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BMW i3, i8 Electric-Car Tech To Let 2016 BMW 7-Series Shed 400 Pounds

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BMW Vision Future Luxury

BMW Vision Future Luxury

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BMW is aiming for a significant weight-reduction with its next-generation 7-Series luxury sedan.

To do this, BMW will dip into lessons learned from its i3 electric car and i8 plug-in hybrid sports car programs, and use a selection of advanced and lightweight materials to slim down its flagship.

According to Autocar, use of aluminum, magnesium, high-strength steel and carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) could cut weight by as much as 440 lbs.

That should bring the weight of a model like the 740i down to just over 3,600 lbs, or less than the smaller 535i sedan.

That echoes the work done at Jaguar, whose aluminum-formed XJ luxury sedan is lighter than the smaller XF in some variants.

Aluminum has become popular in larger vehicles as a way of cutting weight--Audi's A8 has long used aluminum construction, Land Rover has recently adopted it for the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport SUVs, and Ford's 2015 F-Series will also be aluminum.

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BMW is going a step further by applying technology pioneered on the i3 and i8. CFRP won't just be used for small components, but is expected to be used for the hood, roof, and load-bearing areas in the floorpan and body. Now that BMW has found a cost-effective way of producing large volumes of CFRP, it's likely to play an increasing role in future models.

The German firm's use of turbocharged engines for increased performance and improved efficiency will also continue--a selection of four, six, eight and twelve-cylinder engines, gasoline and diesel, will be available depending on the market.

With the lighter body, four-cylinder powerplants will finally become viable in the 7-Series--which will be based on a modular platform also set to underpin the next 5- and 6-Series, and already sits under the 3- and 4-Series models.

Also planned from the car's debut is a plug-in hybrid model, though details of this have not yet been revealed.

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