Carbon fiber is one of the most amazing and amazingly difficult compounds to work with. The structural properties are everything you want if you’re a car engineer, incredibly light, amazingly strong, the only downsides have been a lengthy construction process which in turn creates high costs. BMW are taking a monumental step forward by becoming the first company to mass-produce carbon fiber as part of their revolutionary ‘carbon core’ to the vehicle.
Unlike the insanely expensive carbon fiber monocoque found inside the world’s leading hypercars, the new BMW 7-series will be created from CFRP. Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic is fitted to an aluminum and steel body to give it strength and safety in important areas like the b-pillar. Using this technique creates a lightweight chassis, slimming the new G12 7 Series to 130 kg less than the last generation, basically they took a person or two out of the vehicle body. This provides better handling properties, weight distribution as well as better fuel economy, so expect this to be the first of many vehicles from BMW to use the technology.
BMW say the production of carbon fiber used in their vehicles is actually made using 100% renewable energy (hydro shown) and 3 of the elements are recycled. While not an electric powertrain, this should tick the boxes for those how focus strongly on environmentally sustainability when making purchase decisions.
The 7 series features an impressive array of technology on top of the construction methods, including air suspension to raise or lower the vehicle by 20mm. This increases aerodynamic efficiency on the highway, which allowing drivers to get over speed bumps with ease. A new Adaptive mode will intelligently monitor the driver’s behavior to auto switch between sport and comfort mode. Drive it like a grandpa and it’ll treat you nice, if you drive it like you stole it, you’ll feel exactly how sporty it can be, great for the twisty stuff.
Of course there’s adaptive cruise control so you don’t have to hover over the bake pedal as you follow inconsistent traffic, but this is becoming common and fast. What isn’t common is a remote park feature. Pull up, get out, press the button and as long as you’re within range, the car will park itself.
There’s no pricing announced just yet, but expect some kind of impact from all that sexy carbon-fiber, we just hope they find a way to expose some of it to the driver.
More information at Jalopnik