But can it pose a greater challenge to the Mercedes S-Class this time?
Just a couple of months ago, BMW lifted the veil off its refreshed 7 Series. And now the first examples have already started rolling off the assembly line.
The 7 Series is Munich's rival to the class-leading Mercedes-Benz S-Class, as well as also-ran challengers like the Audi A8, Jaguar XJ, Maserati Quattroporte, and Lexus LS. The current, sixth-generation model launched three and a half years ago, but has now been treated to an extensive array of updates to help the Motoren Werke take a bigger slice of the full-size luxury sedan market.
Not the least of those enhancements are the enlarged grilles, stylistically borrowed from the X7 crossover and 8 Series coupe/ convertible that sit alongside it at the top of BMW's lineup. The lights are new as well, and the interior's been spruced up with finer wood trim, more quilted leather, and better sound insulation.
The refreshed 7 will be offered in two lengths and a range of engines, including three versions of the same 3.0-liter diesel six, a plug-in hybrid, a 4.4-liter V8, and a 6.6-liter V12. But only the longer model (and none of the diesels) will be sold in the US.
The 7 Series is built at BMW's Dingolfing plant in Lower Bavaria, from which over 90 percent are exported abroad – particularly to China, which accounted for 44 percent of sales worldwide last year.
"The BMW 7 Series has defined our identity at this site for over 40 years,” said plant director Ilka Horstmeier. "We are proud that BMW’s top model, the new BMW 7 Series Sedan, will also be built here in Dingolfing. Our goal as the brand’s primary plant for the luxury class is to ensure that every vehicle our experienced and competent team puts on the roads guarantees excellent quality.”