Unlimited internet access as standard is one of a fistful of groundbreaking technologies BMW has developed for the new 7-series, unveiled last week ahead of its showroom launch on November 15.

The more elegant, less visually challenging flagship model also embraces elements of BMW’s Efficient Dynamics programme to push the diesel’s CO2 levels below 200g/km for the first time.

Expected to cost from around £53,000, the 3.0-litre diesel is joined by a 3.0-litre twin-turbo petrol six-cylinder and a 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8, dubbed 750i.

The diesel manages almost 40mpg thanks in part to a lighter body with aluminium panels, as well as regenerative brakes to top-up the battery independently of an energy-hungry alternator.

On top of internet access, offered via a new, more user-friendly iDrive controller, the 7-series also pioneers night-vision using a thermal imaging camera to spot pedestrians and animals just out of headlight range.

Options for rear-seat passengers include individual electric seats and a separate iDrive controller to flick between TV, web-based email or controls for the four-zone climate control system, shown on the headrest screens.

BMW promises unprecedented comfort levels delivered by technology such as an innovative front suspension set-up and rear-wheel steering to reduce both lane-change lurch and the turning circle. Four dash-chosen settings convey sportier suspension, steering and gear-change responses, while rear air-suspension is standard on the two stretch-body models, both petrols.

Driver aids include the windscreen-reflected head-up display, and a cruise control that keeps a set distance to the car in front using radar. Also on the vast options list are twin cameras mounted ahead of the front wheel arch to scan either direction at a crowded junction.

Performance should be adequate for most. The headlining 750i delivers 407bhp from its V8, pushing the two-tonne car to 62mph in 5.2secs. But officially it’ll return almost 25mpg, making it the most economical car in its class, says BMW. The 326bhp 740i three-litre petrol makes 62mph in 5.7secs, while returning 28.5mpg on the combined cycle and recording 232g/km.

All are rated Euro5 for emissions, including the 245PS diesel, which hits 62mph in 7.2secs and emits just 192g/km of CO2. The rival S-class diesel in comparison is six bands higher up the company car tax scale, rated at 220g/km.

More new BMW 7-series pictures here