Currently, the BMW 7 Series is in the news all around the world. Its most recent press event was held at Monticello Raceway in New York, which left some journalists a little perplexed as to why BMW would host the introduction of a large luxury barge there. BMW, though, was aware of what it was doing and wished to highlight the new 7 Series’ skill in limit handling. Its lightweight Carbon Core structure is one of the main factors contributing to its excellent handling. I’m not sure if everyone appreciated the influence that this new development will have on not only BMW but also the entire automotive industry, even though we’ve talked about it a lot previously.
Let’s first review the purpose of the Carbon Core construction. The new BMW 7 Series’ chassis, which will also be used by the next 5 Series and other models in the future, was designed using a lot of carbon fiber, aluminum, and high-strength steel. All of these unique elements have been thoughtfully positioned within the chassis to produce a highly light, sturdy, and safe foundation upon which to build. For instance, carbon fiber was used in the construction of the A, B, and C pillars as well as a large portion of the roof. In addition to making the chassis extremely rigid and decreasing chassis flex, which helps handling, this also lowers the center of gravity, which further enhances handling.
BMW will benefit greatly from this kind of sophisticated chassis innovation in the future as it builds high-performance vehicles while keeping high efficiency. Given that the architecture of the 7 Series is shared with other upcoming models, the entire BMW portfolio will experience improvements in performance, handling, and efficiency. The advantages for consumers don’t end there, though.
Excellence is bred by competition. As a result of BMW launching such a chassis on a high-production road car, other manufacturers will be compelled to follow suit. To compete with BMW’s 7 Series, Audi is currently developing a replacement for the current A8 premium sedan. You are aware that Audi is developing a comparable project in order to keep up with BMW. When it comes time to replace the present S Class, Mercedes-Benz will take the same action. Porsche will soon do the same, along with Volkswagen, Cadillac, and so on. Since every carmaker appears to be moving toward these scalable and shareable designs, once one of their lineup’s vehicles employs one, the rest of their lineup will follow suit.
BMW is thereby altering the rules and raising the bar. In the future, lightweight chassis building will become more popular. As the automotive industry slowly transforms for the better, more automakers will follow suit and we will all gain. Therefore, this new Carbon Core technology is more significant than people may realize.
How BMW weaves, bakes, and constructs its 7 Series carbon fiber vehicle
In an effort to increase safety and distinguish its large sport sedan as the world’s best and safest high-end vehicle from Mercedes-Benz and Audi, BMW armored the cockpit of its upcoming 7 Series with carbon fiber. In a carbon fiber production process that spans the world from Japan to Washington State to four sites in Germany, it is a victory of technology as well as logistics. The safety cell around the passenger compartment, made of aluminum, high-strength steel, carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP), and other materials, is referred to by BMW as the “Carbon Core.”
BMW generously strengthens the already robust metal/aluminum passenger cell with CFRP in crucial locations rather than building an all-carbon fiber tub (passenger cell), which would be pricey even in a vehicle with a price starting in the $80,000 area when it ships this fall. The header above the windshield, the door sills, the transmission tunnel, the front-to-back and left-to-right roof reinforcement tubes and bows, the B-pillar between the front and rear doors, the C-pillar, and the rear parcel shelf are just a few of the 15 CFRP reinforcements. BMW thinks the 7 Series has a number of technological advantages, one of which being carbon fiber.
2016 BMW 7-series receives carbon-fiber implants in its core.
The newest chassis building method used by BMW, which will debut on the 2016 7-series sedan, is known as “carbon core” in the purest Teutonic style. Essentially, carbon fiber structural components operate as solo structural members in some instances and supplement aluminum in others to increase rigidity in critical portions of the unibody structure.
BMW concentrated its lightweighting efforts above the car’s center of gravity to aid enhance handling, retaining as little mass up high and concentrating heavier components as low as possible.
The B- and C-pillars, the roof bows, the center tunnel, the package tray, the sills, and — most impressively — a 9-foot arc that runs from the base of the A-pillar to the rear of the car along the roofline are all made of carbon fiber reinforced plastic. To visualize this arc, think of a thin, longitudinal roll bar. Important suspension and engine mounting points are made of aluminum extrusions and castings, the outside body sheetmetal is made of aluminum panels, and the rest of the structure is made of steel stampings.
As a result, according to BMW, the weight of the 7-series is reduced by about 285 pounds overall, with about 90 of those pounds coming straight from the body structure. BMW also claims that its carbon fiber production processes — about which they would tell us very little — have advanced to the point where integrating the material on a “industrial scale” is now feasible. The placement of CFRP elements should result in a remarkable rigid cell around the passenger compartment.
In the new 7-series, sound insulation is another intriguing weight-saving technique. BMW engineers couldn’t compromise on the interior’s acoustic quietness because it was a luxury sedan, but they were able to eliminate more than 26 pounds of soundproofing by directly insulating the engine, which reduced NVH at its source.
BMW provides further information about the 7 Series “Carbon Core” repairs.
