Luxury automaker BMW just introduced the new 7-Series flagship sedan. The update includes two models: 740i and 750i xDrive. The former model starts at $81,300 and the latter model starts at $97,400. This is the first significant redesign of the vehicle in the past six years. Both new cars will debut at BMW dealerships later in the year.  BMW will also launch the 740e hybrid, but that car won’t roll out until next year.

Here Comes New BMW 7-Series

A look back at BMW’s 7-Series

The 7-Series vehicle first debuted in the late ’70s. It was the first line of automobiles to add then-groundbreaking features such as automatic stability control and antilock brakes.

Competition from other luxury vehicles like the Audi A8 and Mercedes-Benz S550. Sales of the 7-Series also declined in the past five years. Sales numbers of the 7-Series in 2010 were 12,253 but that number lowered to 9,744 last year. Meanwhile, sales numbers for Mercedes-Benz and Tesla vehicles are on the rise.

Growing demand for large luxury cars

There is a strong demand for large luxury cars in China. BMW rival Mercedes already tapped into that market by giving it’s S-Class vehicles a makeover that included special touches like sophisticated lasers and stereoscopic cameras. It is now time for BMW to tap into that same market with redesigned vehicles.

BMW has a well-respected reputation to live up to. Earlier this year, the automaker’s chief executive Ludwig Willisch opened up in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter:

“We still have a very clear cut image, and that’s the ultimate driving machine. That’s what we stand for and everybody gets it.”

In May, the company took it a step further by giving the same publication an early look at the new 7-Series sedan. The new car is 300 pounds lighter, but it has many impressive tech features including a tablet that controls everything from lighting to climate control to in-vehicle entertainment.