Like its predecessor, the new BMW 7 Series will also be built in Dingolfing: Series production of the sixth generation of the BMW 7 Series will get underway on 1 July. Between 2008 and the present day, 370,000 models of the previous generation were built in Dingolfing and shipped to customers in more than 100 countries worldwide. Since the launch of the first BMW 7 Series in 1977, the Dingolfing plant has produced a total of more than 1.6 million BMW 7 Series. Its main markets today are China, the US, Germany, the Middle East, Russia, Korea, the UK and Japan. Taking into account all the diverse engine, colour and customer-specific options, countless vehicle variants (options to 1070) can be produced. Barely any two BMW 7 Series leaving the Dingolfing assembly line are the same.
At the employee event to mark the start of production in Dingolfing Harald Krüger, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, said: “This car demonstrates the full innovation capabilities of our developers and designers, as well as the extensive experience and expertise gained from producing our flagship model here in Dingolfing. We have invested more than half a billion euros in the plant in the past three years alone for this purpose. The Plant has been developed and adapted so that it is fully prepared for the future with new technologies, such as carbon fibre and electrification. This represents a clear commitment on the part of the BMW Group to both Dingolfing as a high-tech production location, and to Germany.”
Intelligent lightweight design and technology transfer from BMW i
The newest version of this luxury sedan paves the way for a wide range of innovations in areas including driving dynamics, comfort, intelligent connectivity and control, all complemented by a holistic lightweight concept: Different materials are selectively combined to assure optimum vehicle performance and light weight. For example, ultra-lightweight, high-tech carbon-fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) is used in the passenger compartment. Carbon fibre is around 30 per cent lighter than aluminium and about 50 per cent lighter than steel. The unique body structure, referred to as the “carbon core”, is based on technology transferred from the BMW i models, which helps optimise vehicle weight, as well as material strength and rigidity. This results in significantly lower fuel consumption and emissions, combined with improved driving performance, dynamics and comfort. The new BMW 7 Series models weigh up to 130 kilograms less than the previous generation.
Pioneer in large-scale production of carbon fibre
The new BMW 7 Series is the first vehicle in the BMW Group’s core model portfolio to use industrially-manufactured carbon fibre in combination with maximum-strength steel and aluminium in the body structure rather than as a visible shell material. Carbon fibre is used for the roof bows, to reinforce the roof frame, the B and C pillars, the sills, the centre tunnel and for the rear shelf. The company benefits from the knowhow gained from development and production of its BMW i models. For the first time, the BMW Group is using two enhanced, innovative and highly-efficient processes in production of the BMW 7 Series in Dingolfing: wet pressing and hybrid pressing.
In wet pressing, carbon-fibre fabrics or netting, impregnated with resin, are pressed in a three-dimensional moulding die while wet and then hardened. The dry pre-shaping previously used in the Resin Transfer Moulding (RTM) process is no longer required. In hybrid pressing, carbon-fibre fabrics impregnated with resin, also still wet, are placed in a moulding die with sheet steel, then pressed and hardened. This bonds the steel and carbon materials to form a hybrid component. Hybrid components are light, but offer maximum rigidity and outstanding crash performance. Both processes enable highly economical large-scale production of up to several thousand carbon components per day, with compact systems engineering and short cycle times.
Josef Kerscher, head of Plant Dingolfing: “Our preparations for the start of production of the new BMW 7 Series have been intensive. We have been building the BMW brand flagship and technology platform for almost 40 years in Dingolfing. It is an honour and a privilege to continue to provide top quality for our customers around the world. The key to this success lies in our decades of expertise in building premium automobiles and our highly competent and dedicated employees. The structures and new manufacturing technologies for lightweight construction and electrification we established for the BMW 7 Series ramp-up will also benefit other models built at Dingolfing.”