MUNICH – Bavarian pride is brimming as BMW rolls out the all-new sixth generation of its 7-Series sedan, a car that promises to be a technology showcase for lightweight materials, efficient powertrains and the ability to park itself with no one at the steering wheel.

The ’16 7-Series goes on sale this October in all markets worldwide, with starting prices (excluding destination charges) of $81,300 for the 740i with an updated 3.0L turbocharged inline 6-cyl. and $97,400 for the all-wheel-drive 750i xDrive, powered by a redesigned 4.4L twin-turbo V-8.

The 7-Series represents BMW’s flagship model and always has been a test-bed for advanced technologies that became standard many years later in mainstream vehicles, such as antilock brakes and electronic engine-management computer (introduced with the first generation in 1978).

The previous 7-Series offered 10 variants, including two wheelbases, a diesel, hybrid, V-12, V-8 and I-6 and rear- or all-wheel drive.

At launch, the new car will come to the U.S. exclusively with the long wheelbase – 126.4 ins. (3,210 mm), same as before. This should not come as a surprise. Of the 10 variants offered previously, seven employed the long wheelbase. Some 90% of 7-Series buyers have chosen the LWB.

A short-wheelbase model is not planned for the U.S., nor is the diesel, but the V-12 will return to the 7-Series in the future, Klaus Frohlich, BMW board member in charge of R&D, tells WardsAuto here at the international unveiling of the car.

Both models to start will come available with either rear-wheel or all-wheel drive.

A new addition to the 7-Series lineup is the 740e xDrive plug-in hybrid, which also will be available in 2016, borrowing some of the eDrive powertrain technology applied to the i8 PHEV.

The 740e will use BMW’s 2.0L turbocharged gasoline engine (codename B48) and an electric drive unit integrated into the 8-speed Steptronic transmission. The electric motor draws its energy from a lithium-ion high-voltage battery housed underneath the rear seat. This will be the first 7-Series using a 4-cyl. engine.

The eDrive button on the center console lets the driver toggle through operating modes, from the default AUTO for spirited acceleration to MAX, which allows the sedan to run purely on electricity at speeds up to 75 mph (121 km/h) for a maximum range of 23 miles (37 km).

The driver also can pick Battery Control mode, which raises or maintains the high-voltage battery’s state of charge to conserve electricity. When route guidance is used, the car will calculate a trip-specific strategy for electric driving to conserve energy.