Market's
By Reclaimer77 on 8/7/2014 2:23:41 PM , Rating: 2
The majority of people here buy F-150's and Camry's. I struggle to see how anyone could view these as "econoboxes".

In fact out of the top 5 most sold vehicles for July, THREE were pick up trucks! (f'ing spam filter)

If you think this list is dominated by "econoboxes", time to get your head checked.

RE: Market's
By Jeffk464 on 8/8/2014 2:29:10 PM , Rating: 2
We just need more cars like the mazda 3 and bmw 3 to destroy the econobox formula/image.

RE: Market's
By PaFromFL on 8/8/2014 9:18:04 AM , Rating: 2
I doubt CAFE standards had much to do with the decision to put the 5/7 series on a diet (base curb weight of 4685 lbs). The typical BMW buyer wants a sporty vehicle, and the 5/7 series was just too heavy to pull it off. I really enjoyed my 3 series but now prefer a larger cabin. But when BMW put the 5 series on the same platform as a 7 series, they lost me as a customer. Now they might get me back.

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