2016 BMW 7 Series CFRP Usage Explained – Video

 Ever since BMW launched the i sub-brand, we knew that it was going to change the core-brand models as well. The innovations used in the making of the i3 and i8 were bound to find their way into other cars as well, and the first one to use some of it extensively will be the 2016 7 Series.
2016 BMW 7 Series CFRP usage 1 photo
Photo: BMW
CFRP stands for Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymer, and it’s a combination of carbon fiber and plastic, as the name suggests. It’s cheaper to make than pure carbon fiber, but it’s also stronger at the same time. This allows BMW to use it in production models, on a wide range of automobiles.
The material has been in use for a long time; it’s not new. As a matter of fact, BMW used it as far back as the E46 M3 when the CSL model featured the expensive material. As time passed, investment in new facilities meant that the Germans could lower the price tag of manufacturing it enough to make it usable in other cars as well.
The 7 Series really had a problem with weight. You’ll have to look long and hard to find an F01 model that weighs less than 2 tons. As a matter of fact, only the 740i and 740d models can brag about that. And even then, they are just a couple of kilos shy of the aforementioned benchmark.
With the new model, BMW claims that the weight of the flagship dropped by up to 130 kg (286 lbs) in between similarly equipped versions. In fact, the drop was around 200 kg (441 lbs) but the new technologies included in the package accounted for some 70 kilos. That includes the new active steering system, air suspension, and others.
How was this achieved? Well, using CFRP, of course. The car’s cabin was done using the precious lightweight material, bits of it being now made of it, like the C-pillars, roof support beams and so on. That’s not all though.
Cutting weight must be done intelligently, in order to maintain the driving characteristics of the car intact. Therefore, most of it had to come down from the higher half of the car so that the center of gravity remained as low as possible. Furthermore, even the steel used and the aluminum integrated into the rest of the body were carefully placed. This way, the 7 Series should now offer best in class handling.
Of course, we’ll have to wait and see how the car handles itself before passing judgement on that but things look impressive already.
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