Last week, BMW officially acknowledged what some mechanics may have already suspected: collision-damaged “Carbon Core” 7 Series sedans will need some BMW body parts completely replaced.
With a starting price of $74,000 and fewer than 10,000 sales the previous year, the only people who crash them might be bad guys in Bond chase movies. Although BMW hasn’t ruled it out, auto body shops should continue to pay closely in case carbon fiber is added to a more well-known mass-produced series.
The B- and C-pillars, rocker panels, roof bows and rails, transmission tunnel, and rear deck of the 7 Series are all made of carbon fiber. In some circumstances, like the B-pillar, it is combined with extremely high-strength steel. Additionally, according to BMW, the 7 Series’ doors and trunk lid are made of aluminum for the first time.
BMW: “Carbon Core” will reduce the 7 Series’ weight by 286.6 pounds.
Thanks to the BMW “Carbon Core” body combined with other lightweight components, the new BMW 7 Series vehicles will weigh as little as 286.6 pounds less than the current 7s, according to a statement made by BMW earlier this month.
The decision suggests that BMW judged carbon fiber to be viable enough to add to an existing line after testing it in the i3 and i8 models.
In a teaser video that BMW uploaded to YouTube a week ago, Michael Ahlers of BMW states, “We transferred the technology from BMW I to the BMW core brand now.”
According to BMW and its teaser images, the carbon fiber will be bonded to aluminum and ultra-high-strength steel in a “carefully calibrated” patchwork body and chassis design.
The B-pillars, according to BMW, are an illustration of this type of “hybrid construction,” which combines two light, stiff materials in the form of carbon fiber and ultra-high-strength steel.
BMW claimed that the carbon fiber pairings added strength and stiffness; it would be fascinating to know if repairability or price were also deciding factors, as carbon fiber typically costs more to use as a lightweighting material for every pound of mild steel it replaces.
According to BMW, the arrangement of sheet metal components can be changed as needed to significantly reduce body weight.
According to Ahlers in the video, “Carbon is a highly innovative material.” It is stiff and lightweight.
Ahlers added that carbon fiber has another advantage besides strength and fuel efficiency: handling.
When driving it, Ahlers remarks, “it feels like a BMW in the first place.” It does not seem to be a large automobile.
According to BMW, the mixed materials will be joined together using “new, weight-reducing bonding technologies”; we’d guess that this will involve a lot of structural adhesive in addition to other outstanding joining techniques that BMW learned with the I series. For further information, see our coverage of a Munro and Associates i3 disassembly presentation.
The automobile company also congratulated itself for pioneering carbon fiber with the I series, which it claimed produced technologies that will be utilised in the 7 series.
The BMW Group has unmatched knowledge and expertise when it comes to the proper use of CFRP in mass-produced vehicles, according to BMW, which is why the next generation of the BMW 7 Series benefits from it.
According to BMW, the new 7 Series is the first automobile to use industrially created CFRP in conjunction with steel, aluminum, and plastic rather than as a material that can be seen on the exterior of the vehicle.
BMW sold fewer than 10,000 of the 7 Series in the United States last year, making it an uncommon vehicle at the moment. Regardless of whether you attract many Beemers to your shop or not, you should still be concerned about this decision. In particular, with Ford looking more closely at the material, the automaker’s assertive attitude on carbon fiber and this example of “middle ground” carbon fiber utilization may influence other manufacturers to examine the material and bring it into the mainstream.
Has BMW ever used carbon fiber?
The expertise BMW possesses with carbon fiber will help the BMW iX as well. The BMW production facilities in Leipzig and Landshut in Germany are where the carbon fiber reinforced polymer is made.
Is the carbon fiber BMW i3 real?
The i3 was by far the least expensive car to use a full carbon tub and the first BMW to ever use a carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) chassis. It still is, in actuality. There are no other vehicles on the market that have a carbon fiber chassis, so if you want one, you’ll need to look at McLarens. Additionally, the i3 will be the final model produced by BMW to have a totally carbon fiber tub due to the company’s present orientation. Even the future iX will primarily be made of steel and aluminum, with a little bit of carbon thrown in. In the BMW family as well as the industry, the BMW i3 is therefore a unicorn.
There are a few unique qualities about the carbon fiber construction. Its weight is the most obvious explanation. The i3 weighs less than 3,000 pounds in some specifications. It can get by with a smaller battery pack and yet produce appropriate ranges thanks to its modest weight. With less power and a smaller electric motor, it can nevertheless seem speedy enough. However, carbon fiber construction is advantageous for more reasons than only weight reduction.
Another significant factor is stiffness. Because the chassis’ basic structure is composed entirely of CFRP, it possesses a much higher level of torsional rigidity than any conventional chassis made of bonded and welded metals. Even on the roughest pavement, the i3 feels rock solid and like a six-figure luxury vehicle thanks to its rigidity. Additionally, it enables BMW to install a firmer suspension without compromising ride comfort, improving the i3’s performance.